The Dukes of Hazzard (film)

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The Dukes of Hazzard
Dukes of hazzard movie poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jay Chandrasekhar
Produced by Bill Gerber
Screenplay by John O'Brien
Story by John O'Brien
Jonathan L. Davis
Based on Characters 
by Gy Waldron
Starring Johnny Knoxville
Seann William Scott
Jessica Simpson
Burt Reynolds
Willie Nelson
Narrated by Junior Brown
Music by Nathan Barr
Cinematography Lawrence Sher
Edited by Lee Haxall
Myron I. Kerstein
Production
company
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
  • August 5, 2005 (2005-08-05)
Running time 106 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $50 million
Box office $111,069,515

The Dukes of Hazzard is a 2005 American action comedy film based on the American television series of the same name. The film was directed by Jay Chandrasekhar and released on August 5, 2005 by Warner Bros. Pictures. As in the television series, The Dukes of Hazzard depicts the adventures of cousins Bo, Luke, Daisy and their Uncle Jesse as they outfox crooked Hazzard County commissioner Boss Hogg and Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane.

The film was followed by a direct-to-video prequel titled The Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning in 2007. This film was the debut of pop singer Jessica Simpson as an actress. While financially successful, the film was met with negative reviews from critics.

Plot[edit]

Cousins Bo (Seann William Scott), Luke (Johnny Knoxville), and Daisy Duke (Jessica Simpson) run a moonshine business for their Uncle Jesse (Willie Nelson) in the fictional Hazzard County, Georgia in modern day. The cousins' primary mode of transportation is an orange 1969 Dodge Charger that the boys affectionately refer to as 'The General Lee'. Along the way, the family is tormented by corrupt Hazzard County Commissioner Jefferson Davis Hogg, widely known as "Boss Hogg" (Burt Reynolds), and his willing but dimwitted henchman, Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane (M.C. Gainey).

After Rosco has the General Lee wrecked during Bo's attempt at winning his fifth consecutive local road rally, Billy Prickett (James Roday), a famous stock-car driver, enters Hazzard to participate in the rally. Meanwhile, Rosco plants a fake moonshine still ("'cause he's too dumb to find the real one") in Uncle Jesse's barn and seizes the Duke property in the interest of eminent domain for Boss Hogg, forcing the family to temporarily reside with neighbor and Uncle Jesse's love-interest, Pauline (Lynda Carter). Pauline informs the Dukes that Rosco seized another farm on charges so Bo and Luke investigate a local construction site and find geologic core samples with the help of bait-shop owner Sheev (Kevin Heffernan). Meanwhile, Coltrane makes arrangements to seize the General Lee as "evidence" from the local auto body shop run by the Dukes' friend Cooter (David Koechner), who instead turns the car into a hot-rod and applies a new paint job and horn, in return for finally getting payment for all the work he has done ("...'cause that's how this works...") for the boys in the past.

Sheriff's car at location in Thousand Oaks, California

After retrieving the General Lee before Rosco can, the Dukes go to Atlanta to visit a local university geology lab, meeting up with Katie-Lynn Johnson (Nikki Griffin), a Hazzard county girl and the Dukes' love interest, and her Australian roommate Annette (Jacqui Maxwell). At the lab, they discover Boss Hogg's intentions of turning the county into a strip coalmine. They are later arrested by Atlanta Police after running from campus police. Back in Hazzard, Daisy learns, with the help of Sheriff Deputy Enos Strate (Michael Weston), that Billy Prickett has been hired by Boss Hogg to participate in the Rally as a ringer. Boss Hogg then heads to Atlanta where he informs the Duke boys, in lock-up, that they are too late to stop him and reveals that the vote on Hogg's proposition is at the same time as the rally, explaining Billy Prickett's involvement. During a transfer from detainment, Daisy helps the boys escape from the patrol car and they speed home to try to inform the townsfolk, escaping Atlanta Police, and the Georgia State Patrol after Bo out-maneuvers the city cops.

Upon returning home, the Dukes discover that Rosco has taken Uncle Jesse and Pauline hostage, an obvious trap for the boys, and that Billy is in on the scheme because he's ashamed of the town's low status. The two race to the farmhouse to cause a distraction to the waiting Hazzard County Sheriff's Deputies and Georgia State Troopers while Daisy and Cooter rescue Jesse and Pauline. Meanwhile, the college girls head to the rally with Sheev to inform the townsfolk about the vote on the strip-mining ordinance. Because of Sheev's armadillo hat and lack of pants, no one listens, so Bo leaves for the rally while Luke and Jesse team up to foil the county and state police who are chasing Bo, interfering with the race. Upon crossing the finish line first, before Billy, the two continue racing back and forth all the way into town, leading the townsfolk to the courthouse just in time to vote against Boss Hogg's proposed ordinance. At the courthouse, Daisy takes advantage of the governor of Georgia's presence and TV cameras to convince him into pardoning the boys, so Uncle Jesse takes the opportunity to knock out Boss Hogg and gets a pardon for assaulting a county commissioner at the same time.

The final scene shows a cook-out at the Dukes' house where Pauline convinces Uncle Jesse, who could not be found because he was "using the meat smoker," to get up and play the television series' main theme. Bo and Luke are romantically involved with the girls in the General Lee when they are caught by Luke's other love-interest Laurie Pullman (Alice Greczyn) from the intro of the film, who proceeds to chase them with a shotgun as they drive away.

Cast[edit]

Knoxville and Scott at the premiere

Cameos[edit]

All five members of the comedy film troupe Broken Lizard make appearances in the film, classified cameos except for Kevin Heffernan who had a larger speaking role (Sheev).

Broken Lizard cameos
  • In the opening scene Steve Lemme, as Jimmy Pullman, the son of client Bill Pullman, who shoots inside of his father's truck while trying to shoot at the Duke boys during a high-speed chase, after Luke is caught fooling around with the client's daughter, Laurie.
  • Two campus police officers played by Jay Chandrasekhar and Erik Stolhanske who reprise their roles, though uncredited, as "Ramathorn" and "Rabbit" respectively, stop the boys for going under the speed limit.
  • A TV newsman, Rick Shakely, played by Paul Soter who's covering the Hazzard Road Rally makes a pun regarding the General Lee when he is informed that the car that just entered the Rally is the same car that evaded authorities in Atlanta earlier.
  • An additional cameo from an actor in "Super Troopers" featured Charlie Finn (the Dimpus Burger employee who gets attacked by Farva), as the dim-witted geology student who assisted the Duke boys, posing as Japanese scientists, with the coal samples.
Other notable cameos
  • During the bar fight scene Indy-car driver A.J. Foyt IV makes an appearance as himself.
  • While the end credits roll, a blooper reel plays, with one blooper featuring Rip Taylor interrupting a bedroom scene with Luke and the two college girls, likely because of his appearance in Knoxville's other feature film Jackass: The Movie.
  • At the police barricade in front of the courthouse during the film's climax, the police officer that attempts to rally all of the other officers to help Daisy is played by Ritchie Montgomery, the second of two actors to appear in the original TV show, as radio DJ Elton Loggins for Hazzard County radio station WHOGG.[2]

Production[edit]

Stunts[edit]

Knoxville said he was initially reluctant to take on the role but was persuaded by script changes and the presence of Dan Bradley as stunt coordinator and second unit for the car chase scenes. Knoxville praised him saying "everyone in Hollywood wants Dan Bradley to shoot their car stuff".[3]

Locations[edit]

The majority of the film was shot in and around Clinton, Louisiana.

The street scenes are set in Atlanta but filmed in the New Orleans Central Business District, and the University scenes on the campus of Louisiana State University.

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

The film was #1 at the box office its opening weekend and grossed $30.7 million on 3,785 screens. It also had an adjusted-dollar rank of #14 all-time for August releases.[4]

The film eventually collected $111 million worldwide, although it was much less successful financially outside the U.S.

Critical reception[edit]

The Dukes of Hazzard was panned by most film critics. Roger Ebert gave the film one star, calling it a "lame-brained, outdated wheeze" and wondered that Burt Reynolds' part in the film is "karma-wise... the second half of what Smokey and the Bandit was the first half of".[5] Ebert also named it the second worst film of the year and went on to place it on the list of his most hated films.[6][not in citation given] Richard Roeper named it the worst film of 2005.[citation needed]

Only 13% of critics gave the film positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 165 reviews.[7] The film received an average rating of 33% on Metacritic based on 36 reviews.[8] Entertainment Weekly awarded a "B+" to the movie, one of the few positive reviews for the film.[9] Long-time fans of the original Dukes of Hazzard television series were generally disappointed by the film.[10]

Awards[edit]

At the 26th Golden Raspberry Awards, the film received seven nominations, but didn't win any.

At the People's Choice Awards, Simpson won the "Favorite Song from a Movie" award for her cover of Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'".

The film was nominated for two MTV Movie Awards, including Best On-Screen Team (Johnny Knoxville, Seann William Scott, & Jessica Simpson), and Sexiest Performance (Jessica Simpson).

Simpson won the Choice Breakout Female award for her role in the film at the Teen Choice Awards.

Controversy[edit]

Before the release of this film, Warner Brothers reportedly paid $17.5 million to the producer of Moonrunners, the movie that inspired the TV show. This was soon followed by a claim from screenwriter Gy Waldron. The Hollywood Reporter reported that James Best, who portrayed Rosco P. Coltrane in the original series, filed suit in late July 2011 over royalties he was contracted to receive over spinoffs that "used his identity".[11] Ben Jones, who played Cooter Davenport in the original series, criticized the film for its emphasis on sexual content, suggesting that the original series was more family-oriented and not as sexualized.[12] He called for fans of the TV series to boycott the film "unless they clean it up before the August 5th release date."

Some have countered that the original series also contained sexual themes, primarily Catherine Bach's (Daisy Duke) much-displayed "short shorts" (which have become so ubiquitous in American culture that skimpy blue jean cutoff shorts are now often simply called "Daisy Dukes"). In a film review, a New York Daily News entertainment columnist said the movie's sex humor is "cruder" than the TV series, but that it is "nearly identical to the TV series in... its ogling of the posterior of cousin Daisy Duke."[13]

Although initially he commented that he enjoyed the new style of relationship between the movie versions of Bo and Luke, John Schneider, who played Bo Duke in the original TV series, was later asked if he saw the film and said: "My gosh... it was terrible! It wasn’t Dukes. It was true to whatever it was; I just don’t know what that was!"[14]

Soundtrack[edit]

Jessica Simpson recorded her own version of "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" (and added her own lyrics) for the soundtrack to the film The Dukes of Hazzard (2005). Performed from the point of view of her character in the movie, Simpson's cover was co-produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, and was released as the soundtrack's first single in 2005. It became Simpson's fifth top-twenty single in the United States and its music video drew some controversy because of its sexual imagery.[15][16]

Prequel[edit]

A prequel to the film, titled The Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning, was released to television on March 7 2005, and released to DVD on March 20, 2007.

References[edit]

  1. ^ M.C. Gainey at http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0301370/
  2. ^ Ritchie Montgomery http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0599907/
  3. ^ "Johnny Knoxville interview for Dukes Of Hazzard". Web.archive.org. 2007-12-28. Retrieved 2012-03-20. 
  4. ^ "Top August Opening Weekends at the Box Office". Boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved 2012-03-20. 
  5. ^ Roger Ebert Reviews The Dukes of Hazzard
  6. ^ "A bouquet arrives". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  7. ^ The Dukes of Hazzard at Rotten Tomatoes. Accessed September 2009
  8. ^ "Dukes of Hazzard, The (2005): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2012-03-20. 
  9. ^ "Movie Review: The Dukes of Hazzard". Entertainment Weekly. 2005-08-03. 
  10. ^ http://www.hazzardnet.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7390
  11. ^ 4 MOS (2011-08-02). "'Dukes of Hazzard' Sheriff Sues Warner Bros. for Millions in Royalties". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2011-12-04. 
  12. ^ Dukes of Hazzard, Cooter’s Place 
  13. ^ NY Daily News, New York, August 5, 2005, archived from the original on 2005-10-30, retrieved September 2009 
  14. ^ Exclusive Interview: John Schneider, Moviehole, 2007-12-28, archived from the original on 2007-12-28 
  15. ^ "Jessica Simpson: Singles Chart History". billboard.com. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  16. ^ "If You Want Blood (You've Got It)" and "Shoot to Thrill" are playing by AC/DC "USATODAY.com - Jessica Simpson kicks off People's Choice Awards". www.usatoday.com. January 5, 2006. Retrieved 2008-07-31. 

External links[edit]