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Movies of 1978 Bracket Game: Every Which Way But Loose Vs. Hooper

So, this one probably wasn’t fair. Halloween launched not just a franchise but a genre. John Carpenter’s original is still relevant today. While Joe Dante’s Piranha is more fun than it has any right to be, it’s still very much a cult movie. So it’s no surprise that Michael Myers walked away with this one. He’ll get a chance to face off against either Clint Eastwood or Burt Reynolds in round two.

Reynolds was coming of a heck of a year when Hooper was released. The original Smokey and the Bandit was the second highest-grossing movie of 1977 behind Star Wars. Smokey was directed by former stuntman, Hal Needham, who would become a frequent collaborator with Reynolds. Together, they made both two Smokey and the Bandit movies, two Cannonball Runs, Hooper and Stroker Ace. That’s a lot of smirky car movies!

In Hooper, Reynolds plays an aging stuntman not unlike Needham. Jan-Michael Vincent costarred as an up-and-coming stuntman who lacks common sense. Kind of a Tim Robbins to Reynolds’ Kevin Costner. Sally Field plays the love interest because she was all tangled up in Reynolds’ mustache at the time.

Hooper couldn’t live up to the success of Smokey and the Bandit, but it was generally well-received. The stuntman comedy was the sixth highest-grossing movie of the year. But it was beaten out at the box office by a movie in which Clint Eastwood hangs out with an orangutan.

If you weren’t familiar with Every Which Way But Loose, you might think I was making this up. I’m not. During his Dirty Harry hey-day, Eastwood decided to mix things up with a monkey movie. And audiences in 1978 ate it up. Loose was the fourth highest-grossing movie of the year generating a sequel (Any Which Way You Can) two years later.

It’s probably worth mentioning that Eastwood and Reynolds finally teamed up six years later in the crime comedy, City Heat. It was definitely the wrong vehicle for the two tough guys and probably came out a few years too late to capitalize on Reynolds’ superstar status.

Which action-comedy do you want to see advance to Round Two?