Ahh, 1975. A lot of exciting stuff happened in 1975. The first home version of Pong was released, Japanese soldier Teruo Nakamura finally stopped fighting WWII and on March 24th 749 billion Americans huddled around their televisions and watched the exciting adventures of Bo Hopkins and Tim Matheson on The Runaway Barge!
Coming in at only 72 minutes they had to pack in their adventures pretty quick. First off you got some bootleggers secretly unloading a barge full of sugar, then Tim Matheson (and his "hippie" hair) reports for his first day of work on a huge barge called the "River King". His new co-workers are a whiley bunch they include the guy from the engine room who literally screams all of his lines right in the other people's faces, James Best best known as "Rosco P. Coltrane, Jim "Jock Ewing" Davis as the captain and Lucille Benson who starred in a bunch of TV shows. Then he meets Bo Hopkins who talks nonstop for the rest of the movie.
Bo finds out that the chick he's screwing is bangin' another guy so he takes Tim onshore to straighten this shit out. Naturally the chick has an attractive friend and she instantly falls for the dreamy Tim. Right about the time he's about to knock out the pussy he looks up and the River King is going down the river without them!!! Naturally they get on a gold motorcycle with a sidecar and race off after the barge. Along the way they talk some shit to the other guy Bo's girlfriend is screwing, Nick Nolte.
They race along the road (and off the road) and right when they get to a place where they can cut off the River King they run smack dab into the bootleggers! They get locked up in a shed and right before Nick fucking Nolte (he's the leader of the bootleggers) can kill them Bo Hopkins girlfriend (who has really long hair BTW) breaks them out and everybody starts chasing each other around in the dark. Well ol' Bo and Tim end up on a barge and untie it and start floating down the river to escape. They do, but while celebrating they realize the barge is full up with chlorine. Oh shit. I guess barges don't have anchors or radios or anything cause Tim and Bo just stand there and talk about how they're going to die when the barge hits the dam downriver. Then suddenly right before the barge crashes a little bitty tug boat, driven by the River King captain, whips in and stops them. He then leads out the window and starts talking shit about Tim's hair. The End.
Strangely enough I actually enjoyed the movie. From beginning to end it was always going forward so I never had time to get bored. If you can find a copy and you enjoy cheesy 70's made-for-TV movie I say go for it! It's not going to change your life, but you'll get a few good chuckles out of it.
For more 1975 TV weirdness check out THE WEREWOLF OF WOODSTOCK!