[Double Impact] ‘Gator’ (1976)

From the twisted minds of BB Ben and Sailor Monsoon comes a new collaborative review series called Double Impact! For these opinion pieces, we watch a film, discuss it, and then Sailor turns our drunken conversations into something legible and entertaining!

There is no rhyme or reason to the movie selection process, but don’t be surprised if we lean heavily on garbage action films (that’s right, Chuck Norris, the meme stops here).

Strap in, Exiles.

This is–Double Impact!

Film: Gator

Action Star: Burt Fuckin’ Reynolds

Tagline (that doubles as a plot synopsis): “The Bayou’s baddest good ol’ boy is back!”

Review and Random Thoughts

Typos left in for comedic effect

Sailor Monsoon– To honor the recent passing of Burt Reynolds, I think this Double Impact should be more of a reflection of the legends work than a MST3K type joke fest. I mean, it’s still going to be the typical laugh riot but I think this is the perfect opportunity to shine a light on your fathers favorite movie star.

Basement Bros– Absolutely. He’s one of those actors I know by reputation but other than Boogie Nights and some terrible 00’s films, I’m completely in the dark when it comes to his filmography. And “laugh riot” is an overassessment. Double Impact is more a chuckle fracas or a mini chortle parade.

SM– I’m putting a pin in this “laugh riot” business because everything I say is 24k comedy gold, so you’re clearly jealous of my clown college degree. Well, we got ourselves a good news/bad news type situation. Good news is–Amazon has some classic Burt Reynolds movies but the bad news is–It’s either Smokey and the Bandit or Gator.

BB– Unless Gator is about Reynolds fighting a giant fucking alligator Robert Shaw style, my vote goes to Smokey and the Bandit.

SM– It’s not but I think we should watch it anyways. Because Smokey is too good to talk over. Especially if it’s a first time watch.

BB– Sounds good to me. But are you positive Gator isn’t a cheesy 70’s Jaws ripoff? Because that would be amazing.

SM– Well…

SM– Ask and ye shall receive.

BB– I knew if I believed hard enough, the wheel would finally provide a winner.

SM– Nah, I’m fucking with you. That’s some terrible Italian knock off we ain’t never watching.

BB– God damn it.

SM– But guess what?

BB– ….What?


SM– Burt Reynolds actually *did* make a Jaws ripoff.

BB– Fuck Yes.

SM– Yeah but we ain’t watching that either. Because it’s terrible.

BB– Sigh.

BB– I’m really starting to feel like Charlie Brown over here. I’m just trying to play kick the football because it looks like fun and you keep convincing me that you won’t pull the ball away but every goddamn time I think I’m gonna get it, you pull it away at the last second. Why do I keep falling for the same trick over and over again. I just wanna kick the ball once, you know? Just one time I wanna win.

SM– I have no idea what you’re talking about. Don’t blame me because the wheel hates you and loves to see you suffer.

BB– But you’re the wheel! You decide what I have to watch!!

SM– I didn’t hear you complaining during Cyborg. Or Final Score. Or Raiders of Atlantis.

BB– But that’s like 3 out of like 20 terrible films.

SM– You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have– Double Impact.

BB– Did you just….is that the theme song to the Facts of Life…??

SM– I have no idea what you’re talking about. On to the movie!

100 giant alligator-less minutes later

SM– Well, that was a movie.

BB– I don’t want to insult a legend I know very little about, so I’m gonna go the ‘ol compliment sandwich route.

SM– A reverse sandwich is the perfect analogy to explain what is wrong with this movie. The beginning and end (the bread) is solid, it’s everything in the middle (sammich fixings) that’s problematic.

BB– I know. I was going to say the same thing. We need some sort of code or something because you keep mowing my lawn.

SM– That’s what the French call simpatico.

BB– Mmm-hmm.

SM– I’m a cultured man, Ben. I know lots of stuff. But stay focused!

BB– I kind of have nothing to say about this movie. It was a movie. I mean, the chase at the beginning was fun, Reynolds was fun (that laugh) but tonally, it was all over the place.

SM– Well, let’s start at the beginning. Gator is the directorial debut of Burt Reynolds, which is a sequel to White Lightning (which neither of us have seen.) It’s about a bootlegger having to go undercover to bust a drug dealing pimp.

BB– The set up isn’t bad but it’s kind of a slog to get through and it bounces back and forth between comedy and drama so hard, you have to brace yourself in order to prevent whiplash.

SM– There’s a scene where Reynolds confronts an underaged prostitute that’s played super serious and not but twenty minutes later, there’s a scene straight out of Bob’s Burgers, where Reynolds has to run around with a bunch of cats. Twenty minutes after that, those cats and their owner are burned alive.

BB– There’s also a pointless romance subplot that doesn’t really go anywhere.

SM– I’m trying really hard to not shit on this movie because it is his first job as a director but it’s not great. You mentioned the action scene at the beginning. It really is fun and there’s a crazy stunt near the end but this gator ain’t got no bite.

BB– I don’t want to leave this review on a negative note, so in order to salvage it, give us a list of what you think are the essential Reynolds films. Where should I, and everyone unfamiliar with his work, start?

SM– That’s a great idea.

SM– I apologize in advance for this off the cuff, poorly thought out (and written) list.

1. Deliverance. It’s one of the best American movies ever and deserves much more than to be remembered for its infamous rape scene.

2. Smokey and the Bandit. The definitive Burt Reynolds movie. Every element of this film works.

3. Sharky’s Machine. Burt Reynolds at his most badass. This film should’ve transitioned him into an older action star like Taken did for Liam Neeson.

4. The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing. An underrated western that is far more than “Eastwood-lite.’

5. Navajo Joe. If you can look past the problematic brown face, it has a great early performance by Reynolds

6. Hooper. A pretty successful attempt at recapturing Smokey and the Bandit magic.

7. Boogie Nights. I don’t consider this a Burt Reynolds movie but he owns every second he’s on screen. If he didn’t openly trash this film for months, he would’ve won the Oscar.

8. Malone. A glorious slice of American cheese.

SM– There’s probably a couple more I’m forgetting but that’s a great beginner list. I also recommend his appearance on Archer.

BB– Looks like I got myself some homework.

SM– And it looks like my vodquil is kicking in. Bye everybody.

Rest In Peace Burt Reynolds

You will be missed