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Disaster Porn Saturday Night: The Big Bus

As Cyclops teeters on the edge of a cliff, Kitty (Stockard Channing) is rescued by former beau Dan (Joseph Bologna) in the kitchen

As Cyclops teeters on the edge of a cliff, Kitty (Stockard Channing) is rescued by former beau Dan (Joseph Bologna) in the kitchen

Sadly, my membership in the Disaster Enthusiasts Movie Member Society (DEMMS) has been revoked.

In my defense, this is one movie that I can't get behind, try as I might, yet I remember in one of Rona Barrett's magazines, I couldn't wait to see this based on the pictures that were published prior to the release. And if memory serves me right, I don't think that I saw it on the big screen, but I do remember when it came out on video.

Coyote Bus Lines and designers are feverishly working to get their first nuclear luxury bus, Cyclops onto the road even in the face of sabotage.

On announcement day, the press gathers and there's an explosion which nearly kills Professor Baxter (Harold Gould) and from here on out, he has to stay in the parking lot because if he's moved, he may die. His doctor (Larry Hagman) watches over him twenty four hours a day, while his daughter, designer Kitty (Stockard Channing) busily searches for a driver.

They both know that the best driver in the world is Dan Torrance (Joseph Bologna) but he comes with a past. He left Kitty at the altar and has the reputation of being a cannibal following an earlier accident in the mountains.

When Kitty tracks him down, he agrees to the job and she has to work with him around the clock in order to keep the maiden voyage on track. He brings in Shoulders (John Beck) to be his co-captain since Shoulders helped him in a bus driver bar fight.

The passengers on the inaugural run include bickering/divorcing couple The Crane's (Richard Mulligan and Sally Kellerman); atheist priest Father Kudos (Rene' Auberjonois); the old lady running away (Ruth Gordon); veterinarian Dr. Kurtz (Bob Dishy); Emery Bush (Richard B. Schull) who has six months to live and fashion designer Camille Levy (Lynn Redgrave) who also has an ulterior motive.

However, a sinister tycoon, Ironman (Jose' Ferrer) has been behind the "accidents" with the help of his brother, Alex (Stuart Margolin) who wants to create a huge man made earthquake that will destroy the bus.

Once on the road, the guests enjoy swimming and bowling while being entertained in the Oriental Lounge by Tommy Joyce (Murphy Dunne) but for a select few, Torrance has invited them to his dinner in the Bi-Centennial Room where they learn of his past.

As the bus hurls toward Denver, they are in an accident when a pickup truck crashes through the lounge and Cyclops teeters on the brink of going over the cliff and Kitty lays unconscious in the kitchen as it fills up with soft drinks.

Of course, the question is who will survive and will Cyclops make it to Denver on time?

Everytime I've watched this, I keep hoping that I might like it, but there really isn't anything that I can find in it, but I think Dunne is great as the lounge singer and plays it straight. The others, of course, are making fun of themselves with playing straight, yet trying too hard for a laugh.

At the same time, the movie seems to be parodying more noir-ish movies and can't find itself. Even from the first time that I saw it, I wasn't impressed.

Maybe my 13 year old self might have found it funny, but I've always loved the poster, if that's any type of consolation.




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