Just forget the words and sing along

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Strange Brew

Here we are, tumbling along once again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, blogging about one of the movies I own.  It's important to highlight that this one appears in my notes on July 1, 2014, hence all the references to Canada Day in it.  And what movie did I watch to celebrate that day, why the Bob and Doug McKenzie movie, Strange Brew.


Happy Canada Day, everyone!  With this lazy day off from work, of course I'm in front of the TV.  And what better film to watch than the Bob & Doug McKenzie classic Strange Brew

I'm sure we've all heard the tale of the creation of Bob & Doug McKenzie by now.  Way back in the early 1980s, the classic sketch comedy TV show SCTV switched from the Global network to CBC.  Thanks to a quirk of how the CBC works, episodes were now going to be longer, and the CBC asked that that extra time be filled with "identifiably Canadian content."  Naturally, the folks behind SCTV thought this to be ridiculous, seeing as to how it was a Canadian-made TV show with a Canadian cast and crew.  So to mock this new directive, Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas took every negative Canadian stereotype they could think of and crammed them into two dimwitted brothers named Bob & Doug McKenzie.  Needless to say, Moranis and Thomas were as stunned as anyone when Bob & Doug became two of the biggest breakout characters on SCTV, eventually spawning a Grammy-nominated comedy album, and an offer from Hollywood. 

Seeing as to how I was 5 years old when McKenzie-mania broke, I was a little young for it.  Probably my first exposure to Bob & Doug McKenzie was during the school's talent show when I was in the second grade.  A couple of junior high kids re-created a few Bob & Doug McKenzie bits.  They even rebuilt the classic Great White North set on the school's stage, with the cases and bottles of beer replaced with Coca-Cola so as not to get into trouble.  I didn't get it.

My first "I'm now old enough to get this" exposure had to be in high school.  I was at the family reunion.  There was a lull in the conversation and boredom was setting in, so my cousin Shane put the album on, and all of us bigger kids just sat around, listening to it, laughing our asses off. 

And then, I finally discovered the movie in college.  First year, in the freshman dorms.  Just hanging out in the floor lounge one night, someone put Strange Brew on and we all watched it.  I wound up first discovering a lot of cult classics that way. 

And it was great.  Probably the loosest adaptation of Hamlet ever.  Did you know that they based the movie on Hamlet?  The brewery is called Elisnore, the female lead of Pam is our Hamlet surrogate, as her father, the former owner of the brewery, has been murdered, and her uncle quickly married her mother and took control of the brewery.  And then we start deviating from the source when it turns out the whole thing has been orchestrated by the evil Brewmaster Smith who's spiking the beer with a mind-controlling drug in a scheme to take over the world. 

Perhaps the strangest thing about the film is Max Von Sydow as Brewmaster Smith.  Max Von Sydow...who was already a certified acting legend when this movie was made in 1983...is the bad guy in the Bob & Doug McKenzie movie. 

Bob & Doug McKenzie then stumble into this plot when they come sniffing around the brewery looking for free beer, and somehow get jobs. 

This is a movie that's tough to describe.  As you can imagine, a Bob & Doug McKenzie movie should mainly be an excuse just to have Bob & Doug McKenzie do their stuff.  And that's what we have.  Granted, as the movie starts going on, it starts drifting more and more into the bizarre, but it's funny.  I've had this movie for many years and watched it many times, and I was stunned as I was watching it this afternoon and parts still had me laugh out loud. 

It also struck me that a lot of voices sounded familiar, so I'm wondering how many of the Canadian actors also did cartoon voices.

I really don't have much more to say.  It's funny.  That's pretty much all you need to know for a comedy.

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