At the height of his popularity – about a decade beginning in the early 1970s – Burt Reynolds was a very unusual kind of movie star, an example of a kind of hyper-masculinity tempered with a Cary Grant-like self awareness, a sense of the ridiculousness of his fame. He was macho with a wink; even the famous “Cosmpolitan” foldout was so patently absurd that you couldn’t help but see it as a kind of parody of sexual commodification. Reynolds’ easy-going image eventually became self-defeating; the lazy I’m-just-here-for-a-good-time attitude wore itself thin in a string of lazy we’re-just-doing-this-for-the-money comedies directed by Hal Needham. There were hints, however, that Reynolds was more than just a Hollywood stud going for an easy paycheck. He trseemied to escape his good old boy image in a few romantic comedies, Alan Pakula’s underappreciated “Starting Over” and Blake Edwards’ Truffaut remake “The Man Who Loved Women”. He willingly played against type in Peter Bogdanovich’s brilliant “At Long Last Love” and “Nickelodeon”. He tried his hand at directing, but didn’t seem to have his heart in it (although his comedy “The End” is an underrated triumph). The financial and critical failure of those films seemed to set him back squarely on the path of the “Cannonball Run”, but by the early 80s, the sheer laziness of Reynolds-Needham collaborations like “Stroker Ace” were being rejected by audiences. He fell by the wayside, and his comeback in “Boogie Nights”, while welcome, never quite amounted to much. His laid back self-deprecating persona is sorely missed.