Burt Reynolds (U.S., 1985)
Following on Cannonball Run 2 and Smokey and the Bandit 3, Burt Reynolds snagged Elmore Leonard to adapt his novel Stick to the screen. It’s the perfect vehicle for a director apt to commit vehicular manslaughter with a lesser script. Lean and upright, Reynolds gets the Ernest “Stick” Stickley shtick just right, the evasive banter, the nonchalant swagger, the barbed humor. An ex-con, Stick blows into his hometown of Miami looking for a new start amidst the dangerous Deco. What he finds instead is Chucky (Charles Durning), a rotund drug dealer with a raggedy bleached wig, and his sidekick Moke (Dar Robinson), a thug with “bunny eyes” and a thirst for the worst. When the worst arrives, Stick won’t back down because he’s “cellblock stubborn.” Elmore Leonard spices up the Floridian fantasy with kidnapping, Santeria, balcony dives, scorpions, and Candice Bergen as the world’s most beautiful financial advisor. As an added bonus, the sun sets over Miami with Anne Murray singing "I Don't Think I'm Ready for You." Makes you long for a tequila sunrise.
• Written by Elmore Leonard, Joseph C. Stinson, from the novel by Leonard. Photographed by Nick McLean. With Reynolds, Candice Bergen, George Segal, Charles Durning. (109 mins, Color, 35mm, From Universal Pictures)