Tag Archives: sharky’s machine

MARTA in the movies

12 Feb

MARTA has played a bit part in a few films over the years, whether Atlanta is a cheap location for a film set in some other city or explicitly acknowledged. There’s the very memorable hijacking of a MARTA bus at the beginning of Burt Reynolds’ Sharky’s Machine (1978), memorable mainly in the sense that everything that happens after this point is excruciatingly unmemorable. sharkys machine

Kim Bassinger takes it in The Real McCoy (1993) after she’s just been released from jail where she was doing time for a botched bank robbery, now on MARTA and on her way to new life, a fresh start. We’ve all been there before.
the real mccoy

MARTA is hilariously rebranded as “NARTA” in Livin’ Large! (1991). Livin’ Large was shot all over the city, so if you’re really into that, be our guest.
livin large

The most felicitous use of MARTA, however, is in the truly terrible 1985 movie you’ve never heard of, The Heavenly Kid. Continue reading

We got scooped

5 Mar

The ever-helpful Thomas Wheatley mentioned the 1992 sci-fi action film Freejack in the comments of one of the countless things I’ve written about Dowtown, but I didn’t notice until someone stole the clip for post fodder at Atlanta Metblogs. Fair enough! But I’m still using Thomas’ tip since I was just talking about Sharky’s Machine not so long ago.

Freejack, starring Emilio Estevez, Rene Russo, Anthony Hopkins, and Mick Jagger, is supposed to take place in the Bronx and Manhattan in 2009, but they shot this particular scene in Downtown Atlanta in the very early 1990s. The Civic Center MARTA station and the old Atlanta Constitution building have cameos.


This is basically no different than how people drive on West Peachtree now.

According to Thomas, this is the only scene filmed in Downtown Atlanta, but there are probably plenty of scenes like this:

Previously: Vintage violence

Vintage violence

28 Feb

Friday night we watched Sharky’s Machine. This is 100% a Burt Reynolds vanity vehicle – directed by and starring Burt, he has maybe three spoken lines and spends most of the movie smoking silently in a hotel room on stakeout watching a high-class prostitute.

So why would we even bother to watch this poorly-edited, poorly-acted cop film? Because it was shot primarily in Downtown in the late ’70s. There are some cool scenes of Five Points, Kenny’s Alley, Trinity Avenue, the Westin, Peachtree Center, and the old viaducts. The only time the story leaves Downtown is an outside shot of Callanwolde Fine Arts Center, which in the film is a heroin binge den/prostitution ring hub. Everyone speaks with cliched NYPD accents even though the film is set in Georgia. (Well, everyone except for Ralph, a tranny prostitute.) But I would rather be confused by Brooklyn accents in the APD’s vice squad than hear terrible forced, fake Southern accents, so we let that inconsistency go.

Here are the first ten minutes of Sharky’s Machine to get you hooked. Recognize anything? (It’s easier to spot familiar buildings and sights when watching on non-pixelated DVD.)

Warning: Swear words and violence! Someone gets murdered on a MARTA bus.

There are also cameos from Atlanta’s star newscasters of that era: Monica (Kaufman) Pearson, Wes Sarginson, Dave Michaels, and Forrest Sawyer.

We watched it at the invitation of “Kaneharvest,” noted Downtown expert and inventor of the parking deck tour. If you don’t know the C&S building from a hole in the ground then be sure you screen this film with someone who does, otherwise it won’t be fun.

(According to some sources, Mark Wahlberg is remaking Sharky’s Machine. It supposedly won’t be set in Atlanta so who cares?)

Previously: Fact, fiction, and mystery

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