Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Hey Burt!

It looks like Burt Reynolds is heading up here to Toronto to accept an award for all of the charity work he's done for kids over many years. Here's an article about it here. I think that's great, as I feel that ol' Burt has been given a bad rap over the last decade or so from critics that like to hold him up to ridicule for some of the roles he's had in recent years. The fact is, Burt's long past his leading man days of the 70's and is now firmly in that category we call "character actor". As such, he sometimes gets cast in roles where he's playing rather sleazy or ridiculous characters, like the congressman in "Striptease". Hey, an actor has to keep working, so I don't begrudge him a thing.

However, I think it's only fair to bear in mind that Burt Reynolds was the box-office champ for several years running from 1978 to 1982. Even before that, he'd made quite a number of really good films, especially these two, "The Longest Yard" and "Hustle" that were recently cited on Jeremy Richey's excellent blog, Moon in the Gutter. Unfortunately, the big box-office receipts came later when Burt was firmly entrenched in his good ol' boy roles in such films as "Smokey and the Bandit", "Hooper" and the rather silly two "Cannonball Run" films. I must confess, "Smokey and the Bandit" is still a guilty pleasure of mine, although I prefer a lesser known film he'd done just a couple years earlier called "W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings", which also had him playing a sort of southern fried Robin Hood but in a film that really had a lot more heart. From what I've heard, that film is one of Burt's personal favourites too. Much to my dismay, though I think it might have been out briefly on VHS years ago, it has yet to be released on DVD. I continue to hold out hope for that to happen. In the meantime, here's to ol' Burt - I'm happy to see him being honoured here in Toronto for his charitable work on behalf of the kids!