Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Live and Let Die, Bandit!

At first glance, Live and Let Die, in which Roger Moore debuted as Bond, shares nothing with Burt Reynold's car chase flick, Smokey and the Bandit. Upon closer examination, one discovers that the two movies are as intertwined as Siamese twins.

First, the role of Bond. After Diamonds Are Forever, the 007 franchise was looking for Connery's replacement. Burt Reynolds was on the very short list of candidates. Rumor has it he turned down the part because he did not believe an American should play the role. Consequently, Roger Moore took over as James Bond from Live and Let Die (1973) to A View to A Kill (1985). Reynolds could have very well starred alongside Jane Seymour in the tarot/voodoo caper.

The other commonality is the Southern cop as comic relief. There is no doubt in my mind that J.W. Pepper was the prototype for Jackie Gleason's Buford T. Justice.

So how do these characters match up against each other? Let's see. An (x) denotes the winner in each category.

Moore v. Reynolds
Roger Moore
Occupation: British secret agent (x)
Leading lady : Jane Seymour (x)
Vehicle of choice : Double decker bus
Drink of choice : Bourbon and water (x)
Co-worker/buddy : Felix Leiter
Goal: Break int'l heroin ring (x)
Anthem : Wing's Live and Let Die
Derogatory nickname: Honkie

Burt Reynolds
Occupation: Truck driver?
Leading lady: Sally Field
Vehicle of choice: Black Trans Am (x)
Drink of choice: Coors
Co-worker/buddy: Cledus Snow (x)
Goal: Transport beer
Anthem: Reed's Eastbound and Down (x)
Derogatory nickname: Sumbitch (x)

Score: 4-4 tie. Both characters are formidable and can hold their own.

Pepper v. Justice
J.W. Pepper
Occupation : Portly Louisiana sheriff (x)
Exclamation: "What the fu...?!"
Favorite food: Chaw
Roof damage : Roof crushed in
Door damage : Falls off upon opening
Face when mad : Pinkish hue

Buford T. Justice
Occupation: Portly Texas sheriff (x)
Exclamation: "Oof...." (x)
Favorite food: Diablo sandwich (x)
Roof damage : Roof lopped off (x)
Door damage : Taken out by Asian trucker (x)
Face when mad: Beet red (x)
Score: 6-1. Pepper was the first, but Justice was an icon.


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