'Blue Collar' jump-starts the Big 3
Today is Media Day at the Super Bowl here in Tampa, so Sean Daly and I will be twittering from Raymond James Stadium. Meanwhile, Vegas Girlfriend is today's guest blogger, offering up another "not quite in the '80s" retro-review. But since she's obsessed with "All Things Detroit," take it away!
TODAY's RETRO-REVIEW: 1978's Blue Collar, starring Yaphet Kotto, Harvey Keitel and Richard Pryor. Directed and co-written by Paul Schrader.
THE PLOT: Smokey, Zeke and Jerry are three Detroit autoworkers with big financial problems at home. When an opportunity comes along to steal from the safe of their corrupt union office, the three friends decide to jump at it, and get way more than they bargained for.
MAYBE YOU REMEMBER: This film was written and directed by Michigan native Paul Schrader, famous for writing the screenplays for Raging Bull and Taxi Driver, and for writing and directing the '80s classic American Gigolo.
SURELY YOU CAN'T FORGET: The scene of a wild party at Smokey's place, where Jerry and Zeke get in a fight armed with, um, marital aids.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAID: "Blue Collar is about life on the Detroit assembly lines, and about how it wears men down and chains them to a lifetime installment plan. It is an angry, radical movie about the vise that traps workers between big industry and big labor." -- Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
WHY WE LOVE IT: It's funny, angry, gritty and the three leads are fantastic. The ending is bleak; this is definitely not your typical Hollywood film, but it will stick with you for a long time after the credits roll. And with the economy the way it is, especially within the automotive industry, this 31-year-old film seems especially timely.
TOP 5 MEMORABLE QUOTES FROM BLUE COLLAR:
5. "You guys work at Checker, right?" ... "Just in the summertime, in the wintertime we work on Wall Street."
4. "Why do you go on the line every Friday? Because the finance man is going to be at your house on Saturday, right? That's exactly what the company wants, to keep you on the line, they'll do anything to keep you on that line. They pit the lifers against the new boys, the old against the young, the black against the white, everybody to keep us in our place, can't you understand that?"
3. "What did the white guy look like?" ... "He had an arrow through his head."
2. "You’re trying to hurt somebody instead of helping yourself! That’s your problem!"
1. "Man, we should've robbed a liquor store like everybody else."