Classic American mines another nugget of TV gold to keep you entertained at home on your TV
You’d think with the onslaught of all the streaming services that DVDs and Blu Rays would become obsolete, but there’s still a thriving market for them out there, with new releases every week. These don’t just include new titles, but older ones which haven’t been available before. ‘Used Cars’ is actually a forty year old film released back in 1980 and features a young Kurt Russell who plays a used car dealer who also aspires to be a politician.
He eventually ends up running the car dealership when the owner and his boss (played by Jack Warden) dies and has to take on the competition with increasingly ridiculous and outlandish schemes to attract customers. Anyone familiar with ads for car dealerships in the States in the Seventies and Eighties will remember these outlandish spots with their frequently home-made feel, which sought to grab viewers’ attention with use of probs, outfits or scantily clad women. Needless to say there’s plenty of that, as well as plenty of big Seventies American boats for sale on the lot, the prices of which will have many Classic American readers wincing at what bargains they were back then.
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1980 was a pretty seminal year for the American automobile industry: the second oil crisis, precipitated by the Iranian Revolution in 1979, really marked the curtains for the traditional full size American car. The first one in 1973 saw the industry to scramble to build smaller, lighter cars and this second one cemented that aim. In some ways this film is taking aim at that American icon, the big family American saloon, in much the same way that National Lampoon’s vacation does with the ‘Wagon Family Truckster’… Most of the cars on the used car lot are big Seventies American models and by 1980 that in itself is considered funny.
If you’re a bit of a film buff, this movie is interesting as it is one of Robert Zemeckis’s earlier works. Zemeckis went on to make Romancing the Stone, Back to the Future, Who framed Roger Rabbit and Forrest Gump, along with many other famous films. Whilst it won’t (and didn’t!) win any awards for great acting or a marvellous plot, it is a bit of funny American social history and is easy light viewing… with a few expletives and nudity thrown in!