Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.
Okay. Literally passing out now. Too tired. Reviews. Here. Read.
Bonjour SeÃ±ior Knowles,
Saintsyn here stepping out of the shadows of the Talkbacks with my first ever review. I was given this grand opportunity due to the fact that I spent this past evening basking in the glory of the inconceivable godliness that is Bruce Campbell. You see we here in the Houston area had the honor of not only getting to see and hear the Grand Poobah of Poozers, but also were witness to one of the few screenings of Bubba Ho Tep. The evenings festivities at the River Oaks Cinema started with a Q & A session with Mr. Boomstick himself where he was his usual witty, charming, sarcastic, humble, completely hilarious self. If anyone has ever had the pleasure of hearing him speak, they know just what I mean. He is great with the crowds and knows how to work those fanboy buttons! After this was the less than spectacularly organized book signing for If Chins Could Kill.... Following the arduous long lines for this, we were corralled back into the theatre for a special screening for Bubba Ho Tep. I have to say this now.... Hollywood, get your friggin head out of yer ass and distribute this movie!! In the words of the man himself: “Not all B-Movies are bad, and not all Big Budget movies are good.” This film was a wonderful piece shining from amidst the sea of turds currently floating out of Hollywood.
The movie, based on the short story by Joe Lansdale (himself in attendance last night) was the bizarre little story of what REALLY happened to Elvis. Not to give too much away, the King has been wasting away in anonymity in an east Texas rest home. How he got there and why is part of the charming backstory that I won’t divulge here. Through a series of strange mishaps resulting in the deaths of some of the rest home residents, Elvis (Bruce Campbell under some serious make-up) and the man who may be an incognito JFK (Ozzie Davis) end up tangling with a soul sucking mummy. That, in a nutshell is the plot. But while the story itself may be simple, it allows for a great deal of character development and subtle layering that is not present in many of todays movies. Campbell here is given a chance to really act and his take on Elvis is at once bitingly funny and sadly pathetic. He’s angry at what his life has become and lashes out at the people and events around him in what are some of the movies funniest moments. Ozzie Davis’ JFK is also quite humorous in the bizarre sincerity of his belief that he was JFK before conspirators turned him into a black man with sand in his head. The climactic showdown with the mummy had some of the most crowd pleasing moments and it was a true rush to be in a movie that received cheers and applause in so many parts. This is a great movie in search of a home. Bruce Campbell’s grassroots push to get it seen should itself be applauded. if this movie plays anywhere near you, you should definitely seek it out. It IS worth your time, and maybe, if we bitch and moan loudly enough, the right people will see it and it’ll get it’s true place in your local multi-plex.
One more. Here it comes.
The Abstruse One here with a review of Bruce Campbell's latest effort (no, not Serving Sara)...BUBBA HO-TEP! For those that like spoiler warnings, I will be discussing the plot, but not the ending...and I'll try to not spoil any of the good gags...
Just to put this in perspective, the screening started about 9:45 or so with Bruce giving a short talk and being his normal, smart-ass-but-you-love-him-for-it self. I got at the building about 6:00 or so hoping to get in to the Q&A and book signing. However, the organizers of the event were either unprepared for the huge turn-out of Bruce Campbell fans, or they were just unprepared in general. The signing was a complete clusterfuck with no one knowing what was going on. However, I got in line to get into the theater early just for the hell of it. After sitting on the sidewalk for about half an hour, I realize my feet are asleep. So I stand up to walk around a bit, not realizing both my entire LEGS were asleep and that I had no muscle control in them at all. The next 20 minutes or so are a blur and involve a broken taillight on a jeep in the parking lot and the back of my head. Lots of dizziness. So I recover from my head trauma and everyone within about 30 feet, realizing I'm now okay, proceed to laugh their asses off at me. I don't blame them, though. If it weren't for the ringing in my ears still, I'd probably be laughing my ass off about it.
Anyway, we get into the theater ten minutes after they told us they'd let us in and Bruce takes the stage fifteen minutes after they said he would. Again, not blaming Bruce, blaming the people who didn't realize Bruce Campbell is god and would attract that many people. Bruce did a brief talk and Q&A which, unfortunately, I don't remember much of (I blame the concussion). However, one part I do remember is someone asking Bruce what the least favorite of all his films is. He proceeded to turn his back to the crowd to keep it anonymous and asked us to shout out the one movie of his everyone wants their money back for. Nearly everyone shouted "CONGO!!" in unison. Bruce turned around and asked for a volunteer to play a Paramount Studio Executive. Bruce then pitched a film directed by the man who did Alive and Arachnophobia who also produced almost every one of Steven Spielberg’s films, written by the Academy Award winning screenwriter of Moonstruck based on a best-selling novel by Michael Crichton, shot by 5 time Academy nominee cinematographer for The Color Purple, Empire of the Sun, and ET, and edited by the man who cut Chaplin and In the Line of Fire as well as won an Oscar for cutting Lawrence of Arabia...would you greenlight it? "Some things look better on paper than they actually are." Shortly after that, someone (who, due to head trauma after having the back of his head hitting the front bumper of a jeep, should have kept his mouth shut) shouted out "Serving Sara!" Bruce's reply was simply, "That just proves that just because it's a A-list movie doesn't mean it's good and just because it's a B-movie doesn't mean it's bad!"
On to the actual film, BUBBA HO-TEP. The plot is simple. Elvis Presley is alive and not-so-well in a retirement home in a small town in East Texas (big pop for the mention of Nacogdoches in the film from the Houston crowd). Having grown tired of his life of fame in the mid-70s, he sought out the best Elvis impersonator to switch lives with for a while so that he could slow down and enjoy life. Unfortunately, before he could switch back, the impersonator died and the only proof the real King had of his identity was destroyed in an accident. Elvis's main worries at this point in his life are a bum hip and some strange puss-filled infections on the end of Li'l Elvis. Staying at the retirement home with him is a black man who claims to be the assassinated president John F. Kennedy. However, not all is well in the retirement home, as an ancient Egyptian mummy has been released and somehow (probably the ingestion of the public water supply) has become a redneck. A redneck mummy. A Bubba Ho-Tep as it were.
This film is not a mainstream film. This is a very unfortunate fact because it's a very entertaining film. The mood tends to jump a lot and it's not quite sure what kind of movie it wants to be -- genuinely creepy, really cheesy, or hilariously funny. So it pulls you in all three directions, but it doesn't fully devote to any one of the three. The funny parts are INCREDIBLY funny, the creepy parts will send shivers up your spine, and the cheesy parts would make Lloyd Kaufman and Roger Coreman proud. It has a kind of magic that glues you to the screen, but at the same time you want it to focus more.
Bruce Campbell does an amazing job as The King in his twilight years. He has the kind of charisma on the screen that makes you believe that this is a man who is used to women throwing panties and hotel keys at him but is reduced to using a bedpan and creeping along with a walker. Ossie Davis is also incredible as Jack Kennedy. By the end of the film, you'll be wondering yourself if Lyndon Johnson just might have dyed the man's skin and replaced his brain with a sandbag. Ella Joyce plays the nurse in the film and nails the role of someone who is used to humoring the senile and insane ramblings of her patients but is also worried that they may fall too far into their alternate reality.
It would be a horrible shame for this film to be buried in a direct-to-video release. It's a wonderful film that, despite it's flaws or perhaps even because of them, just works to keep you entertained throughout the film. As a comedy, it's a breath of fresh air in that it is funny without being overly crude. As a horror film, it relies on atmosphere and acting to create tension rather than using cheap scare moments or unnecessary gore. Even though some of the special effects could be better, their effectiveness on-screen isn't diminished in the least. This film deserves to be seen and seen on the big screen with a theater full of people. Hopefully, someone will see how well it works and give it to the public in the manner it deserves.
The Abstruse One
Thanks, guys. I’ll be back with more updates later. Sweet god, I must rest now...