February 24, 2013
Kurt Russell, Jack
Warden, and Deborah Harmon
"These prices are too fucking high!"
Used Cars is a fun little movie to write about because I am
guessing that 90% of the people who are reading this countdown have
never even heard of it before. Hell, I only heard about it
the first time about nine years ago, and that is amazing considering
the fact that it is A) from the 80's, B) a comedy, C) a really funny
comedy with a
huge fanbase from the 80's, and that D) I actually grew up in
the 80's. I
remember seeing Used Cars for the first time around 2004, and
remember thinking it was hilarious. And then I remember
how is possible that I never heard of a movie that
was this funny when I
was growing up in the 80's?
By the way, it's not a family movie
you have never heard of Used Cars before, it stars Kurt Russell and it
came out in the summer of 1980. And it would be much better
known today, and it would have made a buttload more money than it
actually did, and it would
have become much more popular and beloved than it actually did,
if it would have been
released at any other point in the decade.
summer of 1980 was the WORST possible time for a movie like this to
have been released in the theaters. Because, well, Airplane
came out the exact same week. And Airplane is widely
considered to be one of the funniest
movies, if not THE funniest movie, of the 80's.
Used Cars came out in July of 1980. Airplane also came out
in July of 1980. And guess which one made all the money and
everyone went to see?
Here's a hint. There is a reason you have probably never seen
Used Cars before.
Used Cars is the story of a pair of brothers who own
used car dealerships right across the street from one another.
They are named the Fuchs Brothers and they are both played by
Jack Warden. And naturally, since this is a comedy, one of
brothers is a nice kindly old man (Luke Fuchs), and the other brother
potty-mouthed mean nasty son of a bitch (Roy L. Fuchs).
Luke Fuchs and Roy L. Fuchs
isn't much of a plot to Used Cars. It is basically just the
of how the mean nasty brother (Roy L.) is trying to steal the
and the customer base from the nicer brother (Luke). Because,
you see, Roy L. has learned from a political insider friend that a new
freeway overpass is about to be put in right across the street.
And he knows that Luke's dealership (New Deal Used Cars) is
going to be the optimal place
to sell cars once that overpass goes in.
Roy L. knows that overpass is going to be built in the future, and he
wants that location.
Roy L. plotting how to steal his brother's dealership
of Used Cars is made up of Roy L. Fuchs trying every dirty trick in the
book to steal that business from his brother. He just runs
around like a maniac, pulling off schemes and tricks and scams like a
motherfucker. He tries to get his brother arrested.
He tries to get his brother's business dissolved.
Heck, at one point he actually even attempts to
However, Roy L. is never quite successful at getting
what he wants.
Because there is one man across the street who always seems
to be standing in
The Commander Snake Plissken
Kurt Russell plays a "heroic" used car salesman named Rudy Russo.
And he happens to be the #1 salesman at New Deal Used Cars.
despite the fact that he is an unethical sleazy lying son of a
bitch who would lie to you to scam you out of your grandmother's
funeral money (pretty much like all used car salesmen), he also happens
to love his
job. And he also happens to love working for Luke Fuchs.
needs to stay here at this job until he can raise 5,000 more
dollars so that he can run
for the senate.
Needless to say, the movie eventually breaks
down into a war between Roy L. Fuchs and Rudy Russo to see which one
outwit the other one. Which one can be the sneakiest nastiest
of a bitch. Which one will gain control of the land where New
Deal Used Cars currently sits.
And, uh, it gets pretty memorable.
Cars is one of those comedies that only could have been made in the
late 70's. Because it is pretty much the opposite of a family
friendly comedy. This is one of those comedies from the late
(like the Kentucky Fried Movie) that is just out of control.
the profanity and the characters having a complete lack of ethics, to
the dark humor and the gratuitous nudity, this is one of those movies
that I am shocked wasn't
a bigger deal in the 80's. Because if you like comedy, it
really has a little bit of
everything. You know the dead guy who people pretend isn't
in Weekend at Bernie's? You know the dead dog tied to the
the car in National Lampoon's Vacation? Well Used Cars did
of those jokes first.
Also, Used Cars has Lenny and Squiggy. It also has way more
I watched Used Cars for the first time
in 2004, and I was just stunned that I had never heard of it before.
mean, how can a movie THIS wild and THIS funny (and starring Kurt
Russell!) never have made much of
an impact in the world of 80's comedy movies? It is just
only explanation I can possibly come up with (aside from the obvious
Airplane cockblock) was that it came out in 1980,
which was about two years before everyone starting buying VCRs and
rewatching their favorites comedies over and over.
Cars is one of those movies that came out about two years too soon.
Had it come out two years later, around the time of Vacation
Ghostbusters, I have no doubt that it is one of those movies that
people would still be
talking about today. However, that didn't happen.
released in 1980, it bombed big time at the box office, and then
lounged in video store obscurity while all the other awesome comedies
of its era developed a fan base.
Even though the dead dog scene makes me laugh every time I watch it
By the way, I should probably tell you about the first time I ever
heard about Used Cars.
is kind of a weird and personal story to be sharing on a website, but
hey, people generally read my stuff because they like the honesty.
goes. Nobody ever said that I keep secrets from you guys.
first heard about Used Cars the night of my mother's funeral.
mom passed away in 2004 after a year long battle with cancer.
naturally, the day of the funeral was very sad. And then
was over my relatives just kind of hung around my dad's house
everyone was bummed and sad.
Well at some point during the evening I
figured that my mom wouldn't want everyone to just sit around the house
sad. Because she wasn't a very sad person. She
liked it when people
laughing and having fun. Heck, my mom's favorite movie scene
of all time
the cowboys sitting around the campfire and farting in Blazing Saddles.
So I suggested to my dad that maybe I rent a movie or
something and it
would cheer everyone up.
"How about Used Cars?" suggested my Uncle David.
Huh? I had never heard of Used Cars before. What
the heck was Used Cars?
can you claim to be the movie guy if you have never seen Used Cars
before?" my uncle chastised me. "It's easily the funniest
ever made. It's only my all time favorite movie."
Used Cars? The funniest movie ever? How come I had
never heard of this before?
anyway, that's how we watched Used Cars the night of my
mother's funeral. And I am guessing that mom would have been
happy that we did. Because I remember watching it with my
uncle and we were just laughing our butts off.
And so there you go. Used Cars. A comedy that has
presence in the world of movies whatsoever, but the people who know
about it and love it REALLY love it. And yes, I know it is
30 years too late, but one of those people is finally me.
one of my favorite comedies of the 80's.
wish I had known about it twenty years ago but, hey, you can't have
everything in the world. There is a probably a very good
my parents didn't want me to watch it when I was a kid.
Probably because of what happens about ten seconds after this
By the way, before I sign off, I should point out that
Used Cars was made by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale. If you
heard of those names before, it is because they also made Back to the
Future. Robert Zemeckis also directed Forrest Gump
other stuff). He is a very well respected name in the world
Well five years before he wrote and directed Back to the Future, Robert
Zemeckis wrote and directed Used Cars.
To this day, it is the only R rated movie he has ever made.
It is also the only movie he has ever made featuring a really awesome
trained beagle (Toby)
If you like R rated comedies, you will like Used Cars. If you
like Kurt Russell movies, you will like Used Cars. I mean,
personally, Rudy Russo is my all time favorite Kurt Russell
character. This was one of the first comedies he
ever did, and he was born for this role.
Heck, if you like movies that feature El Guapo (Alfonso Arau) other
than Three Amigos, you will love Used Cars. It is funny to
see him running around in Used Cars and not doing El Guapo things.
Before seeing Used Cars, I had no idea that the feared and
infamous bandito El Guapo often emphasized a point by grabbing his
In the end, Used Cars is a movie that I would recommend to just about
anyone who likes comedy movies. It's not really family
friendly at all, but hey it's a comedy, so who cares? If you
want family friendly go watch Willow. Used Cars is a
hilarious movie that should have a much bigger standing
among 80's comedies than it currently does.
So let's get on that and let's get the word out.
"This car is so you. Mrs. Lopez, do you realize that your
hair matches the color of the tires?"
favorite IMDB user reviews about Used Cars:
Toby would want you to
watch this movie. - 7 April 1999
time I watched this movie the pain from laughing was too much. The
second time, it still hurt. Just watched it the other night for the nth
time, and it still hurt.
This movie will make you laugh. Trust me.
Plain hilarious - 2 April
of the funniest movies ever made. I remember watching it on video in
the early '80s and expected something really bad (from the cover on the
video cassette). There was a movie released around the same time called
GAS, which was awful, awful, awful. I saw Used Cars after GAS and
expected the worst. And Used Cars is STILL as funny as ever. Perhaps
even funnier now (and interesting to note that Kurt Russell really
displays great comic timing in this, and it is director Robert
Zemeckis' only R-rated film). Zemeckis was one naughty school boy with
this film, and those expecting something along the order of Forrest
Gump, Back to the Future or Castaway will be in for a surprise! If
you're a fan, get the DVD - the commentary with Russell and Zemeckis
and screenwriter Bob Gale is priceless. I think they were drinking a
little when they did the commentary. It is one of the most entertaining
commentaries I have heard.
A classic in bad taste, in the best Mel Brooks and Farrelly Brothers
fashion--and 50 bucks never killed anyone!
Kurt Russell, Gerritt
Graham, Frank McRae and Lenny & Squiggy sell cars. - 26 April
Quite simply, the funniest film ever made. Period. Bar none.
Zemeckis' best film. It's Russell's best performance. Twisted,
gutbustingly hilarious. Never has a movie made me laugher harder,
longer and with such force. I've seen it over a hundred times and just
keeps getting funnier.
Timeless - 27 October 2003
is one of the funniest movies of all time. I saw it when it hit the
theaters in 1980 and I bought it on videotape when I first saw it in
the store. After seeing it more than just a few times over the years, I
must say that it still keeps me rolling in laughter every time I see
it. Until the automobile industry catches up with the electronics
industry in making disposable cars (resulting in the inevitable demise
of the used car salesman) this movie will maintain its own with its
timeless humor. With the possible exception of his role in "Tombstone",
this has to be the best role that Kurt Russell has ever done.
Damned Crazy Stuff - 11
because it's been at least ten years since I last saw any part of this
movie won't keep me from writing this review. Russell is hot shot
salesman for Nice Jack Warden, who operates car dealership out in the
desert across from his brother and rival Evil Jack Warden. Russell and
his cohorts try and conceal Nice Jack's death (in hilarious fashion)
from Evil Jack, the potential heir. Then an unexpected heir arrives to
make things really interesting... You can look at this two ways - a TV
sitcom with moments of high absurdity, or a hilarious movie that
occasionally gets too silly. I prefer the latter characterization but
can't argue against the former. Russell is great as the conniving
salesman and Graham is fun as his overly-superstitious friend, but
Warden is at least as good as either in his dual role. Scene where the
good guys blow up Evil Jack's cars in live TV spot is a moment of comic
brilliance. "Those prices are too ----ing high!!"
A perfectly good dark
comedy -- my personal favorite! - 3 April 1999
Yeah, it's a sleeper. No one's ever heard of it. But that doesn't make
it bad... in fact, it's my personal favorite movie.
Russell plays a sneaky used car salesman, in 1979-80. It's a dark
about two competing car lots, complete with sex, action, and a good
soundtrack (for the time).
I definitely wouldn't mind seeing some car lots using the commercials
they did, nor would I mind... well, I'll let you see it.
favorite trivia about Used Cars:
* According to Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, the film's release was
botched by the studio. The film tested extremely well in previews and
Columbia Pictures pushed the film out of its original late-August
release date to mid-summer with little publicity and poor advertising.
The film only played across half the United States rather than
receiving a true wide-theatrical release and consequently flopped upon
* If you look closely, the T-Birds' white convertible and the
Scorpions' black Mercury with flames (both from Grease) are
two of the
cars that Rudy Russo palms off on the drivers ed. teacher.
* When Rudy (Kurt Russell) comes home from his promotional car spot
with the hookers, he makes a nod to the statue of rock-and-roll legend
Elvis Presley that's sitting on his dresser. Russell began his film
career with a cameo in Presley's It Happened at the World's Fair, and
later portrayed Elvis in Elvis. He also played an Elvis impersonator
two decades later in 3000 Miles to Graceland.
* The scene where Rudy's commercial in the parking lot of the football
game was re-shot because Columbia Pictures executives were appalled by
the "Dicknose" glasses that Gerrit Graham wore in the scene. Snippets
of it could be scene in the final cut of the film when Kurt Russell
holds the glasses at the camera for an instant as his scenes were not
* At the football game when Michael McKean and David L. Lander hack the
satellite, just before the camera comes on you can see the two original
"penis noses" in a box. These were the original gags for Gerritt Graham
and Kurt Russell, but Columbia executives put the kibosh on those gags,
replacing them with bouncing eyeball glasses.
* In the scene where Roy Fuchs (Jack Warden) walks up to Rudy (Kurt
Russell) and Jeff (Gerrit Graham) as they're finishing shoveling dirt
over the spot where they buried Luke, Graham didn't have any lines and
kept pestering Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale for lines. Finally, he just
decides to repeat whatever Russell said to Warden. Apparently Warden
was unaware of what Graham was doing, thus his line "What're you? A
fuckin' parrot?". It was Warden's genuine annoyance at Graham, which
worked so well in the scene that it was included in the final cut.
* According to Bob Gale in the Commentary, producer Steven Spielberg
was appalled by Rudy's line about President Jimmy Carter: "Hey, he
fucks with us..." Spielberg was a supporter of Carter. Robert Zemeckis
and Gale refused to remove the line because where they came from (Gale
is from Missouri and Zemeckis is from Chicago) politicians
are in their opinion corrupt.
* The reason Used Cars was made at Columbia Pictures was because
Uinversal Pictures passed on it, but the head of Columbia had once sold
cars, and he understood it right away.
* Jack Warden initially rejected the role of Roy L. Fuchs. Later,
Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale were told by an acquaintance that all
actors like to do two things: they like to play dead and they
like to perform two roles in the same film. Gale and Zemeckis then
re-offered the movie to Warden with these two stipulations,
and he accepted.
favorite scene in Used Cars:
The scene where Garrit Graham cons a family into buying a car by
pretending they ran over his dog is awesome. And I will never
not laugh at "These prices are too fucking high! *KABOOM*" on
live TV. I really do wish more people knew about
this movie. My Uncle David was right.
the way my wife would like me to point out that Toby the Beagle is
hilarious. She wishes our dog was that awesome.
at the IMDB
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