47 FILMS: 33. THE BIG BUS

In our continuing series of 47 films to watch before you are murdered in your dreams, we look at the under-rated Big Bus.

There have been films about big airplanes. There have been films about big boats singing. There have been films about big buildings burning. There have even been films about big German balloons bursting. But there has never been a film about The Big Bus!

The year is 1976 and disaster movies are at their height. But The Big Bus comes out to terrible reviews and is itself a disaster, with critics and audiences both, but I would say that this films stands comparison with the great Airplane (1980) as one of the best examples of Hollywood parody ever made.

The nuclear powered bus Cyclops is due to complete its maiden voyage from New York to Denver non-stop, when a terrorist backed by the oil companies plants a bomb, injuring the drivers. Designer Kitty Baxter (Stockard Channing) turns to disgraced driver Dan Torrance (Joseph Bologna), who has been ostracized by the bus driving community having been accused of cannibalism of 110 passengers following a snow bound accident on Mount Diablo. It is a charge he strongly denies, though he does admit he ate one foot. His co-driver ‘made a stew. I didn’t know what was in it!’

The passengers board the big bus with their own baggage – a warring couple, a doubting priest, a defrocked vet, a man with six months to live. Add to this a bomb on board and the fact that co-driver Shoulders (John Book) is not called shoulders because of his physique but because he drives on hard shoulders, and disaster is waiting around the corner. Some cracking visual gags and a witty script along with cameos from Ned Beatty and Larry Hagman and the best cocktail pianist in the Oriental Lounge make this a criminally under-rated and under-appreciated film. Watch it now. Or die trying.

For more of our 47 Films Click Here.

JAMES LIPTON CONFESSES HE’S NEVER SEEN A FILM IN HIS LIFE

NEW YORK – Host of Inside the Actors Studio James Lipton admitted today that he has never seen a film in his life and often doesn’t know the name of the person he is interviewing.

James Lipton is famous for his erudite and in depth interviews with world famous actors, which seek to get away from the celebrity nonsense and go deep into an exploration of the craft of acting. However, in a drunken conversation with the Studio Exec last night James Lipton came clean that he actually has never seen a film in his life:

I don’t own a television. I go to the opera and I like going to the theater, but no, television no and I’ve never been to the cinema. If I’m in a bar or a restaurant and there’s a television, I go some place else unless they’re showing the game. I despise the cathode tube and the tyranny of the gaudy, but we run an actors studio and so I suppose that we must have other actors who have some exposure in order to heighten our profile.

So how do you prepare for interviews?

I don’t. I have a team of researchers and they do everything and I read all the questions off little cards they give me. It was very embarrassing once when we had Randy Quaid on and I read him all of Sylvester Stallone’s questions! Ha! I even called him the wrong name. But no one seemed to mind. I cultivate a reputation for eccentricity. I just fix my smile and nod. If you watch the program closely you can see I’m grinning but there is a fear in my eyes.

But you are a noted…?

Yes, well. It’s easy after all to fake it when you get used to it. All you have to do is say that everyone is wonderful and from what I’ve heard not seeing the films is actually an advantage when I have to interview someone like, oh I don’t know, Matt Damon.

And the Inside the Actors Studio Motion Picture?

Yes, that is going ahead. I have finished the script and it involves me and William Shatner. We live together in a bachelor pad and have a pet monkey called Simon.

Sounds great. 

Simon is great and Bill Shatner provides comic relief.

Inside the Actors Studio: The Motion Picture will be released in 2018.