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Friday Film Fest: Ned Beatty

Bobby (Ned Beatty) waits on Ed while tending to an injured Lewis (Burt Reynolds)

Bobby (Ned Beatty) waits on Ed while tending to an injured Lewis (Burt Reynolds)

There's always a reason why, if given the chance for a weekend getaway, to stay in town. This is probably one of the first movies to depict a weekend getaway gone wrong.

When a portion of a remote northern Georgia is set to be flooded, outdoorsman Lewis Medlock (Burt Reynolds) talks his Ed Gentry (Jon Voight) into going on a canoe trip. They bring along novices Bobby Trippe (Ned Beatty) and Drew Ballinger (Ronny Cox) for the ultimate foursome.

The first thing they need to do (after filling up the gas tank $4.99) is to find someone to drive the two cars to their final destination. After paying $40, they hire the Griners (Seamon Glass and Randall Deal) although they see a third man with them but don't think nothing of it as they get their canoes into the water and begin their journey.

Later at the campsite, Drew's down as he thinks about the boy at the gas station who played music with him, and Ed and Bobby drink. Lewis thinks he heard something in the woods and disappears. The others have lost their direction without him, and he comes up behind them, telling them that this was basically a test to keep them on their toes.

As they leave the next morning, Lewis doesn't want Bobby in his canoe, so he and Drew set off, as Ed and Bobby begin their paddling down the river.

They become separated and pull their canoe off the river and head into the woods where they come across two mountain men (Bill McKinney and Herbert "Cowboy" Coward). The two lead Ed and Bobby deeper into the woods and tie Ed to a tree and Bobby is raped.

With a belt around his neck, Ed can only watch and is able to see Lewis and Drew paddling up to their abandoned canoe.

Bobby is laying in a heap of leaves as the first man joins his toothless friend. This time, the toothless man has designs for Ed, but his plans are thwarted when Lewis manages to shoot the first man with an arrow. The toothless man runs off into the woods.

The four get into a heated debate as to what they should do with the body, and Lewis reminds them that if they bury him, no one will find him since the area will be underwater soon. Drew is against the plan and thinks that they should go to the local sheriff and tell him what happened.

With a vote of three to one, they bury the man in a shallow grave and race back to their canoes. They plan on heading back to their cars as fast as they can.

Ed keeps yelling to Drew to put on his life vest as they head into rapids, but Drew falls out of the canoe and is washed away ahead of the two canoes colliding, destroying one of them.

Throughout the ordeal, Lewis had been looking up at the canyon and he tells the others that Drew had been shot since he saw the other man following them.

With a broken leg, Ed climbs the canyon wall while Bobby sits with Lewis for the night. One plan was for them to leave during the night, but Lewis had to remind them that it was impossible since they wouldn't be able to paddle with rapids in the darkness.

After injuring himself, Ed falls from the top of the cliff, and they weigh Drew's body with a rock into the water.

Once they make it to where their cars are, Ed goes for help, and they're transported to the hospital.

Deputy Queen (Macon McCalman) doesn't believe their story, since he tells Sheriff Bullard (James Dickey) that his brother-in-law is missing. And while the Sheriff doesn't have any evidence to detain the men, Bobby and Ed leave Lewis behind in the hospital and decide not to contact one another.


Public Defender Jenny Hudson (Theresa Russell) rejects a drink and plea bargain from Nicks

Public Defender Jenny Hudson (Theresa Russell) rejects a drink and plea bargain from Nicks

Whenever I think of this movie, I go back to the very early morning hours of January 22, 1989, following a night of going to the bar, followed by afterhours grocery shopping with my best friend at the time.

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We decided to drive together and after separating our groceries, my phone rang a few minutes later and Gregg had won tickets to an advance screening. It was about four in the morning, so what were the odds?

The following Thursday (with some drinks in me) we headed to the mall for the screening, and I would have preferred to continue drinking, having missed the opening credits.

Anyway, thanks to VHS, and falling asleep while watching it the first time, I haven't watched this movie until this column. There are things that I remembered, but for the most part, it's a very unmemorable movie.

A man (Kenny Bates) pulls his car off to the side of the road on a bridge and after going into his trunk, pulls out a sign and places it around his neck. The sign says, "Happy Now?" and he pulls out a noose.

After securing the rope, and putting the noose around his neck, he looks up and sees legs above him. Curious, he removes the noose and unties the rope to hook himself the body of Jake Farley.

He and the body tumble off of the bridge, but his leg was caught up in the rope and survives the fall.

The next morning, disgraced ex-police officer, Joe Paris (Burt Reynolds) wakes up from a blackout and doesn't remember the events of the previous night as he's arrested as a person of interest in Farley's murder.

Public Defender, Jenny Hudson (Theresa Russell) wants the case since she's tired of doing small cases. She says that she's the smartest one in the office and wants the chance to prove herself.

After getting the case, Paris doesn't want her to defend him, but she manages to get him out on bail and later when she tells her boyfriend Kyle (Ted McGinley) that she has the case, he doesn't want her to take it.

One night alone, she gets a visitor in the form of Deborah Quinn (Kay Lenz), and she tells Jenny that Joe was with her and she'll be his alibi, but she has to be cautious since her husband Vincent (Don Granbery) a noted crime boss, will kill her.

Prosecutor James Nicks has offered a plea bargain, which Jenny refuses and if upset when one of the witnesses, while under oath, (Michael P. Moran) brings up a taped conversation that Farley and Joe had. Nicks wants to bring it in as evidence, but Jenny won't allow it.

After hearing the tape, the others are stolen from Farley's nightclub and his son, Matt (Tom O'Brien) threatens Jenny outside her house and attacks Kyle.

When not in court, Joe has been doing some investigating on his own and brings some evidence to her, but after talking with Deborah, she agrees not to be a witness.

Jenny knows that her case is falling apart, and Nicks continues to dig up dirt on Joe and just before a holiday weekend, Jenny calls Deborah to the witness stand just as Vincent walks in. She changes her story and Joe tells Jenny that she just killed Deborah.

On her answering machine, Jenny listens to a message from prisoner Tony Sklar (Angelo Rizacos) and she meets with him after visiting hours. He gives her more information but is killed following the meeting.

The two concoct a plan in order to bring out the killer and having done what they set out to do, it's presumed that the two will finally become romantically involved.

It's a good thing there wasn't a sequel.




Ernest and Fanny Ray Weller (Lana Schwab) arrive for Ernest and Fanny's Exorcism Tonight

Ernest and Fanny Ray Weller (Lana Schwab) arrive for Ernest and Fanny's Exorcism Tonight

Once again, I have to throw my former bestie under the bus, as this was supposed to be the funniest horror parody ever made. It seemed like it, with Linda Blair and Leslie Nielsen, but somewhere something went wrong.

Since I reviewed this for my six hundredth and sixty sixth column, I didn't want to watch it again and I hope that I never really have to. Maybe I might watch it again years from now, but for now, once every couple of decades is enough.

Blair plays Nancy, a happy housewife and mother who as a young girl was possessed. Nancy's led the good Christian life and one night is possessed by the television set when she changes the channel by hand.

She seeks the counsel of Father Luke Brophy (Anthony Starke) and knowing that he can't help her, seeks out the retired Father Mayii (Nielsen).

Although Father Mayii remembers Nancy, he doesn't want to get involved and then televangelists Ernest and Fanny Ray Weller (Lana Schwab) catch wind of the possession. They decide to rid Nancy of the devil, but on live television.

When the devil finds out that the Weller's event has the biggest television audience ever, the studio is set on fire and tells them that they were lured into the exorcism. Now with the help of the camera, the devil tries to capture all of the souls watching until Father Mayii shows up and the two battle.

Nancy is freed and she joins Father Mayii at a lecture he's giving at the local college.

I never said this was the best movie out there, and it's always looking to try to outdo itself in being funny. Nothing to it really is and there's a lot of sight gags but even these can't help.

The best thing about this movie is the catchy theme song, Repossessed.

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