Friday 25 July 2008

Redneck Miller (1977)

Director: John Clayton
Star: Geoffrey Land

Much of the world traditionally and unfairly looks down on rednecks as inbred idiot hillbillies, a ridiculous stereotype that is often played up by such people themselves for the tourist dollar, thus propagating it even further. Yet there was a time in the seventies where they were seen instead as the tough guys. Clint Eastwood had a lot to do with that, I'm sure, with films like Every Which Way But Loose. The Dukes of Hazzard probably had even more to do with it, but this one came before both, made by Nu-South Films which says it all really.

Our anti-hero is DJ Miller who lives his life hard in the bizarre sort of way that perhaps the Dukes of Hazzard would do if they weren't stuck on primetime TV. He's a country music DJ who apparently doesn't have a first name, because his work must truly define who he is to the world. When not working at WCCA, he seems to spend his time going to one bar after another to take money off people, and to hit people for dancing with his girl who isn't his girl. On the few free moments he has from barhopping he sleeps with his listeners while their husbands are away. After all, the motto of the film must be: 'women come and go, trucks and bikes are forever'.

Anyway, DJ Miller leaves his 15 year old squeeze at the beginning of our movie to go do his thing, but through a quirk of circumstance ends up on the wrong side of an inept set of black villains, which sets up our action comedy of errors in motion. Some guy on a bike has ripped off SuperMac. His henchmen, Preacher, with his feathered hat, and Foxy, who must be the only black Foxy in a movie to ever be male, think it's DJ. They can see the bikes racked up in his star spangled pickup truck, so it must be him. Movie logic rocks.

Now beyond being called Preacher and Foxy, these are black guys with guns in the deepsouth, so you can imagine what sort of business they're in, and off they go to let SuperMac know the score. And SuperMac is mean, real mean. At least so he says. DJ Miller only has to angry and he can wipe out all three of them in one punch. Yes, it's that sort of movie. It's the sort of movie that has awesome car chases like the one where one of these dumb black guys chases DJ in a circle in a parking lot. It's even the sort of movie that has scantily clad young ladies leaning over open car bonnets because they've broken down and need assistance.

And this one's the girlfriend of SuperMac. Convenient, huh? You can practically write the script yourself but it takes a certain kind of talent to take it all to that next level and make a real exploitation film to be enjoyed by crowds like ours three decades later. No wonder Quentin Tarantino took it to the LA Grindhouse Festival, it's appropriate. This one scenes where the black gangsters try not to laugh at the dialogue they've been given. And our anti-hero has the same trouble.

As I take notes while watching these exploitation gems at Chandler Cinemas, I've got into the habit of writing down the best lines. These films are not usually great films but they're often great exploitation films, with examples of amazing dialogue that out of context would not be believed. This may have been the movie I started this habit during, because there are a few stunners. Best of all is when one of DJ's lady friends points out that he was going to let the bad guys rape her. His response, believe it or not, is: 'You can take a lot of loving but I can only get killed once!' It's films like this that get kids into trouble because they see guys like DJ Miller getting so much pussy they can't remember the names attached and try out the lines themselves, with inevitably disastrous consequences.

Unfortunately IMDb doesn't have a lot of credits populated for Redneck Miller. All I know for sure is that the title character is played by Geoffrey Land, in between Black Heat and Doctor Dracula. Yeah, he has the sort of short career that was designed for Chandler Cinemas! He's even reappeared on our screens since, in 1975's Blazing Stewardesses, made by exploitation legend Al Adamson, who directed six of the nine films Land appeared in. I believe I have the first of them, 1969's The Female Bunch on VHS but unfortunately I'm still stuck without the ability to play PAL tapes. One day soon. Or maybe Andrea will beat me to it.

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