Smokey and the Bandit

 

Smokey and the Bandit is an exhilarating ride through the South, filled with enough crime, action, comedy, and romance to justifiably spend an hour and a half of your time.

The film follows two truckers, Bandit and Snowman who are bootlegging Coors beer east of Texas (apparently it was against the law then) for the nice sum of $80,000. They're on a tight schedule, with plenty of cops to chase them all the way, and they of course pick up a young woman looking for a way out of her own situation pretty early on in the movie.

Bandit has the job of playing "blocker" for Snowman in the truck, which basically means he's driving fast so that the cops go after him rather than the truck full of beer. This leads to so many cop cars crashing, it seems bested only by the amount lost in The Blues Brothers!

Here's the trailer so you can get a taste of what's going on in this film:

While it certainly was a fun movie, and had me wishing I had my own black Trans-Am to race around the road, I couldn't help but pause and think about, as the annoying Sheriff chasing Bandit put it:

"What we're dealing with here is a complete lack of respect for the law."

When the Sheriff says it, it seems comical because there isn't a whole lot of respect we have for him because of his behavior throughout the movie. However, there is a complete lack of respect for the law, and not only from Bandit, but from everyone else in the country. No one tells the law enforcement where Bandit is, but the first thing anyone does when the see the cops, or "smokeys," is to radio Bandit and let him know.

So the question becomes: is it ok to avoid the law if they are corrupt and evil themselves? Perhaps, but I have a feeling that isn't the question either. It's not as if Bandit and Snowman have respectable motives that the law is preventing them from carrying out. Unless Coors really is worth that much trouble, though the law may be a silly one, I'm pretty sure Bandit is only taking this job because he was told he couldn't do it. And the money isn't too bad of an incentive either. But both reasons aren't worthy of cirumventing the law. And yet for 90 minutes, we're rooting for the "bad guy" and cheer when the cops get thrown in the river or can't follow Bandit's amazing driving.

And yet this seems to be how movies portray the world. There aren't too many films where we're following the cop, rooting for him as he chases down the criminal. At least there doesn't seem to be as many as opposed to where the criminal is the hero. And this seems to be an issue, especially if we are teaching people that if you want something bad enough, avoid the law if you have to. We should be teaching people to seek higher things, and to cautiously approach avoiding the law. In other words, even if the law is wrong, we shouldn't disrespect it.

The movie is still a fun one, so watch it, and at least think through the ideas it's portraying, but enjoy it too!

Ben Brandt

Ben is a front-end developer with a love for all things web. When he isn't coding for his 8-to-5, he's usually running, watching movies, or playing with new web frameworks and languages.

Portland, OR

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