Eat My Dust: Supercharged Edition – DVD Review

DVD available at Amazon.com

Director:
Charles B. Griffith

Cast:
Ron Howard….Hoover Niebold
Christopher Norris….Darlene Kurtz
David Madden….Big Bubba Jones
Clint Howard….George Poole Jr.
Warren J. Kemmerling…Sheriff Niebold
Paul Bartel….Bruno Smith
Corbin Bernsen….Roy Puire

Buena Vista Home Entertainment presents Eat My Dust: Supercharged Edition. Screenplay by Charles B. Griffith. Running time: 89 minutes. Rated PG. Theatrical release: April, 1976. DVD released Sept. 25, 2007.

The Movie

Before Ron Howard sold out to the little golden man called Oscar, he had a blossoming career as the Prince of the Drive In. Before he waxed poetically about A Beautiful Mind, Ron told America to Eat My Dust! He went against his image as the good son found in the roles of Richie Cunningham and Opie Taylor. Ron wanted America’s teens to realize that he could be a bad boy like Peter Fonda. With a civil war cap and a stolen stock car, he was no longer a nerd. He’d be cool like the Fonz.

Ron plays Hoover Niebold, a rebel stuck with the dead end job of refilling towels in gas public bathrooms. He dreams of speed which isn’t good since his father is the local sheriff. Instead of being ashamed when he gets pulled for breaking the law, Hoover proudly waves his speeding tickets at dad. He smuggles his group of pals into a local race track as his assistants. In case you’ve missed out, Hoover’s not Richie or Opie. He’s a rebel.

Unfortunately, because he’s stuck with a horrible name and the body of Ron Howard, Hoover can’t get any lady action. Even Clint Howard has better luck getting hooked up. Hoover gets blown away by a blonde in a pair of yellow hotpants and white platform boots. He invites her for a ride. She’ll go for a road trip with him, but only in the winning stock car. Hoover can’t refuse the offer. He hijacks the bright orange stock car with an 8 ball decal, grabs the blond and goes for the ride of his life across Puckerbush County. When she moans for him to go faster, the pedal hits the metal. He’s a bad boy ready to give his woman what she needs.

Eat My Dust has a proper title since the screen is covered in dust kicked up by the various cars. The toughest job on the crew had to be the camera assistant in charge of cleaning the lens. For a low budget Corman production, the chase scenes rival any Burt Reynolds’ spectacular. They keep the action coming without playing it safe. Plenty of wrecking and near misses all over the roads. There’s a great stunt where a police car rips the front off a Chinese restaurant. They have a little fun in editing when the stock car goes into reverse in the middle of a jump. It’s not a lofty film begging for an Award at the Kodak Theatre.

Forget all the hype from Quentin Tarantino about how Death Proof was an homage to the exploitation films about car chases. Eat My Dust is over by the time Tarantino finally gets to his big car chase with Zoe Bell hanging from the hood in the expanded edition. There’s no idle chatter in Eat My Dust. The automotive disasters just keeps piling up like the charges against Hoover. This is exploitation cream even if they didn’t dangle Clint Howard from the hood.

Sitcom fans will get a buzz from realizing the stock car is owned by David Madden. He’s best known as Reuben Kincaid on The Partridge Family. What is it about Mr. Kincaid that brings out the brat in redheaded child actors? He does a great job playing a Cale Yarborough-like character. You almost think he can drive shift.

Eat My Dust is pure youth rebellion as the characters don’t care what’s going to end up in the permanent record. They want the pure adrenaline rush without any consequences. While the sight of Opie being a bad boy might elicit laughs at the trailer, after this cross country pursuit, you’ll believe he’s got a true wild streak in that red hair. Perhaps soon Ron will cast aside all those noble projects and get back to giving America what it needs: tire squealing excitement.

The DVD

VIDEO:

Why is the picture is 1.33:1 full screen? At least that means we get more footage of the road during the chases. Most of the dirt seems to be on the lens and not the film.

AUDIO:

The soundtrack is in Dolby Digital Mono 2.0. The subtitles are in English, French and Spanish.

EXTRAS:

Introduction by Roger Corman (0:48) has the B-movie master explain how he made a mint off this film.

How to Crash on a Dime (9:33) reunites Tina Hirsch, editor, Eric Saarinen director photography and actress Christopher Norris to discuss how this low budget film became epic. Saarinen points out what went wrong on the stunts. They expose what inspired the surreal “reverse” stunt. Norris became a fan of seatbelts after the shoot.

The Original Trailer (1:03) lets us know that Ron Howard is no longer TV’s ultimate good boy. He’s a lead foot menace to society.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for
Eat My Dust: Supercharged Edition
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE MOVIE

8
THE VIDEO

8
THE AUDIO

8
THE EXTRAS

5
REPLAY VALUE

8
OVERALL
8
(NOT AN AVERAGE)

The Inside Pulse
As Eddie Murphy would say, “Opie Cunningham’s bad!”