HomeMoviesWait! Have You Not Seen LET IT RIDE?

Wait! Have You Not Seen LET IT RIDE?

Okay, I am going to keep doing these until I cannot think of titles to write about. Which after spending a bunch of years working in video stores and watching pretty much every movie I could get my hand on for 25+ years, I hope I have at least two or three more in me. Here is another title that my dad and uncle loved. Another one of the Uchrin family classics that I believe I have bought for my dad on VHS and now on DVD. Which come to think of it, last time I was home he has neither VHS nor DVD hooked up to the television in my basement. He will need to fix that so I can ask him what his favorite part of this flick is.  

Another movie set I in the 80s: no one has a cellphone, not a pager to be seen. But it starts at a local convenience store, or what appears to be one on the outside. Really early in the morning and we are introduced to two cabbies: the first… Jay Trotter, seems like a normal cab driver, played by the great Richard Dreyfuss. And his fellow cab driver, Looney. Looney is played by the wonderful David Johansen. I will get back to them in a second. Looney is a bored cab driver and he does something pretty crazy. He records the conversations/goings-on in the back of his cab. But remember this is the 80s, he is not video recording anything, this is straight up audio recording. Kind of crazy, and weird to think of in today’s climate. Anyway, Looney, see, he happens to be recording two gentlemen talking in the back of his cab. And it appears to be a horse owner and another guy. The owner happens to tell the other guy, that they have been holding a horse back, meaning allowing him to lose, in order to make sure when he does win it will be a big payday. In fact saying, “the only way this horse can lose if if lightning strikes.” That is the hook that gets good ol’ Trotter. This creates a dilemma for him. Earlier that day he told his wife Pam that he gave up gambling, renewed the marriage vows, and moved back in with her. Problem is: he has to stop gambling. Well, like any good degenerate he is going to make that bet. Off to the racetrack, and that is where I will leave it. The movie is spectacular and the story is totally relatable. But more on the cast. 

So we start with Trotter played by Richard Dreyfuss. Who, if you dont know, is Hopper from Jaws or Roy Neary in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, I don’t know what to tell you. Oh, he won an Academy Award for The Goodbye Girl and was awesome in Stakeout and What About Bob. Okay, enough about him. Next is Looney, played by David Johansen. Yes, the New York Dolls front man David Johansen. My introduction to glam-punk when I was younger. Anyway, he has also gone by Buster Poindexter, which was a character he performed as in the 80s. Anyway besides the New York Dolls, his other great comedy turn is as the Ghost of Christmas past in Scrooged. Classic. Next is Trotter’s wife Pam, played by the amazing Teri Garr. What can I say about her, but she is in so many movies from my childhood, I feel like she is a defacto second mom. From Tootsie, Close Encounters, Young Frankenstein, Mr. Mom, the lady was amazing. Nominated for her role in Tootsie, supporting actress. Pretty great. Oh my god, I forgot she is in Mom and Dad Save the World. Love that flick too. Future article. Let’s round out the rest of the cast. A few more people around the racetrack. We meet some of the high rollers and one is Greenburg, played by Allen Garfield. Not a name you recall? He’s the is the police chief in Beverly Hills Cop 2. Great bit part, but great acting. Next is his lady, Vicki, played by the insanely gorgeous Jennifer Tilly. This is 31 year old drop dead smoking Jennifer Tilly. This is after Moving Violations, but this starts her being casted in a ton more movies. My favorite fact about her is that she was married to the late Sam Simon, who was an original producer of The Simpsons, so she gets a chunk of that Fox money, and ironically has been married to a professional poker player since she and Sam divorced. A few more actors, the ticket taker. Or the ticket seller. What do you call the guy you place the bets with at the racetrack, that is this guy, played by the late Robbie Coltrane. Yup, Hagrid from the Harry Potters. Another richie rich from the high rollers area is played by Michelle Philips, the singer from the Mamas & the Papas. She has a classic line. Last is Cynthia Nixon is what has to be one of her first roles and if not first early into her career. You know her from Sex in the City, but this is young teenage Cynthia. Okay, wow that cast is insane and tons of heavy hitters. They all work perfectly together in this flick. 

Next are the people that put this film together. Let’s start with the director, Joe Pytka. Let me be honest, I really had no idea who he was. I knew he had done a ton of tv commercials and music videos, but nothing showed that he had this in his back pocket. Actually doing a bit of research, because the last thing I wanted to do is gloss over this guy after reading more about him. He pretty much has done a majority of the Michael Jackson music videos, a bunch of stuff with Michael Jordan and wow, he did I Am Tiger Woods. Okay, i am sorry I did not know all that. This is only his second real film, and after this he goes on to make Space Jam. Full circle I guess. Next the movie is based on a story called Good Vibes, written by Jay Cronley. Jay has also written the books Quick Change and Funny Farm, both really great stories that were made into movies. He passed away in 2017 and I recall reading he used to write for ESPN the website (remember that) about, you guessed it horse racing. The screenplay is written by Nancy Dowd, which is super cool if you don’t know who she is. She wrote Slapshot, based after her brothers experience playing minor league hockey. She also has an Oscar in her cabinet from the movie Coming Home which she won best original screenplay. Pretty sure Jane Fonda and Jon Voight also both won for that movie. I will do more research next time. This is getting long so I will add who was in charge of the music. Giovanni Giorgio Moroder. 3 Academy Awards, 4 Grammy Awards ( Last with Daft Punk). The guy is a legend, and ironically the music in this flick is stop on. It adds to the film, big time. 

Quotes, My favorite part of the movie. I said at the intro, my dad and late uncle loved this flick, so quotes int his movie are normal conversation starters for us, but here are some gems.

“You could be walking around lucky and not even know it!”

“ You know what they say, Nothing ventured, nothing ventured”

“The 4 horse is a joke, they let little kiddies on the 4 horse to get their picture taken”

“You didn’t Bet?”

“ I am having a very good day”

I love this flick and I am glad I finally wrote a bit about it. I know when I am laughing watching it, my uncle 100% is laughing watching it too. And love that I have never been to a horse racetrack, because any real experience would break this perfect vision I have in my head, and it could never recreate this day. The movie appears to be available to rent for the normal four bucks. My standard rule applies, you hate it find me and I can give you the singles. I just think that after the laughs you get, you will throw this one in your annual rotation and enjoy it more than once. 

Steve Uchrin
Steve Uchrin
Steve Uchrin is a former comic shop clerk, a former video store clerk, and current married dad of two girls with zero interest in comics or movies. Owner of 10+ terabytes of flicks and the largest McDonald's "cocaine" spoon collection this side of the Mississippi.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments

Carl Pietrantonio on Credit Where Credit is Due
Carl Pietrantonio on You Goddamn Nerds Ruin Everything
Carl Pietrantonio on Joker 2
Stewart "3 Days Later" Vernon on Shulkie is All We Byrne Fans Hoped For
David Porter on Welcome to Dork Court