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MOVING VIOLATIONS, 1985
Movie Review

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MOVING VIOLATIONS MOVIEMOVING VIOLATIONS, 1985
Movie Reviews

Directed by: Neal Israel

Cast: Fred Willard, Sally Kellerman, Jennifer Tilly, John Murray, James Keach, Brian Backer, Ned Eisenberg, Clara Peller, Wendie Jo Sperber, Robert Conrad


Review by Christopher Upton


SYNOPSIS:

A group of misfit and careless drivers are sent to traffic school turned prison sentence by two over zealous police officers and a judge. In this comedy, the misfits’ band together, led by a wise-cracking landscaper, to seek revenge for mistreatment, their licenses being revoked and their vehicles impounded.

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REVIEW:

It seems as if I’m the only one in the world who has seen “Moving Violations” and really liked it. I watched this film numerous times as a child. Each time I would see that it was on, I watched it. It is just one of those cool 80’s films that never gets old for me. It’s just pure fun.

Co-written and directed by Neal Israel (“Bachelor Party,” “Surf Ninjas”), "Moving Violations” stars the lesser-known siblings of famous actors. The film stars John Murray...Murray as in younger brother of Bill Murray (“Caddyshack,” “Stripes,” “What About Bob?”); Brother Brian Doyle-Murray (“Caddyshack,” “Christmas Vacation”) and brother Joel Murray ("Dharma & Greg").

“Moving Violations” has a simple and hilarious plot where several people with traffic violations are sentenced to traffic school. They have their vehicles impounded and licenses revoked until they pass traffic school. John Murray plays a sarcastic landscaper named Dana Cannon, who leads the retaliation. You’re reminded of his brother Bill within the character that he plays because they share the same mannerisms. I think John is more charming and he keeps the comedy at its best.

The film also stars James Keach (“Vacation,” “The Long Riders,” “Wildcats”), Stacy Keach's (“Titus,” “The Long Riders”) younger brother. The traffic school is being taught by uptight Deputy Halik (Keach), who was in line for a promotion, but has since been demoted. He blames his current situation on Dana and seeks revenge. Judge Henderson (Sally Kellerman) has a plan to make some money and needs the help of Deputy Halik. If a student fails traffic school, the Judge and Deputy Halik will scam half the profits of the money made from the sales of the students’ impounded vehicles. Deputy Halik in turn makes the test impractical so that all the students fail. They band together when they uncover the scam and set out to even the score.

One of the reasons I like this film is because there are so many different actors. Also appearing in this ensemble cast are Jennifer Tilly (“Bride of Chucky”) who plays a ditzy rocket scientist very well, and Brian Backer (“Fast Times at Ridgemont High”). Ned Eisenberg (“Million Dollar Baby”), Fred Willard, Robert Conrad, Wendie Jo Sperber, Sally Kellerman, Clara Peller, Nedra Volz, and Dedee Pfeiffer, yes younger sister of Michelle Pfeiffer. Also this was the film debut of Don Cheadle (“Hotel Rwanda”).

One of the funniest scenes is when poor eye-sighted Nedra Volz (Mrs. Houk) has to recover some evidence from Judge Henderson's home. She was the only one who would fit through the open window. Mrs. Houk sneaks into the bedroom where the Judge and Deputy Halik are having sex on the bed, trips and ends up on the bed with them. They don't even notice she is there even though she's rolling around on top of them.

On the DVD commentary, director Israel says that Michael J. Fox was originally going to play John Murray's character Dana Cannon. I could see Fox playing the main character, but he was considered “too young looking” for the role. If you enjoyed the original “Police Academy” film (also co-written by Israel) then you’ll probably enjoy "Moving Violations," an under-appreciated comedy.

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MOVING VIOLATIONS


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