Waylon Jennings sang that Bo and Luke Duke straightened the curves and flattened the hills—but the new Dukes movie, says one, has an overzealous appreciation of female geography.
Ben Jones, who played Cooter the mechanic on “The Dukes of Hazzard” TV series, says the new movie version disgraces the “classic family show.”
The new movie, which opens nationwide Aug. 5, stars Seann William Scott (star of the “American Pie” movies) and Johnny Knoxville (best known as the star of MTV’s “Jackass”) as fast-driving, law-evading cousins Bo and Luke, respectively. Jessica Simpson plays Daisy Duke, a curvaceous bartender whose short denim jeans became a fashion phenomenon and earned the name “daisy dukes.”
“Ours is a classic family show with positive values, great action, wonderful slapstick comedy, mighty fine country music, and a very gifted cast who had great chemistry,” wrote Jones in a statement at his Web site, www.cootersplace.com.
Jones said he had not yet seen the movie, but he had read the script, talked with people on the set, and seen the “raunchy” previews. Jones concluded the movie needed sanitizing of its apparent profanities, sexual situations and “toilet humor.”
“Unless they clean it up before the August 5th release date I would strongly recommend that true blue Dukes fans hold their noses and pass this one up,” he wrote. “And whatever you do, don’t take any youngsters to see it.”
Jones mentioned more than once in his statement that Warner Bros., the studio behind the remake, sought no involvement from the original cast members.
Tom Wopat, who originally played Luke Duke and continues to act and sing, made virtually no mention of the movie at his Web site, www.wopat.com.
“While the movie won’t have the original cast, DOH fans will enjoy the renewed attention it brings to the original series,” read a brief message at Wopat’s site.
“The Dukes of Hazzard” aired on CBS from 1979-1985 and was a ratings champion on Friday nights. It spawned a cartoon, reunion specials and later went into syndication on TNN (The Nashville Network). CMT (Country Music Television) began carrying re-runs of the show in February 2005, which have earned some of the highest ratings for the cable outlet.
When one of the show’s reunion specials aired in 2000, Bo and Luke’s famous car—a vamped up 1969 orange Dodge Charger—became the subject of controversy.
The car, known on the show as the “General Lee,” always sported a Confederate flag on its top. In 2000, the Confederate flag was making constant news as legislators in various states debated its incorporation in state flags.
The show’s producers said the flag would remain atop the car in the TV special, citing “integrity” of the car’s character as well as no intent to offend any group bothered by the flag.
The General Lee, which remains one of the most popular vehicles in TV history, retains the Confederate flag in the film.
Jones, a North Carolina native, served two terms as a U.S. representative from Georgia. He and his wife now live in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, where they oversee various businesses, including a “Dukes of Hazzard” museum in Gatlinburg, Tenn., an annual gathering of “Dukes” fans at Bristol Motor Speedway, and Cooter’s Garage Band, which Jones fronts.
Original fans as well as those who’ve found it on CMT “love the positive values of our show, its wholesome friendliness, and the fact that Bo and Luke are heroes who always make the right moral choice,” wrote Jones. “How can the producers of this film be so cynical, so jaded, so out of touch with America’s heartland as to trash a great family show in this way?”
Cliff Vaughn is culture editor for EthicsDaily.com.