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Film / Moving Violations

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Moving Violations is a 1985 comedy film directed by Neal Israel (Police Academy, Bachelor Party), notable for starring the lesser-known siblings of many famous actors and for being the film debut of Don Cheadle.

The film follows a group of people who, after being ticketed for numerous traffic violations, lose their licenses and have their vehicles impounded. They are ordered by Judge Nedra Henderson (Sally Kellerman) to attend a driving course program in order to get their licenses and their vehicles back. However, the assigned teacher for this course, Deputy Henry "Hank" Halik (James Keach), is also conspiring with the judge in a plan to make sure these offenders fail miserably, and at any cost. This makes one of the drivers, landscaper Dana Cannon (John Murray), very suspicious and he enlists his fellow students to expose their plot to sell their impounded vehicles.


Moving Violations contains examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: Clara Peller is basically playing her "Where's the Beef" character.
  • Avoid The Dreaded PG Rating: To avoid being given a PG, Nedra Volz was given a "fuck" to say during one line.
  • Blind Mistake: A Running Gag. A character played by Nedra Volz repeatedly does this. Some classics include: driving onto an airport runway and sitting in a unrinal and asking "Why's my back all wet?"
  • Brick Joke: One character, Wink, spends the whole film making gory horror-movie references and savoring gruesome safety-warning films like Blood on the Highway. During the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue drive-by, we finally see what sort of vehicle he'd been driving when he got sent to traffic school in the first place, and it's a hearse, as Wink works in the funeral business.
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  • Dirty Cop: Deputy Hank Halik.
  • Everyone Chasing You: During the climactic chase scene, one of the characters runs through a convention of police chiefs and ends up with all of the attendees (in full uniform) chasing after them.
  • Fingertip Drug Analysis: When Deputy Morris finds a suspicious white powder on the seat of Dana's truck, she dips her finger in it and sticks it in her mouth. Only after she has done so does Dana inform her that it's guano.
  • Groin Attack: A bowling ball fly out of a car in a spin-out and land right in an old man's lap with an audible "thump!".
  • Had the Silly Thing in Reverse: The bad cop's squad car suffers a mechanical fault after a collision, forcing him to drive backward during the concluding car chase. As he's losing his temper, he proceeds to deliberately back up into someone's garden and through a brick wall.
    • Doc actually set the car to only drive in reverse and not switch out of gear once applied.
  • Hanging Judge: Judge Nedra Henderson.
  • Hypochondria: One of the students is a woman with a severe case of this. She was sent to traffic school after running a red light while panicking that she was three seconds late to take her pills.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: Deputy Morris performs Fingertip Drug Analysis only for Dana to tell her the white powder she is licking is actually guano.
  • Kids Are Cruel: A bunch of bored kids unlatch Scott Greeber's puppeteering trailer from his car, causing it to head downhill and crash into a funeral parlor. Said kids are never punished.
  • No Periods, Period: The relationship between the two strict motorcycle cops is implied when he tells her he got a promotion, and she replies that she got her period. They then clasp hands, suggesting that the latter is as big a relief to the pair (who do not want kids) as the former.
  • Pac-Man Fever: The class had arcade machines with Pole Position as driving simulators.
  • Parental Obliviousness: A teamster and overprotective father is apparently unaware his 15-year-old daughter is a law-breaking punk who poses as an adult and sleeps around. Then again, she's apparently been deliberately deceiving him since she was 12.
  • Railroad Tracks of Doom: Played With. The nearly-blind old lady's car stalls on the tracks, and she refuses to get out. The other characters hastily push her car out of the way just in time. Finally aware of the danger, the old lady joins the others on the roadside to gape at the passing train, only to have her car, now empty on the street, run down by an 18-wheeler.
  • Recruiting the Criminal: During the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue, an on-screen caption proclaims that the lead character was sentenced to traffic school so many times that the county made him the instructor in desperation. Who now passes everybody who takes the course.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Deputy Hank is reassigned to teaching traffic school indefinitely after unintentionally vandalising his commanding officer's car.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Dana and Amy go to the NASA facilities and start making out in a weightlessness simulator. They undress (his shirt and her blouse, respectively), and then that pair of clothes start making out, too, while floating, mimicking the unseen actions of the couple.
  • "Take That!" Kiss: After Hank challenge Dana to a wrestling arms' match, the latter take this way, and won.
  • Unwinnable Training Simulation: The corrupt judge and policeman set up an unwinnable driving course to ensure the traffic-school students will all fail, allowing the pair to sell off their cars and keep the money.
  • Vandalism Backfire: The two bully cops hassle John Murray's character and smash the tail light of the car he is standing next to so they can give him a ticket. They get carried away and start breaking other parts of the car only for him to say it's not his car. It turns out to belong to their commanding officer.
    • And he's not happy. Cue getting sent to teach traffic school, indefinitely.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The movie ends with the police commissioner driving past one cast member after another, all of them having been pulled over for yet another traffic violation. An on-screen caption proclaims that the lead character was sentenced to traffic school so many times that the county made him the instructor in desperation. Who now passes everybody who takes the course.
  • Zero-G Spot: John Murray and Jennifer Tilly's characters have an intimate encounter in a weightlessness simulator.


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