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Written by / 8/17/2018 / No comments / , , , , , , , , , ,

WALTER MATTHAU & ROBIN WILLIAMS STAR IN 'THE SURVIVORS'

Title card for Michael Ritchie's THE SURVIVORS Year: 1983
In THE SURVIVORS,  Robin Williams and Walter Matthau make a pretty good team. And while this comedy isn't hilarious, it's very entertaining...

The first half, anyway, where both unlucky losers lose their income... one his fancy job, the other his grungy gas station... and deal with a string of things-go-wrong-situations highlighted by a greasy spoon diner robbery that just might've inspired Quentin Tarantino's PULP FICTION: Cut to another familiar scene where Robin Williams, in the passenger's side of Matthau's car, points a safety-off handgun at the film's edgy third-tier character, a sitting duck (albeit not a vulnerable one) in the back seat who's a plot in itself: Jerry Reed plays the diner's holdup man who also claims to be a hired assassin and wants the only witness... Matthau... dead... or so he says...

Robin Williams w/ Walter Matthau as The Survivors SCORES: ***1/2
It's Reed's character who turns the tables as Robin Williams goes from downbeat average guy to a gun crazy, hyperactive survivalist. And Matthau's THE BAD NEWS BEARS director Michael Ritchie, an eclectic filmmaker that always remains unpredictable and spontaneous, mixes comedy with various pockets of tension while it's all a sort of lightly humorous adventure...

Ultimately leading to a remote, snowy outpost led by a guru scam-artist who predicts the world will soon go belly-up. At this point, THE SURVIVORS can hardly stand on its own legs, becoming a sort of parody within a parody about militant nitwits... too banal to seem realistic... instead of what had been a character-driven buddy picture that really clicked. And it ain't all men; Matthau's daughter, the sweet and natural Kristen Vigard, stays for the long-haul, keeping up with the two multi-talented comic-actors (who can also shift gears into dramatic roles); and cute cult starlet Annie McEnroe is Williams's girlfriend, who winds up feeling like the audience after losing her man to the device of the film's title — that was much better when symbolic than literal.
Robin Williams talking nonsense to Kristen Vigard
Walter Matthau an unemployment office with his unknown antagonist sitting behind...
Hard to see but that's a black clad Jerry Reed using a black man's voice: behind is character-actor William Magerman
Robin Williams keeping pointing nervously at a not so nervous yet concerned Jerry Reed
THE HAND ingenue Annie McEnroe with Walter Matthau
Cute and perky Kristen Vigard with "dad" Walter Matthau
The typing cop steals the classic prison flick SHORT EYES... his name's Joseph Carberry here in The Survivors
John Goodman The Survivors John Goodman handing out fliers in a nonspeaking nonfamous cameo
Kristen Vigard The Survivors Kristen Vigard and Walter Matthau
Bringing us back to the pivotal scene... that we still think influenced Mr. Tarantino
Walter Matthau and Kristen Vigard in THE SURVIVORS Reviewed by James M. Tate
Infamous promo stunt KRULL movie wedding as Blue Thunder & THE SURVIVORS are advertised
Jerry Reed hides in plain site in THE SURVIVORS
And still we say, years later, rest in peace to Robin Williams, the world's crazy uncle
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