Rejected By Rod(?): Part One - Viva Knievel!
For over a year now I've served as Flick Attack's second most fertile reviewer, behind only Mr. Rod Lott, who rather conveniently is the guy who decides what reviews get posted and when. Currently I have a collection of about 30 reviews that have been waiting on his slush pile for over a year now with no sign of their ever being used. He claims he's going to use them eventually (his direct email quote to me being, "I just haven't gotten to them yet because too many new one's have been brewing among all of us.") but only he knows when that is, so I've decided to start throwing one up every week because...well...that's one more post I don't have to write that week. Since I believe Rod is a man of his word, I've decided to included a parenthetical question mark in the title I've chosen for these posts, but until I see signs otherwise, I'm assuming this is the only place anyone will ever get to read these.
Rejected By Rod (?)
At the beginning of Viva Knievel!, the world’s most famous daredevil (playing himself) breaks into an orphanage in order to deliver a boxful of toys. While he’s there an adorable crippled moppet abandons his crutches and explains that Evel’s heroism served as the inspiration to get him to walk again.
It’s a moment so shameless it feels like the filmmakers are begging us to imagine Santa Claus and Jesus Christ combined in the body of a red-faced, side-burned hillbilly with a twisted motorcycle fetish.
And as over the top as this may seem, what makes Viva Knievel! so special and an absolute must see for anyone interested in classic WTF cinema is the astonishing fact that THIS IS THE MOST SUBTLE AND AMBIGUOUS SCENE IN THE ENTIRE MOVIE!!!!!!!!!!
With his life story having already been told in 1971s Evel Knievel (starring George Hamilton in the title role), Viva eschews typical biopic melodrama in favor of cheesy 70s era action exploitation. That is unless at one point in Knievel’s life there really was a conspiracy to sabotage his bike during a jump in Mexico, so a group of drug smugglers could load the semi carrying his corpse back into the States with millions of dollars worth of cocaine. In that case, the film could be considered unusually accurate.
To its credit Viva is surprisingly well made and looks like a real movie, unlike similar projects, which tend to resemble glorified TV pilots. To its discredit it manages to outdo Xanadu for featuring the most embarrassing performance of Gene Kelly’s career and also forces us to confront the terrifying image of Knievel (who is admittedly better in the role than Hamilton was) making out with Lauren Hutton, which ranks right up there with Jessica Alba kissing Danny Trejo in Machete for pure unintended horror.
So, whaddaya think? It's an okay review, isn't it? Not brilliant, but still worthy of being used on one of the slower weekdays, like a Tuesday or Wednesday after a long weekend when everyone actually has to get the work done they missed, instead of browsing at junk on the Internet. I think so, but apparently Rod doesn't....