Here’s a tasty treat from early 70s cinema! Except the poster is extremely misleading.
We open with a view of the murky waters at some place in the southern U.S. A place full of trees hung with Spanish moss and swamps streaked with the iridescent glow of pollution. Without the sudden appearance of a mansion on the shore, it might have been mistaken for the set of Southern Comfort.
But instead of Powers Boothe or Keith Carradine, we are treated to the sight of a very young Sam Elliott canoeing through the muck, taking photos of wildlife. He may have glanced at the pesticides oozing past his boat and shaken his head with dismay. Thus, we learn he is one of the good guys. I guess.
Little does he know that within the first 10 minutes of the movie (actually, make that five) he’ll end up meeting the Crocketts, who own the manse and apparently don’t employ a “green” lawn service. (But “Meet the Crocketts” sounds like a great sitcom name.)
Elliott (who plays a guy named Pickett Smith) floats right by the dock (as I recall — it’s been a while and the beginning was dominated by the immense amount of pesticide, the sheer magnitude of Spanish moss creeping over everything, and the extremely tiny bright orange outfit that a highly emaciated Joan Van Ark wore while standing on said dock.) (A pier, a dock, whatever.) At some point, one of the male Crocketts, Clint (played by Adam Roarke) tips over Pickett’s canoe accidentally, and his sister Karen (played by the skin-and-bones of Joan Van Ark) and Clint invite Pickett to … yes, Meet the Crocketts!
The patriarch of the Crockett clan is Jason Crockett (played sneeringly by Ray Milland). Jason’s just an incredibly grouchy old guy stuck in a wheelchair. There are plans in the works for a big party for Jason. He wants to celebrate the Fourth of July and his birthday by yelling at everyone and acting like as much of an asshole as possible.
Meanwhile, Pickett (wondering, no doubt, what the hell he stumbled into) tries to place a phone call, only to discover the line is dead.
And, unfortunately, that’s not the only dead thing to turn up during the excruciating remainder of this 90-minute movie.
PS: There are probably more frogs in this video than in most of the movie. And the ones that appear hardly play a part in the story. Until the end. :)
You can consider this a preview of coming parts of this review! :)