I cannot believe that this picture ever played in a movie theater. Dirt feels like something you’d find on television on a Saturday afternoon in the middle of August during a baseball game that is waiting out a rain delay. Yet, there is a theatrical poster for this film and I must assume someone thought people were going to go to the cinema to see 90 minutes of off-roading narrated by a horny old drunk traveling in his RV looking for the next off-road race.
But just who the hell is this loveable inebriated coot? The credits list Clarke Gordon as the narrator, but during the film someone calls our tour guide “Fred”. I must admit I had to look up just who Clarke Gordon was and what connections he has to racing. It turns out he’s an actor with a long record of westerns to his name. Here, he plays a roving narrator, traveling across North America introducing the audience to a variety of different motor-sports. When he’s not filling us in on the details of each race he’s cracking a cold beer and ogling girls.
The film serves as little more than an extended montage of action photography soaked in a heavy 70′s aesthetic. Think lots and lots of lens flares!
I have to chuckle at how easy these 70′s sports documentaries must have been too produce. Only about 10% of the film (or less) has diagetic sound. The narration provides the minimal amount of information needed. There’s little to no story. Wall-to-wall music pushed the film forward.
Songs like “Swamp-buggy boogie” provide a chuckle, but by the hour mark the hokey music and the replaceable shot after shot of racing motor-vehicles is enough to turn off all but the most hardcore gear-heads. In short, the whole picture feels like the Wide World of Backwood Sports. Perhaps, if Clarke Gordon (or who ever the hell he is) were more prevolent throughout the picture Dirt could have held my attention. His horny roving eyes and colorful commentary compare with classic WGN broadcasts of Cubs games, where every commercial break was preceded by shots of bikini-clad bleacher bums.
If the narrator and our tour guide on screen is Clarke Gordon its quite humorous to find that he would later play a character simply known as The Drunk in the Chuck Norris action flick The Octagon , which just happened to be directed by Eric Karson, who also directed Dirt.
If you don’t believe me that this guy is perfect in the role of a lecherous drunk, watch these scenes from Dirt.