Blu-ray Review: Let It Ride

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Let It Ride is one of those obscure comedies from the ‘80s that I’d never heard of, but would’ve bet on being decent simply because of the always wonderful Richard Dreyfuss; but just like what happens with most of the characters within the film, I would’ve lost that bet. The movie is based off the novel “Good Vibes” by Jay Cronley, which apparently is almost identical in every way to this adaptation by Nancy Dowd (who was credited as Ernest Morton.) All that really tells me is that it’s a book I wouldn’t enjoy either.

The main issue with the film is that there’s no real conflict. Dreyfuss stars as habitual gambler Jay Trotter, who begins the film at a bar with his wife, Pam (Teri Garr) with each saying things they’ll work on to improve their crumbling marriage.  One for Trotter is that he’ll stop gambling. It’s a brief scene that ends in a fight, but it does a good job of showing where these two are at in their relationship without dwelling on it too much. It’s all downhill from there. Trotter’s best friend, Looney (David Johansen) is a cab driver who likes to tape his passengers and listen to them when they think he can’t hear what they’re saying. When trying to play a sexual conversation between two passengers to Trotter, Looney rewinds the tape to a conversation about a “sure thing” at the racetrack which catches Trotter’s attention.

He goes with Looney to their usual bar next to the track and looks around at the dejected faces in the room, realizing that if he continues on this road that the misery he sees around him is his future. He goes to the washroom and prays to God to give him just one good day, and that he’s due. Then he’ll give it all up. He then goes and places a $50 bet on the “sure thing” horse, which indeed was a sure thing. He wins big, but instead of calling it a day he gets wrapped up in the racetrack environment, filled with various wacky characters and continuing to bet his winnings.

I kept waiting for something to happen, or some sort of conflict to arise, but nothing ever really did. I’m sure one could argue that Trotter has to realize that he must choose his marriage over continuing to bet – and at one point he does – but when he gets home his wife has drank herself unconscious due to her frustration with him, so he puts aside the expensive gift he bought her and goes back to the track.

Add on the fact that no matter what happens Trotter just keeps winning and it simply feels like there’s nothing that he’s truly learning throughout all of this. Sure he says he loves his wife a ways into the movie, but that’s how we started the film as well, with them trying to fix their marriage, so we already knew that. Plus, she randomly just forgives him for everything in the final moments, so if anything Trotter just gets everything he wants and more because he put aside his promise to change and continued on with his bad habits for one day longer.

Let It Ride is just an odd movie that’s bizarrely paced, even at just 90-minutes in length. It doesn’t feel long, it just has no true structure that allows the viewer to feel that anything is really changing. We’re just watching Trotter have a “really good day” for an hour and a half and then the movie is over. It’s unfortunate, as there is an inkling of a story here that could work and the talent involved is entirely capable of telling it, but the script is just a complete misfire. The film is sure to have some fans, so they’ll be happy to learn of it getting the Blu-ray treatment; however, for everyone else you’re better off gambling your time elsewhere.

Blu-ray Video and Audio Review

Let It Ride gets the 1080p treatment here, and visually it looks really good. The colours pop nicely, the characters and detail looks strong, and the film’s ‘dreamy’ vibe and tone is highlighted nicely visually. There aren’t any scenes that suffer from heavy grain, and as a whole this is just a really nice and clean transfer for fans of the film.

On the audio side of things we’ve got a DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio that sounds great. The score comes through nicely, as does the dialogue and sound effects. Once again, those who enjoy the movie will definitely be happy with what’s being offered here, and that’s really all that matters.

Special Features

Behind the Scenes Featurette – This is just a quick fluff piece that’s under four minutes in length and just sees the cast talking about their characters and cracking a few jokes.

Paramount Pictures Presents Let It Ride. Directed by: Joe Pytka. Written by: Nancy Dowd. Based on the Novel by: Jay Cronley. Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, Teri Garr, David Johansen, Jennifer Tilly, Robbie Coltrane. Running time: 90 minutes. Rating: G. Blu-ray Released: April 5, 2022.

Brendan Campbell was here when Inside Pulse Movies began, and he’ll be here when it finishes - in 2012, when a cataclysmic event wipes out the servers, as well as everyone else on the planet other than John Cusack and those close to him. Brendan’s the #1 supporter of Keanu Reeves, a huge fan of popcorn flicks and a firm believer that sheer entertainment can take a film a long way. He currently resides in Canada, where, for reasons stated above, he’s attempting to get closer to John Cusack.