My review

I remembered seeing this as a kid, maybe 9-10 years old and loved it. I tried and tried to find it over the years but I never did until a few years ago. I watched it again and was ....disappointed. This movie is really nothing more that an after school special intended for children with a few cool cars in it. This is VERY apparent in the tone of the movie, the dialogue, terms used - watered down verbage. Its a kids movie.

Is lacks the cool factor that Two lane blacktop or even American Graffiti holds and its getting tiresome seeing it compared to those two films, that are on a completely different level than Hot Rod 1979.

Fact is, nobody has re-issued it because its bad and putting up with the kiddy dialogue just to see a primered Willys get shifted 47 times in the 1/4 with off-balance audio engine noises isn't worth it at all.


Yes, those who compare it to those two movies you mentioned only do because of their biased desire to elevate old school racing movies. Two Lane Blacktop was an existentially vacant art movie made as a visual critique of the post 60s hippie hope of change, centered around a couple of car freaks with no future that simply worship speed with little feeling that there's anything else left. American Graffiti sits in the opposite spectrum, Lucas' ode to his youth...the peak of carefree kids n' car culture of the early 60s and the reckless fun and danger it bred, a rosy time before we ran into the brick wall of Vietnam & civil disillusionment of the status quo.

Hot Rod by comparison seems to exist in some romantic candyland genesis of both, which is odd for being made after. The Munns Root Beer cartel family, the stealing of the supercharger, the early violent wreck of the Plymouth Satellite that the protagonists simply walk away from, & the technical gearhead inaccuracies like you mentioned seal the make believe reality of Hot Rod. I'd actually put in it with Eat My Dust (1976) & Hollywood Knights (1980) and other car driven B-movie comedy/hijinks of the 70s early & 80s.

This is coming from a guy who likes this movie for the use of the Willys gasser and the footage of the long gone Baylands Raceway at Fremont California.


What drew me to this film, was the advertisement in the tv guide in 1979, it had Gregg Henry squatting on top of the hood. Thought it looked cool, made sure to watch it at the end of the next week when it was televised. What kept me was the songs.