First up was the 1983 helicopter action film Blue Thunder from director John Badham. I saw this when I was 14 but didn't remember it at all--I didn't remember who Oates was then I'm sure except he was Sgt. Hulka from Stripes (a film I love). Blue Thunder is a fun film that has held up pretty well through the years. It looks good with all the neon lights of Los Angeles at night and has some rousing helicopter action scenes.
How is Oates in this? He's sporting a great cop 'stache, plays an angry police captain and gets to snarl some good one liners such as: answer your fucking beeper! Blue Thunder is a solid genre film from the early 1980s that is worth checking out.
Film two for us was the 1976 low budget drive-in styled Dixie Dynamite. I love the title and the image pictured of Oates and two women on a motorcycle. The film is just so-so though. You'd think a film that has car chases, scantily clad women, really bad dialogue by not so hot actors, moonshine swilling, motocross racing, lots of sweating and numerous dynamite explosions would be off the charts entertaining in a 1970s sort of way. It wasn't.
Dixie Dynamite has some fun moments but it's PG rated. This screams for an R rating--more violence, more cursing and let's be honest, more nudity would have made it truly more worthy of its title and premise. It's a 1976 drive-in movie after all. How would adding any of the things I mentioned damage this film's marketability? It wouldn't. Those additions would have just made a better film and although it's worth seeing for Oates nuts like me and Vern, it should have been better.