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A Movie A Day: Quint on MOVING VIOLATIONS (1985)
Why is my back all wet?

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with today’s installment of A Movie A Day. [For those now joining us, A Movie A Day is my attempt at filling in gaps in my film knowledge. My DVD collection is thousands strong, many of them films I haven’t seen yet, but picked up as I scoured used DVD stores. Each day I’ll pull a previously unseen film from my collection and discuss it here. Each movie will have some sort of connection to the one before it, be it cast or crew member.] Cinematographer Robert Elswit connects us from yesterday’s 1985 comedy THE SURE THING to today’s 1985 comedy MOVING VIOLATIONS. This film comes from the creators of POLICE ACADEMY. If you didn’t see that on the DVD cover you’d see that within 5 minutes of the flick. I won’t say that there’s not any enjoyment to be had out of this movie, but it is so very clearly set on the “Hey, Police Academy worked. Rinse, wash, repeat…” setting. So, we take Police Academy and… wait for it… set it at a traffic school! Bang! Instant bucks! And we’ll get Bill Murray to star! Wait, GHOSTBUSTERS made a shitload of money. We can’t get Bill Murray. Can we get someone that will act and sound exactly like him… doesn’t he have a brother? Bingo! That might be a little harsh. John Murray does try his hardest, but I get the feeling that he isn’t exactly like his brother and that’s what the producers wanted because he’s essentially playing Bill Murray playing the character, Dana Cannon. I quite liked what he did in SCROOGED, actually playing Murray’s brother, so no offense to him as an actor, but I think he got shafted a bit. Instead of GW Baily we have James Keach, the tight-ass highway patrolman who bumps heads with Murray throughout the flick. Keach is good in the role, but suffers a bit from the same thing that John Murray does. You get the feeling that the producers wanted Stacy and then just settled for his brother, making him play his more famous sibling. I’m making it sound like I hated this movie… I didn’t. There are some fun gags and Murray is charming, if not a carbon copy, in the lead. There’s a great cast of character actors here, including Brian Backer (remember him? He was the geek that fell in love with Jennifer Jason Leigh in FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH), Jennifer Tilly (cast as a rocket scientist, no less), Wendie Jo Sperber as a hypocondriac, Fred Willard as a double-entendre spewing mechanic/scientist guy, Ned Eisenberg as an unapologetic gore hound that gets off on the horrible warning videos shown to the class and Sally Kellerman as a dirty (in more ways than one) judge. Also look out for Don Cheadle in an early, early role as a fast food clerk at a drive-thru, Brent Chalem (Horace from The Monster Squad) as one of the children victims of the inattentive driver in the PSA shown to the class and the Where's the Beef lady as the best friend to the old Mrs. Houk (Nedra Volz), a damn near blind senior citizen and one of the funniest parts of the movie. The scene where she is found trying to piss in the men's urinal did get me to laugh (that's her line in the subhead), but I love toilet humor. Final Thoughts: The movie’s a formula that was already getting old when it came out and now after a hundred sequels and ripoffs of POLICE ACADEMY it’s even more out of touch. But there is a charm to it, something that could be ‘80s nostalgia for me or seeing Murray trying to do his best Bill. I won’t deny the movie did get a few laughs out of me (usually when James Keach was being a dick) and '80s Jennifer Tilly is ALWAYS worth watching, but I can’t say I enjoyed it enough to ever go out of my way to watch it again.

The schedule for the next 7 days is: Monday, July 21st: MEATBALLS (1979) Tuesday, July 22nd: CAST A GIANT SHADOW (1966) Wednesday, July 23rd: OUT OF THE PAST (1947) Thursday, July 24th: THE BIG STEAL (1949) Friday, July 25th: WHERE DANGER LIVES (1950) Saturday, July 26th: CROSSFIRE (1947) Sunday, July 27th: RICCO, THE MEAN MACHINE (1973) Tomorrow we cut across the Murray blood-line and hit 1979’s MEATBALLS, starring John’s brother Bill. See you folks then! -Quint

Previous Movies: June 2nd: Harper
June 3rd: The Drowning Pool
June 4th: Papillon
June 5th: Gun Crazy
June 6th: Never So Few
June 7th: A Hole In The Head
June 8th: Some Came Running
June 9th: Rio Bravo
June 10th: Point Blank
June 11th: Pocket Money
June 12th: Cool Hand Luke
June 13th: The Asphalt Jungle
June 14th: Clash By Night
June 15th: Scarlet Street
June 16th: Killer Bait (aka Too Late For Tears)
June 17th: Robinson Crusoe On Mars
June 18th: City For Conquest
June 19th: San Quentin
June 20th: 42nd Street
June 21st: Dames
June 22nd: Gold Diggers of 1935
June 23rd: Murder, My Sweet
June 24th: Born To Kill
June 25th: The Sound of Music
June 26th: Torn Curtain
June 27th: The Left Handed Gun
June 28th: Caligula
June 29th: The Elephant Man
June 30th: The Good Father
July 1st: Shock Treatment
July 2nd: Flashback
July 3rd: Klute
July 4th: On Golden Pond
July 5th: The Cowboys
July 6th: The Alamo
July 7th: Sands of Iwo Jima
July 8th: Wake of the Red Witch
July 9th: D.O.A.
July 10th: Shadow of A Doubt
July 11th: The Matchmaker
July 12th: The Black Hole
July 13th: Vengeance Is Mine
July 14th: Strange Invaders
July 15th: Sleuth
July 16th: Frenzy
July 17th: Kingdom of Heaven: The Director’s Cut
July 18th: Cadillac Man
July 19th: The Sure Thing

Readers Talkback
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  • July 21, 2008, 3:41 a.m. CST

    Great Movie

    by MN_Batman

    Always loved this movie. Hell it has the "Wheres The Beef" lady in it as well.

  • July 21, 2008, 3:46 a.m. CST

    The anti-gravity sex scene...

    by Han Ol' Buddy

    Classic 80's. Especially when the clothes start getting in on the action. I used to watch this on cable as a kid. The part when Fred Willard's character gets the woman to drink two bottles of vegetable oil and run on the highway was always funny. I know I'm missing a bunch of stuff...

  • July 21, 2008, 3:55 a.m. CST

    Are you ready for the summer?

    by aint_it_cruel?

    Are you ready for the Hot times? (sorry, last time...) Watching MV before Meatballs is like watching Agent for H.A.R.M. before Goldfinger.

  • July 21, 2008, 4:04 a.m. CST

    double entendre

    by evolvingsensblty

    you must be hungry Quint. All I can remember is the anti-gravity scene. "the first time should be special / memorable"...or something.

  • July 21, 2008, 4:10 a.m. CST

    No love for MV, Quint?

    by Skraggo

    Maybe it's a guilty pleasure, but this movie holds a definite spot in my 1980's-lovin' heart. Gotta love the old blind lady drunkenly shouting: "Yeeeaaaaaahhhh, fuck 'em!!!"

  • July 21, 2008, 4:19 a.m. CST

    Alittle too Harsh.

    by Redfive!

    You pointed out the obvious in alittle too harsh way man.I saw this back in the 80s when Police Academy was the shit and no it was NOT getting old when it came out,it was funny as hell and it still is funny today.

  • July 21, 2008, 4:22 a.m. CST


    by Redfive!

    Where the review for the 1980s classic HUNK AND ELECTRIC DREAMS??

  • July 21, 2008, 4:28 a.m. CST

    Oh, C'mon!

    by mrbeaks

    An old man gets his nuts smashed by a runaway bowling ball in this! That shit's straight out of Wodehouse.

  • July 21, 2008, 5:08 a.m. CST

    "Here's the leash, sir."

    by caruso_stalker217

    "I'm going back to get the rest of the carcass off the road." <p>James Keach. VACATION. Classic.

  • July 21, 2008, 6:06 a.m. CST

    Jennifer Tilly so hot

    by JackieGleasonUFO

    this movie is kinda funny but more so just a good peice of nostalgia for me and one to own becauser of Tilly.

  • July 21, 2008, 6:31 a.m. CST

    No Pondscum that was Summer School

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    with Mark Harmon, Kirstie Alley, and oh yeah the kid who went from Little House on the Prairie to JAG, which spun of NCIS which stars Harmon - Patrick Laborteaux. Man, that guy put on weight from his late teens. He went from cool to geeky. Usually the reverse is true.

  • July 21, 2008, 6:49 a.m. CST

    wow this was on daytime TV just last week!

    by the power of GREYSKULL

    I just saw the bit with the really obviously gay cop arm wrestling with the lead - who leans over and plants one on him so he can win while the gay cop is pretending to be all disgusted - but I was having lunch so I had to turn off... <p> From the makers of Police Academy alright

  • July 21, 2008, 7:30 a.m. CST

    Moving Violations

    by Herb West

    When I move. Great 80's flick.

  • July 21, 2008, 7:38 a.m. CST

    Isn't John Murray on Mad Men now?

    by Cletus Van Damme

    I think that was him I saw during A&E's marathon yesterday.

  • July 21, 2008, 7:43 a.m. CST

    This movie rocks!

    by Montag666

    Come on Quint! All you could think of was the where's the beef lady? How about the puppet show on wheels in the beginning of the movie? Or the parade at the end in which Sally Kellerman says "Get off me you friggin duck!" This movie is hilarious. Give it another spin.

  • July 21, 2008, 7:46 a.m. CST

    I was wrong...I IMDB'ed him and it's Joel Murray

    by Cletus Van Damme

    ...on Mad Men, I mean.

  • July 21, 2008, 8 a.m. CST

    MV = 80's classic

    by Sailor Rip

    I'll take it over any Police Academy any day. What if the horror freak in this movie got together with Chainsaw from Summer School and made a buddy comedy. Did your socks just get blown right the fuck through your shoes?

  • July 21, 2008, 8:02 a.m. CST

    Reno 911's Lieutenant Dangle an effete...

    by 12halfshell

    version of James Keach's role here. With better anger management skills. Also, the shot of John Murray driving and jamming to music with his head through the steering wheel, priceless.

  • July 21, 2008, 8:45 a.m. CST

    The Murray Bros.

    by skimn

    And let's not forget Brian Doyle Murray. I remember Joel as the schlubby best friend on Dharma and Greg, which, yes, I only watched for Miss Elfman.

  • July 21, 2008, 8:51 a.m. CST

    Curious to find the connect between

    by skimn

    Meatballs and Cast A Giant Shadow...Bill Murray doesn't do a Kirk Douglas impression does he?

  • July 21, 2008, 8:55 a.m. CST

    Finally, time for "Meatballs"

    by Philo_Beddo

    "Spaz...Spaz...Spaz...Spaz..." The crowd gently chants his name as Spaz balances an egg on a spoon. A scene rivaled only by the finale of "Rocky" in the annals of inspirational scenes.

  • July 21, 2008, 9:11 a.m. CST


    by Darkman

    I'm pretty sure that Elmer Bernstein is the link, having scored both films. <br><br> Mention of Joel Murray gets me to thinking about ONE CRAZY SUMMER. Funny movie.

  • July 21, 2008, 9:15 a.m. CST

    yes mommy yes!

    by chokinonrhodes

    I love this movie. Jennifer Tilly was actually kind of hot in it. I watched this film too many times to count when i was young.

  • July 21, 2008, 9:15 a.m. CST

    I think the ending was pretty funny.

    by DerLanghaarige

    When they all got their driver's licence and end up in a mass crash, right before the school or something like that (That was a spoiler). It's been a while since I saw it on TV.

  • July 21, 2008, 11:04 a.m. CST

    I watched MV so many times on Showtime

    by Kraken

    while my parents were at work. Man I loved that movie. The Fred Willard "engine repair" scene is a classic. Oddly enough, I think this movie WAS my Police Academy because I only saw Citizens On Patrol when I was a kid... I didn't see the first P.A. film until I was a teenager... so maybe that's why I loved MV so much.

  • July 21, 2008, 11:55 a.m. CST

    Are you people crazy

    by hst666

    I saw this movie in the 80s and it was mediocre then and it's mediocre now.

  • July 21, 2008, 12:03 p.m. CST

    This movie has two great gags that I remember

    by BitterMan23

    One: "It's not like she's a rocket scientist." (and then the payoff)<br> <br> Two: The very end of the film, Murray is driving home after they all got their licenses (undeservedly, if memory serves) and they have all been pulled over already.

  • July 21, 2008, 12:32 p.m. CST

    Love The Scene...

    by Sinister187

    Towards the end, where the car crashes and the duck flies off in slow-motion and says something like 'holy shit'.

  • July 21, 2008, 1:49 p.m. CST

    "Do you know how fast you were driving Mr..."

    by TylerDurden3395

    Indiana Jones?" Den-den-den-da, Den-den-da-da.... Classic!

  • July 21, 2008, 2:15 p.m. CST


    by Sailor Rip

    Love that part. Then he makes that face to try and look like the picture. Classic.

  • July 21, 2008, 2:39 p.m. CST

    was on Universal HD a week or so ago!!!

    by picardsucks

    Lot of funny stuff. Why didn't this Murray Brother every make it big?? He was very clever in this.

  • July 21, 2008, 3:31 p.m. CST

    i like the clothes having sex

    by slappy jones

    great stuff

  • July 21, 2008, 3:41 p.m. CST

    Wendie Jo Sperber

    by DennisMM

    *sigh* Gods, she was hot. The very idea that she was treated like a hound on "Bosom Buddies" disturbed me. Hey, guys! She's fat, but look at that gorgeous face! And she wants you so bad she'll probably do the ice cube trick on the first date!

  • July 21, 2008, 6:43 p.m. CST

    Don't forget Robert Conrad....

    by otm shank

    as the hot-headed police chief that Keech keeps pissing off.

  • July 21, 2008, 11:11 p.m. CST

    I remember it being a good way to kill

    by Mace Tofu

    a friday afternoon at the movies when it first came out. I also don't have it in my movie collection so that says something...

  • July 21, 2008, 11:22 p.m. CST

    I liked this movie way back when...

    by grendel824

    ... probably more than it deserves, but enough that I picked up the DVD when I saw it for dirt cheap. There's a lot worse out there when it comes to "movies that aren't very good."

  • July 22, 2008, 12:05 a.m. CST

    I heart Wendie Jo

    by Napoleon Park

    And being a sick sadistic fuck the scene where they humiliate her by having her play a character who drank two quarts of oil and then had to try not to shit in her panties actually turned me on a little in a really disturbing way.<p>But there was an even worse moment once in an interview when she was telling a reporter that she was dying of cancer and was worried about who'd take care of her child and his reply was "What was it like working with Tom Hanks" and she gave him this disgusted "oh you stupid fuck" look. Really, some people's journalists.<p>Agree with the above comments - she was incredibly sexy. That face, those lips, that cleavage.

  • July 22, 2008, 1:11 a.m. CST

    "When the going gets tough..."

    by Bob Cryptonight

    "...the tough get going in their pants." I love this movie! It is my favorite of all "stupid" movies (where the jokes are so stupid that they make me laugh). The audio-commentary on the DVD is really interesting (the movie was an attempt to make a POLICE ACADEMY movie without bothering to hire any of those guys or feature "police" or an "academy" in prominent roles. Plus, no kidding, the director claims it was supposed to take place "in the near future"...?). I also love auto mechanic Fred Willard's deadpan delivery of all those lines that Wendy Jo Sperber supposedly confuses with a doctor's office examination. Boy, I sure miss her...

  • July 23, 2008, 12:43 a.m. CST

    that 's a classic movie!

    by the milf lover

    I havent seen it in almost 20 years, but it was funny as hell! I had no idea it was even available on dvd!