Trash or Treasure – Volume 9

Dukes of Hazzard

This week on Trash or Treasure I had some technical difficulties, so here we are watching 2005’s Dukes of Hazzard. This film, starring Stifler from American Pie, that one dude from Jackass (no not that one), and the woman who ruined “These Boots Were Made for Walking”, is about the three Duke cousins as they tear up Hazzard county to the chagrin of Boss Hogg. The TV show, while questionable in its stance on race, was decent enough and I had heard only mediocre things about this film. It came through when I was in a desperate bind for a film, so it can’t be that bad right?

The film opens with calming narration telling us about Hazzard County. Lucky for those of us who thought we accidentally switched to PBS, we are quickly introduced to the Duke boys played by two very washed-up looking actors. Seann William Scott and Johnny Knoxville were only 29 and 34 (as IMDb informs me) when the film came out, yet look as if their careers are preparing to careen off the road, much as The General does quite often throughout this film. Anyways, the film finds itself in questionable territory only 3 minutes in when Luke Duke (Knoxville) sneaks into his girlfriend of questionable age’s house while the father is away, only for the father to come back while they’re fucking around.

Ah yes, a tale as old as time.

The Duke boys make their escape on perfectly sculpted backwoods roads and find themselves in more narration. I never thought a film about two backwoods car drivers would have some much calm and soothing narration. Anyways the two chuckleheads (their nickname, not mine) get their car impossibly stuck between two dump trucks which they abandon for an expositional scene at a bar. Luckily they fill the exposition with Jessica Simpson kicking some ass while wearing Daisy Dukes, so I forgive the filmmaker, I guess.

Forgiven…for now.

There’s some not totally uncalled for incest jokes followed by a pretty cool fight scene set to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Call Me the Breeze”. If there’s one thing this film did correct, it’s the soundtrack. We follow up the scene with an introduction to the villain Sheriff Rosco who gives them some more exposition and also Boss Hogg, played by the one and only Burt Reynolds. Honestly, I feel like this film covers up its questionable story with star power, since every time I start paying attention they introduce Jessica Simpson, Burt Reynolds, or Willie Nelson (apparently). Anyways, The General gets destroyed and then there’s something about property seizure.

In case you weren’t sure if the plot was too smart for the movie
Here’s one Duke boy hitting the other with a phonebook.

There’s some more not totally uncalled for incest jokes, the Duke boys galavant off as detectives, and some other expositional things. Here’s the thing: I’ve never seen the TV show, but I can guarantee that it’s got plots nowhere near as smart as this one, and with good reason. It’s supposed to be about going fast, drinking moonshine, all that fun stuff. I don’t need the Duke boys to turn into Sherlock Holmes and Watson every time I start paying attention again. This is further supported when there’s a scene that clearly inspired the end of Fast Five.

One might say the film is shooting a dead turkey.

One explosion and one car chase later, the Duke boys end up in Atlanta in the middle of a race discussion. There’s a prolonged scene where people yell at them in traffic about the Confederate flag on their roof. Who’d have thought this film would be an in depth discussion on the state of race in the South? Fear not, avid terrible movie fan, the next scene has the Duke boys existing on a college campus, which is funny I suppose.

Pictured: humor, I suppose.

They throw all their ideas of race discussion out the window when the Duke boys impersonate two Japanese scientists and wreck up a science department. Don’t worry though, as they make their escape from campus police, there’s even more racial insensitivity. I get that it’s set in the South but holy shit, does this movie pay the toll on making fun of races. The Duke boys, amongst all of this questionable film work, get themselves caught and are only freed when Jessica Simpson shows up in a bikini.

Ah shit, forgiven again, I guess.

The Dukes make another daring escape while some B-plot is resolved and leave the ladies with their friend Sheev, who never wears pants. There’s some plot shenanigans and fourth wall breaking that all involve Jessica Simpson still in a bikini for some reason. I feel like I’m running out of things to write about as I watch this film, since most of the end turns into one long chase scene. There is one questionable part where Daisy Duke seems to be able to appear and disappear at will, as she is at the courthouse one moment and in the refrigerator in another.

Nothing I’ve said has been made up so far.

The film ends, reasonably, with the Dukes both winning the race and saving their town. The race is filled with Willie Nelson throwing molotov cocktails, cars being flipped, and some more Jessica Simpson seducing some more police officers to save the day. To be honest, the race is pretty cool, and looking back on the film I just watched, if the film was just the soundtrack, the chase scenes, and Burt Reynolds, this film would be one of the greatest films I’ve ever watched.

But don’t worry, dear reader, it’s not.

The film, despite the soundtrack, chase scenes, and Burt Reynolds, has a lot of problems. Even if we set asides the racial problems, which is hard to do since there’s a whole lot of racial problems this film has, there’s still some problems with the plot. It’s a complex plot with twists and turns and just doesn’t fit with the Dukes of Hazzard name. So, even though I had a jolly fun time watching it, I can’t recommend the movie.

Sorry Burt Reynolds.