“Used Cars” (1980) dir. Robert Zemeckis

At one point in the distant past (over 30 years ago), director Robert Zemeckis was one of the funniest, weirdest, and raunchiest comedy film directors around.  While “Back to the Future” sent Zemeckis and his co-writer Bob Gale onto greener commercial pastures, “Used Cars,” from 1980, was the highlight of Zemeckis’s (and Gale’s) career.  An unapologeticaly politically incorrect tale of corruption and sleaze with a scumbag (albeit with a heart of gold … or at least bronze) as its hero.  And seriously, F–K Snake Plissken!  Kurt Russell was never better than he was playing sleazebag used car salesman Rudy Russo.  Zemeckis and Gale split up professionally and Zemeckis involved himself with increasingly commercial, but blander projects (“Romancing the Stone,” “Forrest Gump,” “Contact,” and the extremely disturbing-looking computer animated film “Polar Express”).  Yes, I’ll admit the first “Back to the Future” film has its charms, but “Used Cars” was THE BEST Zemeckis and Gale film.   Let’s pour some wine on the ground in honor of what Zemeckis could have been as a director, a wonderful cross between Preston Sturges and John Waters (and if you don’t think that concept is golden, then f–k off!).

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