Episode #37 -- Blue Collar

(or: "In Conclusion, Paul Schrader is a Land of Contrasts")


Blue Collar, starring Richard Pryor, Harvey Keitel, and Yaphet Kotto, is the directorial debut of Paul Schrader, who had built up some Hollywood clout after writing the scripts for Raging Bull and Taxi Driver. He's written and directed a lot of movies since-- he wrote the screenplay for The Last Temptation of Christ, which the two of us both liked an awful lot, and he wrote and directed one of the later Exorcist sequels, playing both sides of the fence (although maybe not, given how The Last Temptation of Christ was received). Blue Collar, though, is a movie about three guys who work at an auto plant where neither the management nor their union seem to have any interest in doing right by them, so they plan to get theirs by robbing the union office. It's not spoiling much to say that things don't work out quite in the way that they hope it will, although it would have been a ballsy move to cut the movie short and end it on a freeze frame of the three of them delightedly jumping into the air clutching fistfuls of their ill-gotten gains, and then ROLL CREDITS. When we start making movies you'd better prepare yourselves for some abrupt and anti-climatic endings, is what we're saying.