In the wake of the massively successful Smokey and the Bandit released the year before, which had both consolidated Burt Reynolds as the number one box office star of the late 1970s and given first-time director Hal Needham a name in the business, the two got together to make this tribute to the stunt performers in Hollywood. Reynolds and Needham had both started out as stuntmen themselves, and after having met in 1959, they became friends and kept working together in various capacities. With Hooper, they made what would arguably be their most personal film – a combined homage to and jab at the movie business – and they managed to do it with dignity and panache, while undoubtedly having a lot of fun in the process. Burt Reynolds' creation of Sonny Hooper epitomizes everything which also made the actor so popular at the time: He is a fountain of energy and joie de vivre, but also deeply sensitive; a boy in a man's body, always looking for love and confirmation. Sonny Hooper arguably mirrors Burt Reynolds more than The Bandit does. There is something very sad and very uplifting about him at the same time. In Hooper, he faces the prospect of being outdated, outmoded and ousted – something time eventually will do to us all. And the film discusses these timeless, existential questions in a fascinatingly masculine and very 1970s manner, an ability Reynolds had like few others. Hooper may seem like it was made to be enjoyed as a guilty pleasure, but there's no guilt involved here, only pure and top-notch cinematic entertainment. With Reynolds' real-life girlfriend Sally Field in a delicate, thoughtful performance as Hooper's girl, Jan-Michael Vincent as the new stuntman in town, and Brian Keith as a representative for the older generation. Several of the other roles are populated by various Reynolds/Needham regulars.
Copyright © 29.07.2023 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang