In Eat My Dust, Ron Howard plays Hoover Neibold, the son of the local sheriff, who desperately wants two things out of life. First, he wants to be a stock car racer. Second, he wants to score with the hottest girl in school. Unfortunately, the only headway he’s made in becoming a racer is that he’s read every magazine on racing he could get his hands on, and the only progress he’s made with the girl is that…well, he hasn’t made any. That is, he hadn’t made any until he ran into her at the stock car races and started talking to her. Turns out though, she wouldn’t give him the time of day unless he took her for a joyride in a real race car, and the car she picked just happened to belong to the champion, Big Bubba Jones (Dave Madden). After making some small talk with Big Bubba, Bubba’s called away for a few moments. Hoover siezes the opportunity. He jumps in the car, picks up the girl and several of his friends and goes flying off the track and down the road.
The rest of the film is mostly one long car chase with bits of story thrown in here and there about his father sending deputies out to catch him and finally, when that fails, enlisting the aid of Big Bubba’s stock car buddies. Will Hoover get the girl in the end? Well, if you fast forward through all the car chase scenes, you’ll find out a whole lot faster.
I’ve come up with a new term for films like this. I call them 10 & 5’s. Why? Because you can watch the first 10 minutes, which establishes the story, and then fast forward through the whole thing, stopping to watch the last five minutes for the conclusion, and you won’t really have missed all that much in between. I mean sure there’s stuff that goes on in between, but about 65% of this movie consists of car chase scenes, and really once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say this is a bad film. The acting is quite good all around, the characters are mostly likeable, except for the girl who’s really just out to use Hoover for a thrill ride and that’s it.
The car chases are quite good as well, but as I said, once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Roger Corman made several films like this, and they just become tedious after a while. Still, even as tedious as it was, I can’t say it was bad. It did have some nice elements of humor, and it does take you back to a simpler time, which is always nice. I will warn you about one thing though. There’s a big section at the beginning of the movie that takes place at the race track during a race, and the whole time the announcer is announcing it over the P.A. system. The voice is horrifically mid-rangey and harsh and tends to dominate all the other sound when he’s talking. You’ll probably want to start with your volume lower during this portion of the film and then adjust it up to where it’s comfortable just because of the harshness of it.
This film is the first film on the double feature Ron Howard Action Pack Roger Corman Collection release from Shout Factory. They always do a spectacular job with their releases, and this one is no exception. It’s loaded with special features, inlcuding commentaries and interviews, and the transfer looks quite good.
This film isn’t anywhere near as good as the second film in the pack, Grand Theft Auto, but it isn’t bad, and is definitely worth watching at least once or twice.
If you’d like to find out more about this release or pick yourself up a copy, you can check out all of Shout Factory’s great Roger Corman Collection releases here.