The Dukes of Hazzard: Reunion! ★★★

I grew up watching The Dukes of Hazzard. It debuted just a month after I was born and I watched from my playpen. My mom recalls that I would cry during the end credits because I knew that meant it was over. In 1996, The Nashville Network (TNN, later to become Spike TV) began rerunning the series and I gorged on it all over again. The success of those reruns prompted CBS to produce The Dukes of Hazzard Reunion! in 1997.

Just about everything there ever was to enjoy about the series can be found in Reunion! except for Sorrel Booke as Boss Hogg and Waylon Jennings as The Balladeer. Booke had passed away, and I can't recall now why Waylon didn't participate. Health? Money? Scheduling? Whatever the reasoning, his absence is keenly felt.

Still, the rest of the Hazzard gang is back and as charismatic as ever. A lot of these TV reunion movies don't work very well because the original series belonged to a zeitgeist that has come and gone. Such reunions invariably embarrass the original series by exposing why the show couldn't have worked in the present era. It could easily have been true of The Dukes of Hazzard, except for two things.

Firstly, The Dukes of Hazzard was never really part of the 1980s zeitgeist anyway. It was its own thing, anomalous in the realm of entertainment. They did things differently in Hazzard, where hokum was the milieu. It shouldn't have worked even when it did, frankly, and that intrinsic quality survived into Reunion!

The other key reason that this TV movie works is that it was done by the same key people who made the series, including creator Gy Waldron who wrote this story. No one tried to re-brand The Dukes of Hazzard or "update" it. They just revisited it and let it be what it always ever was: silly antics and down home charm.

Also: I have no idea how John Schneider has aged so well but wow. Dude could still be convincing in that role even today!

The Dukes of Hazzard Reunion! Re-Ranked on My Flickhcart (#968/1464)

The Dukes of Hazzard Reunion! < The Iron Giant --> #968
As much as I love The Dukes of Hazzard, I have to admit that The Iron Giant was just about perfect.

The Dukes of Hazzard Reunion! > The Cowboy and the Lady --> #968
If I'm going to have aw-shucks hokum, I want it to include Daisy Duke and the General Lee. The Dukes of Hazzard win this one handily.

The Dukes of Hazzard Reunion! > House on Haunted Hill --> #915
I thoroughly relished the sadistic chemistry between Geoffrey Rush and Famke Janssen in the House on Haunted Hill remake, but I've loved The Dukes of Hazzard since before I could sit upright.

The Dukes of Hazzard Reunion! > Batman Beyond: The Movie --> #824
I admire the boldness of the Batman Beyond concept and the debut story was pretty strong, particularly showing Bruce Wayne's final outing as Batman. Normally for me, Batman > No Batman, but here I favor The Dukes of Hazzard.

The Dukes of Hazzard Reunion! > Hobson's Choice --> #778
Sure, Hobson's Choice was picked for The Criterion Collection, but which one of these features James Best as *Boss* Rosco P. Coltrane?

The Dukes of Hazzard Reunion! > Octopussy --> #755
In general, I'd pick 007 > The Dukes, but Octopussy is a convoluted mess, whereas The Dukes of Hazzard Reunion! is contrived fun.

The Dukes of Hazzard Reunion! > Minority Report --> #743
All I remember from Minority Report is its concept and a group of psychics reading balls. The Dukes of Hazzard Reunion! may lack such a lofty concept, but I dig it.

The Dukes of Hazzard Reunion! > High Noon --> #738
I confess: I was underwhelmed by High Noon. Yes, I appreciated its concept and allegorical meaning about McCarthyism, etc., but as a film it just didn't do much for me. Going with The Dukes of Hazzard Reunion! here for old times' sake.

The Dukes of Hazzard Reunion! > Superman --> #735
The part of me that appreciates animation wants to pick Superman, but the part of me that grew up with Bo and Luke Duke says otherwise. Sorry, Superman.

The Dukes of Hazzard Reunion! > Army of Darkness --> #733
I like the Evil Dead series, sure, but I never cared for it the way that I care for the Duke family. Reuniting with my old friends in Hazzard County meant more to me.

The Dukes of Hazzard Reunion! was re-ranked on my Flickchart to #733/1464