One of skinflint producer Roger Corman’s most profitable pictures, “Eat My Dust” might be forgotten today, if not for its fresh-faced star, former Okie/Opie Ron Howard, then enjoying “Happy Days” success.
Howard plays Hoover Niebold, a small-town, high-school gearhead with two things on his mind: fast cars and a fast girl named Darlene (apple-cheeked Christopher Norris of “Trapper John, M.D.”). He gets to combine both when she uses her feminine wiles and short shorts to convince him to steal the hot rod of big-shot racer Big Bubba Jones.
Thus begins a near-feature-length car chase, accelerated with lots of fast-speed POV shots and many police vehicles ending up crashed, overturned or otherwise incapacitated. Heavy on the slapstick, it plays like a junior-varsity “Smokey and the Bandit,” which it actually preceded by a year. It’s completely harmless, and more entertaining than some of Howard’s recent directorial efforts (like you, “Da Vinci Code”).
Corman gives the film a proud introduction on this “Supercharged” edition, and a short documentary details the how-to behind crashing cars on almost no budget. The trailer tells you everything you need to know, particularly in the narrator’s summation: “Ron Howard pops the clutch and tells the world to ‘Eat My Dust!'”
Howard virtually remade the movie with his directorial debut the following year, “Grand Theft Auto.”