Movie Review: KICKIN’ IT OLD SKOOL

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kickin it old skool
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
2007
PG-13

“You and me in the parking lot, mano a mano.”
“You had mono? Well, I was in a coma.”

  • At a talent show in 1986, young Justin Schumacher suffers a head injury and slips into a coma. Twenty years later, Justin awakes with the mindset and experience of a 12-year-old. He decides to reunite the members of his former dance team and revive their short-lived careers.

Jamie Kennedy isn’t really a name that a lot of people recognize when it’s brought up in discussions about comedy television and movies. Well, maybe that sequel of The Mask immediately comes to mind, but mostly because that movie was such a stink-bomb that it’s hard to forget such a stench. Before that, he was in the Scream movies, and also a hidden camera prank show that pre-dated the more famous show Punk’d by about a year, on the WB, called The Jamie Kennedy Experiment. Personally, I rather enjoyed the show. And not because I couldn’t watch Punk’d for not having cable, either.

Anyway, when it comes to his movies, I never really go beyond a “well, I have nothing better to do” level of enthusiasm. It was the same when I came across this movie he did back in 2007, Kickin’ It Old Skool. I was never aware of its existence until the streaming site’s algorithm recommended it to me due to a handful of comedy movies I watched on it prior. Yeah, it seemed like your standard wacky culture-shock type movie, but I reasoned that it couldn’t be that bad. Besides, I had some time to kill while I was getting ready to head out to church that Sunday morning.

So, at an annual middle school talent show, 12-year-old Justin “Rocketshoe” Shumacher is breakdancin’ wit’ his crew, the Funky Fresh Boyz (which includes Darnell “Prince Def Rock” Jackson, Aki “Chilly Chill” Terasaki, and Hector “Popcorn” Jimenez), against the obnoxious rich kid trope Kip Unger and his crew, when Justin goes for an untested dangerous headspin maneuver that ends up flipping him off the stage and into a coma. Flash forward twenty years later, and Justin (Jamie Kennedy) is still in his coma, and the hospital administrators are about to pull the plug due to things looking grim for ever recovering at this point. However, Justin is miraculously revived by the Herbie Hancock electro classic “Rockit” playing from a janitor’s radio, and he goes home with his parents. It’s painfully obvious that, although he’s now in his 30s, he still operates with a 12-year-old’s mentality, and he’s having a bit of trouble not only bouncing back from his severely deteriorated physical condition, but adjusting to the equally severe culture shock after 20 years have passed him by. Also, his parents are bankrupt due to 20 years of life support payments. He discovers that his middle school crush Jennifer is now engaged to that rich douchenozzle Kip (Michael Rosenbaum!), who just happens will be, through the miracle of plot contrivance, hosting a breakdance contest that will be broadcast on national television, with a grand prize of $100,000. Figuring this will help him pay back his parents, Justin starts planning getting his old crew back together. Problem is, as stated earlier, they’ve all moved on with their lives: Darnell is a toy store employee and a failed inventor, Aki is an accountant and has shed his Asian stereotype, and Hector is a meter maid. It takes some doing (and the prospect of 1/10th of a million dollars), but the Funky Fresh Boyz are back! And really, really rusty. So they practice to get their Funky Fresh moves back, at one point utilizing a toy I remember selling at Radio Shack. In the meantime, Kip is hoping to not let Justin’s crew win, so he hires the Iced Cole Crew to not only compete in the dance contest, but also to play with Justin’s head like a drunken kitten. Which works, resulting in Justin quiting the crew in a fit of existential meltdown, leading the rest of the Funky Fresh Boyz to bring on a homeless guy to round out the team to continue on in the competition. Surprisingly, this works, and the FFBz advance to the final square-off with the Iced Cole Crew. Then, like clockwork, Jennifer realizes what a jerk Kip really is, breaks off their engagement, and finds Justin to give him the rousing inspirational speech to cause him to go back and dance with the Boyz. Will Justin be able to overcome his insecurities and the specter of his greatest defeat in 1986, and lead his team to victory? *pffft* Of course he does. The end.

I guess there are worse comedy movies to watch than Kickin’ It Old Skool. Freddie Got Fingers pops immediately to mind. As does Dumb And Dumberer. But, I still have to say that, here we have a movie that I lowered my expectations to the point where a dachhund could easily jump over, and I still felt like my time was wasted by watching this movie. This is probably the first instance where I felt embarrassed for David Hasselhoff for having to cameo in this movie. He deserves better.

All the jokes in Kickin’ It Old Skool rely a bit too heavily on 80s nostalgia, almost to the point where one has to wonder if someone sat up and watched all of the VH1 “I Love The 80s” episodes with a legal pad and jotting down all of the comedians’ riffing on the pop culture of the era. I found myself cringing more than anything, and I don’t recall anything even resembling a simple chuckle coming from me at any time. I have to say, though, the best thing about Kickin’ It Old Skool is, in fact, Michael Rosenbaum. He does seem like he’s having a blast. And I will say that the soundtrack is pretty cool, speaking as a child of the 80s.

Overall, while I’ve definitely seen worse comedies than Kickin’ It Old Skool, and this certainly isn’t the worst thing Jamie Kennedy has been involved in, I do realize why I wasn’t even aware of its existence until just now, when Amazon Prime spoiled my pristine ignorance by offering me the glistening shiny apple of mediocrity. You won’t be missing anything by skipping this one.

Movie Review: DOGHOUSE

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doghouse
MPI Home Video
2009
NR

“When we get to the country, we are gonna piss up all the trees, to mark our territory. Then we are gonna find a pub and get so drunk we can’t remember how to speak. And we’ll communicate in grunts like neanderthals, before passing out in the woods.”

  • Six men with mid-life anxiety set out for a weekend in the country in an attempt to reconnect with their masculinity. What they find is a catastrophe so horrible and bizarre that a mid-life crisis turns out to be exactly what they need to survive it.

Hey, look! Another zombie comedy from the UK! I love those! Let’s check it out!

So, a group of guys decide to take a “guys’ weekend” to help their friend Vince deal with his depression over his recent divorce. It kinda helps that they all seem to have women problems of their own, there. So they hire a minibus to drive them out to a remote village called Moodley, where the women allegedly outnumber the men 4 to 1. Only, when they arrive there, the village seems deserted…at first. Then, after a bit of a skuffle involving a teenaged girl and a soldier, they discover that all the women have been infected with a biological agent that turns them all into cannibals that only eat men. Next thing you know, they’re all beset upon by the infected women of the village, causing them to scatter and hide out at various locations, eventually happening upon the military command center, where they discover that a local politician had been involved with the distribution of the toxin disguised as a biological washing powder. Oh, and the zombified cannibal women are evolving into “Phase 2” monsters that are faster and more intelligent. And the only weapon that was designed to stop the zombies isn’t working properly. A bloody battle to survive and the requisite existential quandary moments ensue, leading to an ending that doesn’t exactly resolve much of anything. The end.

Shaun Of The Dead, this movie isn’t. Yeah, you’d be forgiven for automatically making the comparison going into the movie, seeing as that little Edgar Wright zom-rom-com classic is now the watermark to judge all UK zombie comedies. I went in wanting to like Doghouse, as it’s a British zombie comedy, and it co-stars one of the more underrated Doctor Who companions (Noel Clarke!). And while Doghouse does have the standard requisite situational comedy and witty dialogue you come to expect from these flicks, what brings this down for me is the high levels of cynicism and blatant misogyny of the story itself. It may be tongue-in-cheek satire, but it comes off as a bit too mean spirited to be brushed off as fun.

Overall, while Doghouse has a good premise and some rather good effects going, with a script that keeps things going at a good clip, in the end, this seems to be a movie that was done by someone who maybe was turned down for a date in high school and never got over it.

Movie Review: GRABBERS

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grabbers
IFC Midnight
2012
NR

“I need a photograph with it for National Geographic. And Facebook.”

  • On Erin Island, an idyllic fishing village off the coast of Ireland, charming inebriate Ciaran O’Shea is tasked with showing straight-laced police officer Lisa Nolan her new beat. Not that there’s much to police, as most of the community’s troubles are caused by O’Shea himself. But strange doings are afoot: the crew of a fishing boat disappears, whales start appearing dead on the shore, and a local lobsterman catches a mysterious tentacled creature in his trap. Soon it becomes clear to O’Shea and Nolan that there’s something unnatural out there, and that it’s hungry. So it’s time to rally the villagers, arm the troops…and head to the pub.

Grabbers is a monster horror comedy movie that was a co-production between the UK and Ireland, and released in 2012. I wasn’t aware of this movie’s existence until a few years later, when I came across it featured on the Family Video website (I am amazed that physical brick-and-mortar video stores still exist nowadays, somehow). The description made me think I was getting into a low-budget monster flick with middling amounts of pain involved. I was partly right.

Ciarán O’Shea is a Garda (kind of like a policeman, only in the Republic of Ireland) is a bit of an alcoholic slacker on the force, when he’s assigned a new partner, named Lisa Nolan, who is not only (*gasp!*) a girl, but is also a workaholic who volunteered for temporary duty on the remote Irish island that he works at. And a teetotaler. It’s your basic odd couple pairing story device. You know right away that they’re going to be totes a couple by the end of the movie. Anyway, mutilated whale corpses start washing up on the beach, and next thing you know the townsfolk are being attacked by bloodsucking tentacled aliens of various sizes. After the town drunk survives an attack, the local marine ecologist theorizes that it was the high alcohol content in the man’s blood that proved toxic to these “Grabbers”, as they’ve been named. Because there’s a storm that will allow the critters to wander around the town freely, they hatch a plan to get everyone at the local pub under the guise of a party, to keep everyone from rioting and freaking out over what’s going on. This goes as well as you would expect. Baby Grabbers arrive at the pub, the pub is set on fire, O’Shea and Nolan lure the adult Grabber to the local construction site for a final showdown, and while they were victorious, there are a bunch of more Grabber eggs buried on the beach. The end.

Grabbers was a blast to watch. This is your basic low-budget monster flick (only made for 5 and a half million) that is surprisingly well-done, not only in the effects department, but in the overall story as well. The thing that makes it work is the fact that it doesn’t take itself completely seriously–there’s a scene where the Grabber lures the town drunk out of his house by using the body of its victims as a life-sized marionette that got a rather big belly laugh out of me–but just serious enough to make this genuinely scary at times. The characters are fun and palpable, and watching the story unfold was a blast. I know, I know, second time using that word to describe the watching experience, but it’s worth repeating in the same paragraph.

Overall, Grabbers was a surprisingly fun horror comedy. As far as I know, the only one I’ve seen to have come out of Ireland. Fans of Shaun Of The Dead and Attack The Block need to check this one out. Recommended.

Movie Review: WALK HARD The Dewey Cox Story

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Walk Hard The Dewy Cox Story movie poster
Columbia
2007
R

“This is crazy, Dewey. Ain’t nobody gonna wanna listen to music like this. You’re standing there, playing as fast as you can, singing like some sort of punk!”

  • One of the most iconic figures in rock history, Dewey Cox had it all: the women (over 400 served), the friends (Elvis, The Beatles), and the rock n’ roll lifestyle (a close and personal relationship with every pill and powder known to man). But most of all, he had the music that transformed a dimwitted country boy into the greatest American rock star who never lived.

Something seems to have happened to the satirical comedy movie genre. Some time in the turn of the 21st Century, somehow the comedy movies that were spoofing other areas of pop culture were getting lazy, going more the zany route than actually well-crafted tongue-in-cheek spoof. Take, for instance, the classic Airplane!, and compare that to the likes of Epic Movie. Yeah, see the difference? Now, I’m not saying that every spoof comedy movie made in the 80s and 90s was comedy gold; but even the worst ones from that era (*cough* Spy Hard *cough*) had more meat to them than a lot of these dime-a-dozen blockbuster spoof movies nowadays.

Excuse me a minute, while I yell at the squirrels to get of muh lawn, dagnabit.

Anyway, all old man bellyachin’ aside (I just said “bellyachin'”…yep, I’m officially old now), I will say that not every spoof comedy movie made after 1999 is crap. Take, for instance, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. This is a movie that was made some time after the Johnny Cash biopic Walk The Line, that stared Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon as Johnny Cash and June Carter, respectively. But, rather than just spoof Johnny Cash’s early life, Walk Hard also includes some hilarious shots at the history of rock n’ roll, blues and country music pop culture in America all together.

We begin the story with a young Dewey Cox (John C. Reilly!) accidentally cutting his brother Nate in half in 1946. The trauma takes his sense of smell, but then he discovers that he has an affinity for the blues. Later, he preforms a song at his school talent show, which results in his father kicking him out of the house for playing “that Devil music”. So he leaves with his 12-year-old girlfriend (I should maybe point out that Dewey’s 14 at this time, although that may not lower the squick factor much), marry and have a baby. While working as a singer in a nightclub, he catches the ear of a record exec, who has him record a couple of tunes: a rockabilly rendition of “That’s Amore” (it doesn’t do well), and what would become his signature song, “Walk Hard”. The later song becomes an instant hit–literally, like in 35 minutes of its recording–and next thing you know, Dewey finds himself a rock n’ roll idol, and next thing you know he’s caught up in the lifestyle, trying drugs and sleeping around on his wife. Then his mother dies while dancing to one of Dewey’s records, which causes him to start using cocaine, and this is about the time when he meets choir-girl Darlene Madison (Jenna Fischer!), who he records several hit records with while falling madly in love with. So they get married…only, remember he’s still married to his first wife? Yeah, that doesn’t end well, and then he’s jailed for drug possession. After his stint in prison, Darlene returns to him, they move to Berkeley during the counterculture movement, takes LSD with the Beatles, then becomes obsessed with recording his masterpiece. The band leaves him due to his growing erratic and abusive behavior, and Darlene then leaves him for Glen Campbell (ouch). After some more rehab and a visit from the ghost of his brother, Dewey now hosts a variety show in the 70s, manages to reconnect with his estranged father in the most bizarre way possible, he gets a visit from one of his many illegitimate children, which causes him to want to reconnect with family again, regains his sense of smell, and then reconnects with and remarries Darlene. Again. Suddenly he’s popular with the young kids again due to rapper Lil’ Nutzzak sampling “Walk Hard” for his song. He gets a lifetime achievement award, reunites with his band, and finally composes his masterpiece song. And then he died three minutes after that. The end.

Overall, as a pop music history junkie, who loves watching documentaries about music and bands whether or not I like them*, Walk Hard was a great send-up of rock n’ roll biopics and documentaries all together. John C. Reilly once again proves his comedy chops as the lead. Taken as a comedy itself, it’s pretty over-the-top but still rather funny. I would say that Walk Hard is up there with comedies like the immortal UHF and Spaceballs. Recommended.

[*my favorite one being the VH1 Behind The Music episode of Oasis…not because I like their music (I don’t), or found the history all that interesting, but for the fact that, even though the brothers spoke English, they still had to have English subtitles to be understood]

Movie Review: LITTLE NICKY

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little nicky
New Line Cinema
2000
PG-13

“Welcome to the party! It’s so nice to see you all here! I’m so proud of you. You’ve taken to sin with such minimal promoting. You’re acting as if there’s is no heaven or hell. Well, I’ve got news for you.”

  • When your mother is an angel and your father is the devil, life can be really confusing. For Little Nicky, it just got a whole lot worse. His two evil brothers have just escaped from Hell and are wreaking havoc on an unsuspecting earth. His dad is disintegrating and it’s up to Nicky to save him and all of humanity. Can Nicky find his inner evil in time to save the world?

So. Little Nicky. It was inevitable that I would be having to do the review this movie sooner or later. I’ve put it off long enough; it’s time to live this antacid flashback and put this demon to rest. Put very much intended.

It may be hard to believe for some of you youngun’s, but there used to be a time when the thought of watching an Adam Sandler movie wasn’t accompanied by a shudder of revulsion. They may have been more low-brow as comedies go, but there was a certain charm buried in them, and once in a while Sandler could surprise you with an actual good movie.

Little Nicky, released in late 2000, doesn’t necessarily fall under the later part of that statement–not even close–but it’s not entirely irredeemable.

So, in Little Nicky, it’s been about 10,000 years (give or take a century or two), and the Devil (Harvey Keitel!) is supposed to pass on the torch, so to speak, to one of his three sons: the devious Adrian, the cruel Cassius (“Tiny”!), and his personal favorite, Nicky (Adam Sandler!). This causes some sibling rivalry, to say the very least. The Devil decides that none of his boys are ready to take the throne, so he’s staying on it himself. This doesn’t jive well with Adrian and Cassius, so they decide to create and rule their own Hell on Earth, and as a parting gift, they freeze shut the gates of Hell so that no more souls can come in. This results in the Devil starting to decompose. So he sends Nicky to Earth with a silver flask that will trap whoever drinks from it inside. After a few test runs, he meets a talking dog, rents an apartment with an actor, and falls in love with a design student (Patricia Arquette!). Nicky is then able to capture Cassius at a Globetrotters game, where he also meets a couple of hessian metalhead Satanists (Happy Gilmore regulars Jonathan Loughran and Peter Dante!) who become his minions. After another setback, involving the chief of police being possessed by Adrian and accusing Nicky of mass murder, Adrian then manages to push his father aside in Hell and take the throne, and begins to party in Central Park. Nicky then discovers that his mother (Reese Witherspoon!) is actually an angel from Heaven, and is told about a secret power he has because of that lineage. He then has a showdown with his brother, which Nicky wins thanks to the help of Ozzy Osbourne. The Devil is restored, and Nicky marries his girlfriend and has a baby. The end.

Little Nicky falls squarely under the “Guilty Pleasure” file; it’s a bad movie, yes, quite dumb and tasteless…but I can’t help but be bloody entertained by it at the same time. It has all the standard Happy Madison regulars, including a couple of characters reprised for cameos, a bunch of celebrity cameos (including the aforementioned Ozzy), and the soundtrack is pretty awesome. I am inspired to have the opening riff to “Rock You Like A Hurricane” start jamming whenever I enter a room anywhere. And blantant product placement with Popeye’s is fine, but we all know KFC is far more metal than any other chicken place around.

Overall, while it’s not a movie that I’ll rent any time soon, if I happen upon Little Nicky playing on a cable channel somewhere, I wouldn’t mind just leaving it on there. Take that as you will.

Movie Review: PCU

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pcu
20th Century Fox
1994
PG-13

“He’s finishing his senior thesis. Pigman is trying to prove the Caine/Hackman theory. No matter what time it is, 24 hours a day, you can find a Michael Caine or Gene Hackman movie playing on TV.”

  • Welcome to Port Chester University, where the Politically Correct go head-to-head with the Party Animals in the rowdiest comedy since Animal House. With all the new social rules on political correctness, the only fun place left on campus is The Pit, an outlawed underground fraternity house. Here, no behavior is too offensive and no lifestyle too bizarre. These fraternity brothers and sisters are lazy, lawless and loud–and determined to turn PCU back into the party school it was meant to be!

Wacky college campus-based comedies. I have no idea when these type of movies first came about; certainly most would point to the 1978 National Lampoon classic Animal House, but something nags at the back of my head that this possibly couldn’t be the first one of the kind. It’s definitely one of the more prominently popular examples, surely, and one that has become the standard by which every other college frat comedies are measured by. Each are pretty standard, though taking on a bit of the culture of the times. I’ve seen my fare share of these kind of movies. PCU being one of them. Obviously.

So, I originally watched PCU* after it had a New Release on VHS for a couple of weeks. I remember walking to the Blockbuster that was a few blocks from where I was living at the time in 1994, renting it along with Dazed & Confused (another one that I hadn’t watched up until that day; figured a good wacky school comedy double-header was in order that weekend), and watching it. After which I thought, “This was like Animal House, only with David Spade and George Clinton with Parlament/Funkadelic. Oh, and not as funny.”

The story of PCU takes place at Port Chester University, a magical land where all the fraternities have been banned, and every Conservative Talk Show adherent’s worst nightmare is brought to vivid reality: Political Correctness is running rampant on campus! The only legal sport is Frisbee, multiculturalism and sensitivity awareness is pushed beyond extreme limits,  and all the microcosm groups are competing to prove who’s the most oppressed victims of society. Of course, this being the earlier mid-90s, these are all portrayed with the utmost sensitivity as over-the-top caricatures, but then, so is everybody. Standing opposed to all of this is The Pit, a house of grungy party-happy misfits who are the bane of all the groups on campus, including the prestigious preppy group Balls and Shaft (led by David Spade). In comes pre-freshman Tom Lawrence, who is visiting PCU as he’s going to be attending the following semester. And since Tommy boy is written as accident prone, he manages to make short work in making enemies with nearly every group of students, and spends most of his time trying to evade angry mobs. He finds himself taken under the wing of The Pit’s leader, James “Droz” Andrews, who helps school him in the ways of the campus life there. Meanwhile, the college president has threatened to seize The Pit’s campus house unless they pay their damage bill from the previous semester. So, going by College Comedy Movie logic, they decide to throw a bash at the house to raise the funds for the bill. Wackiness ensues, it looks like they’re going to lose the house, but then there’s a final act rescue, and Tom manages to leave before getting the initiation hazing from The Pit. The end.

As zany comedies from the 90s go, I have to admit that PCU is one of my favorites. It is rather funny, and manages to satirize everyone equally and without prejudice. I said this wasn’t as funny as Animal House, and I stand by it–Animal House is a stone-cold classic, and like I said earlier, is the watermark to judge all college-based comedies. It doesn’t mean that PCU was bereft of laughs. Far from it. It’s a movie that doesn’t take itself seriously, and is clearly having fun with stereotypes that, lets be honest, sometimes takes themselves way too seriously. David Spade does what he does best, and that is playing a smarmy douche-waffle hilariously. It may surprise some people to find out that Jon Favreau–yes, that Jon Favreau–plays a senior Pit member that ends up being the guy who inadvertently bring George Clinton and company to The Pit to save the party.

Overall, PCU ranks as one of those movies that I still pop in once in a while, whenever I need a palate cleanser from all the other crap I watch. I recommend checking this one out some time, at least as a rental.

[*Fun Fact: If you Google “PCU” without the word “movie”, one of the first things that come up before the Wikipedia page for the movie is the link to Pawtucket Credit Union bank. Wacky]

Movie Review: MY NAME IS BRUCE

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my name is bruce
Image Entertainment
2007
R

“You know Jeff, I’ve gotten a lot of use out of chainsaws over the years. Killed a lot of zombies, saved a lot of lives. But at the end of the day, when push comes to shove, they’re just too damn heavy.”

  • Something evil is stirring in the small mining town of Gold Lick, and it’s not happy. Guan Di, the Chinese protector of the dead, has been awakened by reckless teenagers, and now his bloody crusade to wipe out the town’s entire population can only be stopped by one man–Bruce Campbell (the guy who starred in all three Evil Dead movies and Bubba Ho-tep), B-movie star and deadbeat ex-husband extraordinaire, who’s recruited to be their unwitting savior. When our hero faces off against a dark force more fearsome than a Hollywood agent, the laughs and screams start flying!

I can’t say that I remember a time when the theme song to a movie got stuck in my head for as long as “The Legend of Guan Di” has. To this day, the inner MP3 Player that is my brain still kicks in with “Guan-you, Guan-me, Guan Diiiii…Guan Di is his name” at the most inopportune times. But, such is the power of a Bruce Campbell movie. Especially one as meta and self-aware as My Name Is Bruce.

Having been a fan of B-Movie and television star Bruce Campbell since I first watched Evil Dead 2 as a teenager, I was aware of My Name Is Bruce since it went into pre-production back in the day. The premise was that only the likes of The Chinned One could do: An ancient evil is unleashed on a small Oregon town, and so the town folk enlist the help of Bruce Campbell, who they believe is a fighter of evil forces because maybe they thought the Evil Dead trilogy was a documentary series. It’s kinda like another favorite movie of mine, Three Amigos. Only, it’s kinda different. Okay, so it’s a whole lot different, with the whole mistaking a Hollywood actor for the real deal and wackiness ensuing being about the only resemblance between the two. But anyway, I couldn’t wait for it to be released. And then one day, it was…on DVD. Not the theaters. Bummer, but not unexpected.

So, here we have a bunch of bored teenagers in the small mining town of Gold Lick (snicker) in a cemetery one night, accidentally unleashing a trapped Chinese god of the dead (and bean curds) named Guan Di from a mausoleum. I mean, who hasn’t, amirite? Anyway, Guan Di wastes no time in killing three of the four teenagers and heads out to the town for some much-needed slicing and dicing of the local populace. It’s been a while, he misses it. Meanwhile, Bruce Campbell is just wrapping up filming on his next classic flick Cave Alien II, when he finds himself abducted by the kid who survived the attack from Guan Di in the graveyard (Guan Di in the Graveyard is my favorite wrestling finisher movie, by the way), who just happens to also be a huge fanboy of Campbell, and figures he’s the right guy to fight off Guan Di. Bruce thinks this is an elaborate birthday surprise by his agent, and mistakes it all as another movie shoot, despite the lack of cameras, a script, and various other things you would normally see on a movie set. Bruce agrees to “help” the town folk, but when he realizes that this whole vengeful Chinese deity thing is all too real, he hot-foots it out of town, which doesn’t set well with the locals. Then the fan boy (whose name is Jeff, by the way) decides to take down Guan Di himself–seeing as how he was the one that set him free in the first place, I’m not arguing–so then Bruce gets a sudden case of conscience, and heads back to Gold Lick to help get rid of Guan Di once and for all.

My Name Is Bruce is awesome. It’s the meta-action-horror-comedy that you didn’t know you needed. It takes the best things we love about Bruce Campbell, and turns it all into a loving satire that makes sure everyone is in on the joke, especially Bruce himself. There’s enough Campbell-themed memorabilia and callbacks in this thing, you’ll need to watch this more than once to catch them all. And it doesn’t hurt that the story itself is pretty good as well. Whether you’re a hardcore fanboy, or just know him as that guy from Burn Notice, My Name Is Bruce is recommended watching of the highest order.

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