Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Wanna see Bill Cosby and Harvey Keitel driving around in an ambulance?!

I was just checking the TV listings for this evening and if you've got the Fox Movie Channel and haven't "gotten" into Lost yet, you got a real treat tonight. At 8 p.m. EST they're running Mother, Jugs & Speed, starring Bill Cosby, Harvey Keitel, and Raquel Welch. It's a nice little gem from 1976 about a private ambulance company that's fighting both a competitor for a contract from the city, and its own internal conflicts. Bill Cosby is "Mother": the hardened veteran driver who flaunts all the rules in the book (and has a penchant for scaring nuns while driving his rig). Harvey Keitel is "Speed", and that handle doesn't necessarily reflect how fast he drives either (he's a suspended cop suspected of drug dealing). Raquel Welch is "Jugs": the outfit's dispatcher who wants to work the ambulances like the big boys. Look for more familiar faces like Larry Hagman and Dick Butkus among the cast. It can be a sometimes disturbing movie, especially if you're a fan of Bill Cosby. Be warned: this is the darkest comedy that the Cos has ever done in his career that I can think of. But it's also a pretty darned hilarious movie too: the scene where the lady's stretcher is going out of control down the street cracks me up every time I watch it! Plus, this movie absolutely has one of the all-time funkiest theme songs. Just wait 'til you hear it, you'll have "DANCE!" in your head all night.

If you're still wondering if this movie might be for you, here's Mother, Jugs & Speed's opening monologue from Mr. Fishbine, the owner of the company...

"I don’t have to tell you people times are tough. You read the papers. The country’s going to Hell. Now you take inflation, recession, welfare. There’s nothing we can do about that. But thanks to muggings, malnutrition, assassination, and disease, we got a chance to make a buck! I can see that some of you men must be shocked by that statement, but I didn’t write the rules of life myself, no sir! The cripple, the junkie, the wounded, and the dying. Society calls them all worthless. They’re not worthless. Not to us! To us each one is worth $42.50 plus 50 cents a mile, and let’s not forget it! When it comes to realizing that people in distress will jump into the first rig that shows up, well, then that’s when the drive and enthusiasm of you men will make the difference! But there’s another group out there, men... and I will not dignify the Unity Ambulance Company my mentioning its name, but they want our territory. Our sick! Your jobs! But we’re not gonna let them do it to us, are we men? You bet we’re not! No sir!"

(Jugs tells them they've got a call about a woman in labor)

"A woman in labor. What could be more eloquent than that? Well, it looks like life has it’s own little ways of summing up the situation, doesn’t it men? Gentlemen? The F&B Ambulance Company is rolling!"

I've heard this movie is a rare look at what driving an ambulance is REALLY like. So check it out if you can :-)

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

When I trained as an emergency medical technician in college we had an instructor who had us watch Mother, Jugs & Speed. He said it was a training film. That was the hardest I ever laughed in a college class! What will scare a lot of people though is how much this movie resembles life as an EMT. Thanks for writing about this. You can buy the dvd in a lot of places now too.

Anonymous said...

A truly funny movie.

Anonymous said...

I am now in an EMT-B class and loooove it! My dad (who was also a paramedic in the 70s) showed this movie to me, and told me u can't be a medic without watching Mother Jugs and Speed. I love this movie! i'm trying to persuade my teach to let us watch it on the last day as a 'training film'. The best medic movie ever!