There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
In the summer of 1980, Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale’s perfection of the R-rated comedy was undeservedly blasted into obscurity by Airplane! and Caddyshack. Taking a few cues from Hal “the redneck Mel Brooks” Needham’s previous epics (Smokey and the Bandit, Hooper) and turning up the raunch, Used Cars is one of the last thoughtful examples of the formula before it wasted away into Porky’s territory. Kurt Russell, Jack Warden (in a double role), Gerrit Graham, and Frank McRae (as Jim the Mechanic) chew the scenery to pieces in a hailstorm of curse words and physical gags. The foul dialogue of McRae and Warden reaches a Tourette’s-afflicted level of saturation—and this was Warden’s first R-rated film. As the wise and inverted folks at the Washington Psychotronic Film Society clearly realize, the movie is a definitive look at things that were funny prior to the PC poisoning of the ’90s. With boobs, random sex, moral apathy, racial stereotypes, comic violence, dangerous stunts, and a completely infeasible plot, Used Cars has everything today’s comedy lacks. (Come to think of it, White Chicks kinda had that stuff, too.) If the presidential-address-jam sequence doesn’t have you rolling on the floor, get your sad ass out of there and give up your seat to a worthy patron. A little trivia: Characters were given props such as cups and trash and encouraged to litter during scenes. So feel free to ash on the floor when the WPFS presents the film at 8 p.m. at Dr. Dremo’s Taphouse, 2001 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington. (202) 707-2540. $2 (suggested donation). (Andrew Earles)