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Charles Johnson
Charles Johnson

All The Stars By Duckie Mack

Vincent Canby of The New York Times wrote that the film "has been made before much less expensively and much more entertainingly by directors with no aspirations to be artists. 'Convoy' is a bad joke that backfires on the director. He has neither the guts to play the movie straight as melodrama nor the sense of humor to turn it into a kind of 'Smokey and the Bandit' comedy. The movie is a big, costly, phony exercise in myth-making, machismo, romance-of-the-open-road nonsense and incredible self-indulgence."[16] Arthur D. Murphy of Variety wrote, "Sam Peckinpah's 'Convoy' starts out as 'Smokey And The Bandit,' segues into either 'Moby Dick' or 'Les Miserables,' and ends in the usual script confusion and disarray, the whole stew peppered with the vulgar excess of random truck crashes and miscellaneous destruction ... Every few minutes there's some new roadblock to run, alternating with pithy comments on The Meaning Of It All. There's a whole lot of nothing going on here."[17] Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune gave the film 1.5 stars out of 4 and wrote, "Save for a car sailing through the roof of a barn, 'Convoy' is sluggish entertainment, the first road race film in which I rooted for the cops against the good guys. Kristofferson's getting caught would have made a shorter and better picture."[18] Charles Champlin of the Los Angeles Times called the film "a multivehicle wreck of a movie" and "slack stuff, missing as a sizzling love story, missing as the kind of funny anti-authoritarian statement the song was, arriving well past the peak of the CB phenomenon, making no statement one way or the other about trucks or truckers."[19] Gary Arnold of The Washington Post wrote that the film "suggests a shotgun misalliance of 'Billy Jack' and 'Smokey and the Bandit,'" and all Peckinpah could do with the "stupid material" was "to pretend he's getting somewhere by noisily spinning his wheels. More often than not even his visual pyrotechnics falls short, and he's left trying to rationalize nonsensical characters and conflicts by imposing his sentimentalities about men of war on them."[20] John Pym of The Monthly Film Bulletin was generally positive, writing, "What sets this apart from other recent citizen-band road movies is the skill with which Peckinpah redefines the artifacts of the Western, which is what Convoy transparently remains. It has lines of cavalrymen, a cattle drive, a secret trail to Mexico, a circular camp site, innocent bar-room fisticuffs and a hero who, while caring nothing for women, at the same time reveres the married man and his homestead ... The adroitness of mood is perhaps best characterized by the moment when, his audience having been softened by the surrounding exuberance, Peckinpah slips into place such a poignantly sentimental moment as the departure of Spider Mike for his hometown."[21]

All the Stars by Duckie Mack



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