Thursday, December 22, 2011

High-Ballin' (1978)

Seen: On our big-screen/projector set-up, streamed from netflix instant.

You guys, have you heard about Jerry Reed? Yes? Good, then you've been paying attention. In High-Ballin', the man co-stars alongside Peter Fonda as a good-natured trucker who is being pressured into working for a major trucking company in the wake of a series of truck hijackings in the area. Instead the two best buddies team up with a lady (Helen Shaver) who is maybe a trucker? She drives like a trailer thing but perhaps also has her own truck somewhere? Unclear. Anyway. They'll put a stop to these jerks.

After White Line Fever last week I'm really learning a lot about the apparent struggles between big trucking companies and independent drivers in the 70's, a topic I had never even considered. But I guess it was a prevailing thing (maybe it still is?) so multiple movies were made about it. High-Ballin' starts off as a sort of light-hearted action flick pitting a small group of truckers against this mysterious force of killer hijackers. There's a killer driving sequence featuring various cars on fire and thrilling antics from Peter Fonda (his character is a retired stuntperson), a bar fight, and a couple of shoot-outs.

Unfortunately as the story progresses, it shifts away from Jerry Reed being his awesome, theme-song-singing self and focuses more on Peter Fonda and his terrifying hairline as he boringly romances the lady, known as Pickup. She starts off as a cool, tough driver but naturally devolves into an eye-batting, easily-kidnapped victim and Peter Fonda has to save her or whatever. Who cares.

Mostly High-Ballin' is an ok movie, and it certainly has some awesome moments. It just sort of loses itself in the third act, and I was disappointed (but unsurprised) with the handling of the female character. I dug David Ferry as this pretty-boy villain, though. He looked like he was 12, it was kind of great. Also Jerry Reed had a killer beard. And there sure is a lot of truckin'!


Pair This Movie With: I have to say White Line Fever, mainly because I watched them within a week of each other and they sort of deal with the same topic. High-Ballin' is better though.