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JUDY DAVIS BEGINS WITH 'HIGH ROLLING IN A HOT CORVETTE'

Joseph Bottoms, Judy Davis, Grigor Taylor in 1977
In the 1980's hot rod melodrama, KING OF THE MOUNTAIN, Joseph Bottoms, as an idealistic musician, races Dennis Hopper and learns an extremely grim lesson...

YEAR: 1977
A few years earlier, as an American starring in an Australian independent romp titled HIGH ROLLING...

Which added IN A HOT CORVETTE on video boxes despite the credited name remaining intact within the film itself (like THE SILENT FLUTE altered to CROSS OF IRON and/or KING COBRA to SATAN JAWS OF DEATH etc)...

Joseph, brother of late cult actor Sam Bottoms (Lance from APOCALYPSE NOW), the very obscure Ben (MORE AMERICAN GRAFFITI) and alpha brother Timothy Bottoms (THE LAST PICTURE SHOW with brother Sam, THE PAPER CHASE and the quietly explosive villain in ROLLERCOASTER), would play a character as fancy-free as they get: And the connection with Hopper is that his game-changing counter culture classic, EASY RIDER, was obviously still relevant Down Under: In this tale, two spontaneous rebels, sharing lots of youthful energy and a devil may care attitude, journey down an initially jovial path that eventually turns somewhat dark and dangerous...

Hyperactive Bottoms jovially lectures Taylor
Whether as the young spry Charlie Pizer in Disney's THE BLACK HOLE or the aforementioned songwriter in MOUNTAIN, Bottoms has almost too much energy to fit within the picture frame, which doesn't mean he overacts... Well not entirely...

His character, a Texan cowboy fitfully named Texas, is quite the lady's man: either in the carnival where he and boxing buddy Alby... played by Grigor Taylor in a dependable straight man role... hit the narrow road after stealing a green Corvette from a strange middle-aged male driver who had picked them up and, most importantly, who happens to be carrying a trunkful of drugs. Making this not only a ragged road movie but one of many "found cache" flicks with a price to be paid — hoodlums eventually follow the boys right as the frolicking, freewheeling first and second acts run dry...

Judy Davis Hitching for a Ride
Before the tables turn, one scene has a drunk, depressed Texas on the beach after having gotten pummeled by bouncers at a strip bar... He happens upon the female hitchhiker they'd picked up earlier as he frantically (as if the moon were a stage play spotlight) shares his philosophy of life...

CorvetteMileage: ***
This cool chick is, in fact, in love, and, played by a young Judy Davis, adds legitimacy to a film that rolls with the punches but tends to get knocked down by too much of a dated and cliché 1960's mindset during the much edgier 1970's when even the hippies were waking up to a more grounded reality. And as for that hotrod, this is no celebration ala CORVETTE SUMMER despite both of those film's leads, Bottoms and Mark Hamill, having been or about to be in their own outer space fantasy (and each character is attached to an optimistic wannabe hooker). In other words, the vehicle itself doesn't mean much here, save for that tacked-on retitle. Meanwhile, most of the action occurs away from the car, so the human beings will have to do, and for the most part, they do alright.
Freewheelin' Yank Joseph Bottoms takes aim at yet another babe in Australia in what's actually titled HIGH ROLLING
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