My Name is Bruce

Bruce Campbell’s love letter to his fans really delivers.

Campbell directs himself in this film, playing a character parody of himself. Confused? Don’t be, because the concept actually makes sense. An alcoholic womanizing asshole Bruce Campbell is so much more fun to watch than what I assume the ‘real’ Bruce Campbell us like…a normal guy with a kickass job.

‘Movie’ Bruce lives in a trailer in the woods, alone but for his whiskey swilling dog. He’s in the middle of filming Cave Alien, which may or may not be worse than the films ‘real’ Bruce actually makes these days. When the town of Gold Lick is threatened by a killer samurai named Guan-Di – the patron saint of bean curd – Bruce is kidnapped by the locals to defend the town from harm. Little do they know that Bruce Campbell is nothing like the badasses he plays in the movies…

There are plenty of references to Campbell’s films and TV shows…even Alien Apocalypse, which *is* worse than Cave Alien. Ted Raimi plays not one, not two, but three roles – see if you can spot him in all three. There are even cameos from a few other Evil Dead series actors, but I won’t ruin the surprises.

If you love Bruce Campbell and know his career, then this film is for you. If you have never heard of Bruce Campbell, fuck you.

 

The Love Bug

Bruce Campbell + old Disney movie from the 60s = what the fuck?

I can’t think of a lot to say – good or bad – about Bruce’s follow-up to the Love Bug series. It was a formulaic, “25 years later” type of sequel that Disney is so fond of. Fate brings Bruce and Herbie together and of course, Bruce is the last one to believe that maybe Herbie has more than a little personality. My biggest complaint was the complete and utter lack of chemistry between Bruce and his love interest, Alexandra Wentworth. You know who would have been GREAT in that role? Parker Posey. Disney should have gone indie all the way and gotten some fireworks going.

If Herbie the car is inhabited by the soul of the carmaker’s dead wife – why did he name her “Herbie”?

So, if Herbie is supposedly ‘the love bug” – does that mean that when couples start smooching while inside of Herbie, that Herbie is actually there, like a voyeur – watching them? When you think about it, the couple is actually sitting on Herbie’s lap…okay, I am stopping this train at the station, because it’s about to derail into a really disgusting pile of group car sex.

I can’t blame Bruce for taking a paycheck from Disney – over the years, many fine actors have sold their souls to the mouse. What’s one little made-for-TV Movie on his resume?

I don’t exactly feel like I wasted my Sunday morning watching this – at least I didn’t sit through the Lindsay Lohan version.

Spider-Man 3

So the Black Spider-Man suit is like Axe Body Spray? It puts a spring in your step, makes you irresistible to women and worst of all…gives you finger guns?!?!?! I fucking HATE finger guns.

Kirsten Dunst’s voice double was ridiculous. It didn’t sound like her in the least bit. No wonder she got shit-canned.

Harry was better looking with half his face burned off. James Franco is just too smarmy and frat boy looking, but scar tissue and a wonky eye adds character.

Topher Grace was inspired casting as Eddie Brock. The best moment in the whole film is when he asks Jesus to kill Peter Parker – just the right amount of evil, sarcastic and pathetic. He must have been working out for YEARS in preparation for this film, because there wasn’t a sign of skinny Eric Foreman left. He might well have a movie career ahead of him beyond asinine romantic comedies like Win a Date with Tad Hamilton. I’d like to see his evil side in a non comic book movie.

I got sick of the Mary Jane drama really fucking quick. My husband said it was like that in the comics too – he apparently spent more time fighting with Mary Jane than with the villains. How in the world do adolescent boys put up with that crap? I just can’t imagine little boys reading issue after issue of a comic book that repeatedly deals with the same relationship bullshit, over and over again. It’s near impossible to get a heterosexual male of any age to talk about his own relationships, but he’ll read 100 issues of a comic dealing with the same crap he won’t deal with in his own life? I just don’t understand it…

Bruce Campbell’s obligatory cameo was his best yet…and the longest so far. His cache is rising again, what with the Old Spice commercials.. He’s hungry like the wolf. Maybe Sam will actually let him play a villain in the next one?

My husband said it was “…by far, the crappiest of the three,” but I thought it was on par with the second one, maybe a little more preachy and meandering. I could have done without the evil Peter dance scene. It made me feel very uncomfortable and I started squirming around in my seat…mostly because I was afraid he was gonna start singing “Fever” himself. So I assume they’re gonna make another one. I’ve changed my mind and am hoping that they do include Firestar and Iceman this time, now that Harry is out of the way. Spider-Man needs some new friends.

Man with the Screaming Brain

Bruce Campbell tried, bless his little heart.

This film is all Bruce – he wrote it, he directed it, he starred in it. And this is the Bruciest Bruce movie that I’ve ever seen. It takes full advantage of his aptitude for physical humor. He even gets to fight himself, ala Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness. Yes, the plot is asinine. SO? It still made me laugh. I dare anyone NOT to laugh at Bruce Campbell riding around on a tiny pink Vespa.

Bruce Campbell is an American business man who travels to Bulgaria to invest in their unfinished Subway System. While his wife is fucking their ex-KGB cab driver, Brucie is killed by a horny gypsy. The crazy, horny gypsy then kills the ex-KGB agent, who is also her ex-boyfriend. Confused yet? A mad scientist (is there any other kind?) then sticks the ex-KGB agent’s brain into Brucie and the fun begins. There process hasn’t been perfected, hence the “screaming” brain.

My husband tried to say that this was the worst movie he has ever seen. No fucking way, I replied. It’s not even the worst movie we’ve ever seen on the Sci Fi Channel, much less EVER. So he asked me to name some. Easy – MANSQUITO! Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys. Sabretooth. Alien Apocalypse. Chupacabra on a Boat (Okay, that’s not the real title, but I can’t remember what the real one is). So my husband relented – maybe it’s not the worst movie he’s ever seen – maybe just the worst one today?

 

Alien Apocalypse

Somehow, Bruce Campbell has ended up on the same boat as Corey Feldman and Vanessa Angel – the Sci Fi Channel stock player boat. I understand Bruce, I really do. You gotta make a living. And I know that your mug has amazing value in the sci fi world – why give up and guest on a sitcom or land a bit part in a crime procedural? There’s no shame in straight-to-cable schlock. But seriously, Bruce – Alien Apocalypse SUCKED.

The apocalypse in question occurred when space termites (yes, I said termites) landed on Earth and conquered it in order to obtain our precious natural resources – shades of V? Wood is a delicacy on their planet, so they are exporting it…not because they are starving – but for profit. Right. Anyway, wood is heavy, so they have enslaved the human race to work in sawmills. The part I don’t understand is why the space termites use other humans as slave drivers. What’s the benefit? I guess space termites are lazy? Oh yeah – and they’re also carnivorous and eat human fingers.

Bruce Campbell is Dr. Ivan Hood, DO. Yes, he’s a DO, not an MD. Not sure why it’s such a big deal, but he goes on and on, talking about how Osteopathy gets no respect – how that’s relevant to the film, I’ll never know. (One of my best friends is studying to be a DO, she also worries about the lack of respect toward her career path – maybe it’s just a DO thing.) Anyway, he’s ALSO an astronaut and he crash lands back on earth after a 40 year mission only to find space termites in charge of the planet.

Now at this point, you’d think that the Ash-style ass-kicking would start – that’s what the commercials led me to believe! But, nooooooooooooo! What does he do instead? He treks to find the president, HEALING people along the way. No thank you – I would like some boomsticks, please.

Bruce, I don’t hate you or anything. I’m not even mad anymore. I just want what’s best for you…what’s best for US. So Bruce, please, read the script BEFORE you agree to star in another Sci Fi Channel movie.


Spider-Man 2

Let me get my gripes out of the way first…

The title sucks. What was wrong with “The Amazing Spider-Man”? Or how about “Spider-Man Returns” or “Spider-Man Forever,” ala Batman. Even “Spider-Man II” would have been better than “Spider-Man 2.” There’s just something so trashy and Police Academy-esque about arabic numerals in film titles. Don’t even get me started on bullshit like Cradle 2 the Grave.

As for the dialogue, there were too many goddamn speeches. I especially hated Aunt May’s hero speech. It was long and awkward and contrived. Don’t tell me that it’s a throwback to the comic book style – I don’t care. If I’m watching a movie, I don’t particularly want it to sound like a comic book panel, even if the movie is based on a comic book.

One more thing – when the landlord’s daughter invites Peter over for “chocolate cake,” why does she feed him yellow cake? I appreciate that it’s yellow cake with chocolate frosting – but if someone pulled a bait and switch like that with ME, I’d be super-pissed. Yellow cake is gross.

OK, I’m done ranting now. Other than a few nitpicky things, it was good movie. About what you’d expect. Standard Superman II format. Bruce Campbell and Ted Raimi made their appearances. An Evil Dead reference was made. No surprises here.

I was surprised by how much Spider-Man kept revealing his secret identity. He couldn’t keep his mask on to save his life. And I don’t care what the people on the train say – at least one of them is gonna sell their secret to the National Enquirer.

So it’s a foregone conclusion that Spider-Man 3 is gonna be made. Let’s just hope they get a little more creative with the title next time around. I have to say that I liked the Green Goblin Junior set-up at the end, but I hope he’s not the only villain in the movie. I also hope they don’t decide that Spider-Man needs some friends – remember Ice-Man and Fire-Star? That would really suck.

  

The Evil Dead

The beginning of a legend…

I remember the first time I heard of The Evil Dead. I was probably in 13 or so and my younger sister had just come back from a slumber party. She began describing the movie they had watched at the slumber party and how scary it was. She described, in vivid detail, the scene in which a girl had been raped by a tree. (In my mind, this was only slightly more fascinating than being raped by a curling iron, as in Sleepaway Camp, which I had also only heard about, but not seen.) I kept asking her why, but she didn’t know. I asked her over and over, so many times that she got really pissed off at me. After that she refused to talk about it any more. Then I kept asking her what it was called and she didn’t know either. I was utterly pissed. My younger sister not only got to see a movie in which a girl was raped about a tree, but she was obviously withholding information from me, so that I would be unable to track this film down! The nerve! Okay, reflecting back, she probably wasn’t withholding this information on purpose, she just didn’t remember. In any case, I was bitter for quite a while.

Fast forward to college. It doesn’t take long for me to figure out that the much fabled Evil Dead series, loved by college students everywhere, is the source of of the tree rape I’d been wondering about all these years. Of course, I get the rat bastard to show it to me. Needless to say, I was hooked.

Evil Dead has something for everyone. For those who aren’t into tree rapes, there’s not so garden variety demon possession. There’s dismemberment. There’s melting claymation zombies. There’s also achilles heel stabbing, which has been a particular phobia of mine since Pet Sematary. Also worth mentioning – blood. Gallons and gallons of Karo Syrup Blood. And best of all…there’s Ash.

You’d never guess that Ash will be the hero during the first half of the film. What kind of guy gives a girl a magnifying glass necklace? If a guy gave me something like that, he’d end up with it shoved up his ass. He is such a damn pussy. Up until the very moment that everyone else is dead, you’d assume he’s the next to get zombified. Nope. All his friends are dead, so he has no choice but to become a bad ass. Okay, not as much as a bad ass as he is in the next installments, but hey – he makes it out alive, doesn’t he?

So Sam Raimi has a nice little cottage industry going. Even if he never makes another Spider-Man movie again, he’s set up for life on Evil Dead Marketing. There are three different Evil Dead DVDs right now! I have The Book of the Dead Version, a squishy latex monstrosity made up to look like the Necronomicon. It smells really bad – like burning condoms. There are a decent amount of special features. I just watched the movie with the Bruce Campbell commentary. He does a good job of talking throughout the whole thing and not leaving too many uncomfortable silences. I’d already heard about half the anecdotes he had to share about filming, but there were still enough new ones to keep me interested. The one drawback is that the Sam Raimi/Rob Tapert commentary is separate – so I’ll have to watch the whole thing again to see what they have to say about it. Also included is Bruce Campbell’s documentary, Fanalysis. He describes the convention circuits and his relationship with his fans. He manages not to look down on his fans (even the fucking freaky A-KON types), while at the same time, keeping a safe distance. There are also some cut scenes and outtakes, which are really hazy and weird. The best part is the still gallery, which has loads of pictures from the production. The pictures give you some idea of the hell that they must have gone through making this picture.

Watch The Evil Dead and you’ll never look at a tree in the same way again.

   

Bubba Ho-Tep

Is there anyone better to spend Halloween (and my wedding anniversary) with than Bruce Campbell?

After waiting probably over a year, Bubba Ho-Tep finally opened at the Angelika as part of the Deep Ellum Film Festival. I almost peed on myself from excitement as we were waiting in line to get into the theater. Less than five minutes into the film, I knew it had been worth the wait.

Bruce Campbell stars as Elvis – Elvis now, present day – an old coot in a rest home. Elvis traded places with an Elvis Impersonator and it was the Impersonator who really overdosed on the toilet. His compatriots in the nursing home begin dying at an even higher rate than usual and he must get to the bottom of it. He’s assisted by John F. Kennedy, passionately played by Ossie Davis. Yes, THE Ossie Davis. He says the CIA kept a piece of his brain, dyed him black and let him go. Yeah. After some investigation, the old codgers discover that the nursing home residents are being knocked off by a grafitti-happy mummy that kills his victims by sucking their souls out via an orifice…I’ll give you three guesses which one…

Most of the big laughs in the film come from Elvis’ ruminations on the dysfunction, infection and later resurrection of his pecker. There’s no nudity, very little gore in the film, but by golly, it still warrants a solid R Rating on the running commentary of the state of his penis. Thankfully, we never see the pus-oozing sore causing all the soliloquies…

Maybe Bruce Campbell will finally get the credit he deserves as an actor. He really was Elvis. Admittedly, there was always a little bit of Elvis in Ash – “Hail to the king, baby.” There was not even a tiny smidgen of Ash in Campbell’s depiction of Elvis. Despite Campbell’s penchant for physical comedy throughout the Evil Dead films and beyond, the physical comedy of portraying a geriatric Elvis required subtlety…and Campbell definitely came through. Gone was the sheer joy of seeing Ash being hit in the head 43 times in a row…instead the audience was given the pleasure of Elvis going after the mummy on a Hoveround.

Sitting through the end of the credits, we were teased with the message “Elvis returns in Bubba Nosferatu: Wrath of the She-Vampires.” Please, please let this be true.

Damn, damn, damn good film. It’s playing at the Angelika until Thursday, November 6 – so get your ass down there pronto!

 

Evil Dead II

It’s not my fault no one wanted to watch Transylvania 6-500!

It took almost an hour to pick the Sunday movie today. After going through every single DVD we own, we decided on this one. Everyone had seen it except my sister-in-law, and – from the look on her face throughout the film, she probably should have kept it that way.

I guess I just came from a different place. When I was in college, everyone loved the Evil Dead movies. At least I thought they did. Maybe my ex was just projecting his ‘lust’ for Ash upon everyone else. In any case, Deadites were definitely ‘IN’ in the 90s. Evil Dead II was even a No Elvis Film Series selection, courtesy of our film professor’s extensive laser disc collection. (I know, I know, heresy – we couldn’t get access to film projectors for a while and had to resort to laser discs and videos.)

Evil Dead II is the sequel/remake of The Evil Dead. The beginning vaguely recaps the first movie, well insofar that it gets Ash to the cabin with a dead girlfriend, though strangely without the friends in the first film. After she’s been chopped up with a chainsaw, the film moves into definite sequel territory, with even more carnage than the first one. The main difference between this film and the first is that the laughs are intentional. There’s no tree rape in this one though. Bummer.

So Bruce Campbell hates the legacy of Ash now. Insert world’s tiniest violin here. There’s something to be said about the cult status he has achieved. There is no shame in being a strictly B-Movie Actor. So he probably won’t be getting an Oscar anytime soon. Cuba Gooding Jr. has an Oscar and he does shit like Snow Dogs. Even Bruce has never gone THAT low.

I got a good drinking game for you – one even more toxic than SMURFS! Watch Evil Dead II and drink everytime Ash gets whacked in the head. You’ll be in the Emergency Room before the credits roll!

Spider-Man

SPIDER-MAN…from the man who brought you…The Evil Dead?

I found myself asking…myself…that in the theater. Can this film possibly be by the same guy who envisioned a camping trip SO horrible that a women was raped by a tree? Has the once cult Sam Raimi sold out to become big box office? Truthfully, I was becoming nervous in the theater, thinking this is not Sam Raimi, this is not his universe, this is film is normal – until of course Bruce Campbell made his appearance. Phew! What director would not give their eyeteeth to bring one of their favorite comic books to the big screen? Sam Raimi sell out? No, of course not…at least not yet. The moment of truth will be ten or so years from now – will Sam still be churning out the Spider-Man pics or will he have abandoned it and moved on to some greater works?

So yes, America was right this time – this is NOT another Titanic! No sir, this is a GOOD film. In not trying to please the American minions, it has succeeded in pleasing the people who really matter – the FANBOYS. You know them, you fear them, you smell them – the FANBOYS. Most of my friends are FANBOYS, though they would never admit it, though they smell fresher than the average FANBOY. From the FANBOYS, I learned that the film followed the comic rather closely – Raimi concentrated on the fact that Peter Parker is an average guy, with average problems – crappy job, crappy friends, no car and girl problems. Peter Parker is actually a dork. A likeable dork, but dork nonetheless.

Willem Dafoe is actually uglier without the Green Goblin mask – how is that possible?

The upside down kiss will go down in film history as the sexiest kiss ever. I read an interview with Kirsten Dunst on how horrible it was to film, I guess she’s got to have something to complain about, being in possibly the biggest film ever made.

The end pissed me off. Yeah, I know it was supposed to. But I wasn’t pissed off because MJ and Peter didn’t get together, I am pissed because she decided she loved him. I saw no reason whatsoever she should love the dork…yet. There just was not enough background for me to believe her undying love yet. Maybe they are just going by the old Superman standard – set-up in the first movie, but no payoff until the second.

By now, I’ll bet you’re noticing the date on this review…yes, I saw it three weeks after opening weekend. Yes, I saw it last weekend. Yes, I know I am lame, but sometimes, real life gets in the way of my love of film. Did I mention that I got my CCNP yesterday? Expect more work on the site – I promise!