Tuesday, October 26, 2021
Originally broadcast on December 3, 1976 as The ABC Friday Night Movie, SMASH-UP ON INTERSTATE 5 was viewed in 19.8 million homes and it's easy to see why cause it's kinda dope! The drama starts out immediately with highway patrolman Robert Conrad pursuing a murder suspect down a busy Southern California highway. Then before you can say "Somebody should make a good version of Squid Game." there's cars crashing all over the place, people flying through the air, explosions, fire. Thirty-nine vehicles, 62 injured and 14 killed. That's the raw statistics, but what about the human cost? The lost loved-ones and destroyed dreams. The broken hearts and injured bodies. All because some motherfucker can't drive for shit. Well, hold on to your butts cuz we're about to rewind the clock 48 hours and find out more about the victims of...the smash-up on Interstate 5! 5...5...5...5 [imagine an echo effect here]
So you already know about how lone cop Robert Conrad was chasing a murder suspect down the highway in the opening scene, but in the flashback we see that he used to have a cop buddy (Tommy Lee Jones) who was suspiciously absent in the pursuit of the murder suspect. I'm sure nobody will be able to unravel that bit of foreshadowing. Naturally, Jones' wife is pregnant as fuck and about to bust. We also catch up with lonely Vera Miles who's meeting a friend at a sleazy disco populated with horny swingers. One especially pushy doctor is hellbent on pitching woo and slinging ding-a-ling with Miles, but she's so repulsed by his pre-Austin Powers sexual advances that she leaves town! Bad idea, because she runs out of gas and is immediately attacked on the side of the road by Lolita herself (Sue Lyon) and about to get gang raped by Lolita's biker gang when trucker David Groh rolls up and starts smashing people with a lead pipe! There's also storylines featuring Harriet Nelson, Buddy Ebsen, Scott Jacoby, Donna Mills and others but I don't want to give it all away.
SMASH-UP ON INTERSTATE 5 might just be an old TV movie that nobody cares about, but I'm a worthless nobody and I enjoyed the fuck out it. It's a neat time capsule back to mid-1970's television. Lots of familiar faces, tons of vintage cars, quick pace, impressive stunts, a van that's "Rated X", good acting, some gnarly car wrecks plus an interesting use of flashbacks. Check it out.
[This has nothing to do with the review. I just wanted to leave a note reminding my future-self that I composed and typed out this entire review using only my right hand because old lady cat, Susie, is using my left arm as a pillow. I love her very much.]