Tuesday, 20 December 2011

The Big Bus

Today's film blog is a guest post by Dave, the author of the spirited blog of lists, Chop's Top Fives. It contains everything anyone could ever want from a blog post: an atomic-powered bus and a top 5 list to finish. 

Thanks to Dave!

I don’t get to watch enough films. Certainly not enough films that I really want to see. This is, at least partly, to do with having children. My boys are 8 and 11 and generally rule the television remote from early morning until early evening. Once we have got them off to bed, a process that seems to take longer every night and generally involves some level of shouting, heated discussion or basic bribery, we’re left with a slot of about an hour to eat tea and watch something Mrs Top 5 likes. I then have the television all to myself from around 10 o’clock until I fall asleep on the sofa. Recently this has been roughly ten minutes past 10.

We go to the Cinema quite regularly but nearly always with the boys (this is a good thing I realise, I’m not complaining) and therefore only to see the latest family blockbuster. That means it will probably be animated, definitely be in 3D and almost certainly star Ben Stiller.

All this pre-ramble just goes some way to explaining the reasons for the huge number of well known films I haven’t seen (Top Gun, Casablanca and Saving Private Ryan to name just three) and my general poor taste in movies.

Should you spend any time in a pub with me, and if we are to spend time together I highly recommend a pub as the best location (it’s where I’m at my most entertaining), and the conversation turns to film then the chances are I will, at some point, extol the virtues of the 1976 disaster movie spoof The Big Bus.

I love The Big Bus, I think it’s hilarious and can reel of lines of dialogue with little encouragement. However I’m acutely aware that I’m in a small minority with this opinion. I’ve recommended this film to a lot of my friends. This has not always worked out particularly well. In fact I only know one other person in the world who likes The Big Bus as much as me and we saw it for the first time the same weekend and have traded jokes from it at regular intervals ever since. Everyone else thinks it’s shit.

I watched it recently with my two boys. I thought this might broaden their film tastes and provide us with more opportunity to watch something other than an episode of “The Amazing World of Gumball” or “Johnny Test” for the 37th time. We lasted 25 minutes before they made me turn it off.

To be fair, it does start quite slowly. If you’re prepared to give it a chance (or are just happy to skip the first half-an-hour) I think you’ll find it’s worth your time. You might also want to consider having copious amounts of alcohol on hand to help you through the dull bits. With this in mind, and because I struggle to write competently in any other form, here’s a top five of my favourite moments.

1. “Quick, raise the flags of all nations” – The main star of the film is the Bus of the title. A nuclear powered bus, called Cyclops, which is equipped with all the conveniences you’d expect from modern travel; A bowling alley, a swimming pool, a formal dining room, a piano bar, and the flags of all nations. The climax of the film sees a bomb go off (I’m not spoiling anything by telling you this) and the drivers fighting to regain control as Cyclops weaves it’s way through mountain roads. The flags of many nations are their last ditch attempt to slow the bus down.

2. “Why do they call you shoulders?” – The Bus is driving non-stop from New York to Denver so needs two drivers on board. Co-driver "Shoulders" O'Brien has huge shoulders but that’s not where he got his nickname from.

3. "Eat one lousy foot and they call you a cannibal" – Lead driver Dan Torrance had been accused of saving his own life by eating all of his passengers when a previous Bus he drove crashed at the top of Mount Diablo. He spends most of the film claiming he survived by eating the seats and it was his co-driver who ate the passengers, but finally breaks down at a formal meal to celebrate the Bi-Centenary.

4. “Look out he’s got a broken milk carton” – Before being recruited to join the crew Torrance is down on his luck and shunned by his fellow bus drivers. A fight breaks out in a bar and the weapons of choice are a cardboard milk carton and a broken candle stick.

5. “Welcome to the oriental bar” – The piano bar sits on the top deck of the bus with panoramic views of the surrounding country. The bar sees various passengers drowning their sorrows whilst the pianist sings inappropriate tunes.

I’m not sure I’ve done a great job of selling the film. Reading back what I’ve written doesn’t make it sound very funny, yet I’ve been chuckling to myself throughout.

If you do watch this movie, please don’t hate me afterwards.

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