Thursday, February 08, 2007

Beerfest, Bedazzled, a list of must-see geek flicks, and Harry Potter is completed

Beerfest is the kind of broad comedy that should've had numbers like Stripes or Dumb and Dumber. Alas, $19,185,184 is the number. Hell, it even has Cloris Leachman (horses whinny in the distance).

I laughed and laughed at Beerfest. Then I fired up the extras and laughed some more.

I usually don't try to summarize plots on movies I'm recommending because to me that's like telling you the punchline to a joke I'm about to tell. Also, plot descriptions can often be deceptively simple. For instance, the plot to The Descent is: a group of spelunking women encounter a colony of folks the Republican party appears to have overlooked thus far; hilarity ensues.

In this case though, I hope to entice you.

Two brothers own a German-themed restaurant/bar "Schnitzengiggles" (har har) after grandpa has died and requested they take his ashes to the famous Oktoberfest in Munich, Bavaria. There they will be contacted by an old friend and be shown where to put the ashes. The boys end up at a super-secret fight-club-like international beer drinking contest called "Beerfest," where the mere mention of America ever having a team solicits only mocking laughter (and this is where the other urns rest, btw). Well, seems grandpa stole the recipe for the best beer ever made, much to the anger of the Germans at Beerfest, and they humiliate the boys by beating them in a beer-drinking game and pouring grandpas ashes on them. Back home they vow revenge and put together a beer drinking team. Hilarity ensues. And that's just the first 20 minutes.

I've gotta expose myself as a wee bit of a hypocrite, kinda sorta. On this blog, and over at my second blog home, the 2blowhards, I've often opined that nudity in the movies makes me uncomfortable. Well, let me be more precise. I get uncomfortable during sex scenes because it sometimes seems only a stone's throw from a porno, and that's somebody's daughter/wife/mom/sister/etc. up there. About the only movie that I didn't feel that way was Body Heat because either Kathleen Turner was having fun, or she's a better actress than most who do those kinds of scenes. (And this from Actors William Hurt and Kathleen Turner wanted the crew to feel comfortable filming their love scenes. So they lined up the crew and both actors introduced themselves to each crew member. When they did this, both stars were naked.)

Truth be told, I actually enjoy gratuitous gratuitous nudity, because a woman flashing the girls atcha somehow seems more innocuous than pretending to do the horizontal bop. It's a form of brag or boast, as it were, and if someone wants to show their pride(s), well that's fine with me.

So, all that just to say Beerfest has plenty of gratuitous nudity, and only gratuitous nudity. It's all just good fun.

The movie begins with a Jackass-like disclaimer that says the folks in the film are professionals and that if you attempt to drink beer as depicted YOU WILL DIE.

Perfect, that.

The original Bedazzled is now available!

And there was much rejoicing!

One of my top faves of all time is the original Peter Cook and Dudley Moore version of Bedazzled. Harold Ramis had a nice go at it with the immensely talented and appropriate Brendan Fraser, but he tried to remake it as a Buddhist fable rather than a Christian one. The result was something akin to Totino's Pizza Rolls: nothing like pizza, but not heinous if you don't know the context of pizza. But if you've had pizza, then ....

I suppose that someone who wasn't raised Christian wanted a quick and easy - not to mention fun - introduction to the ideas (the real ideas, not the Dawkins/Harris "big santa in the sky" stuff), they couldn't do better than this movie paired with a listen to John Cleese's reading of The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis (out of print and hard to get, but worth it).

The fact that the theology is precise in the context of Dudley Moore trying to date the cute waitress at the burger joint he works in is nothing short of amazing.

There is one scene I won't give away, but when I saw this movie for the first time, I laughed so hard I alarmed those around me. I just couldn't stop. The only other time I'd had such a strong outward reaction to a scene was in Evil Dead II when we zoom into the hero's face after he's mounted a chainsaw to his right (recently shortened) limb, and he says, "Groovy." I STOOD UP in the theatre and laughed like a fiend. Had we not been the only three audience members, I'm sure my buddies would've just filed out of the movie in embarrassment.

And speaking of gratuitous nudity, this flick contains the only instance I'm aware of in a pre-movie-ratings age. It's quick and it's subtle, but there it is. (In a vanity/makeup mirror.)

If you haven't seen the original Bedazzled, by all means, get thee hence. If you've seen the new one, believe me, nothing has been spoiled for you.

In other news:

- Here's a list of "Fifteen geek movies to see before you die", which is pretty good. The only two legit omissions I think are Star Wars and maybe Primer.

- The self-proclaimed inventor of the dance "the Electric Slide" has sued websites for copyright infringement for showing videos of people doing the dance, but his real complaint is that they show "bad dancing" not representative of the dance he created. Ok, now, if any of you have had the joy of seeing an electric slide break out, which means you had to endure the song, too, you'll know that everyone out there sliding is at least 3 cups in, if you know what I mean and I'm sure you do (with apologies to Joe Bob Briggs). Isn't that a lot like someone suing the Special Olympics because they haven't set any new Olympic records?

- J.K. Rowling has finished the final Harry Potter novel.

In case it becomes unavailable, here's the author's announcement:

Section: Diary


Charles Dickens put it better than I ever could:

'It would concern the reader little, perhaps, to know how sorrowfully the pen is laid down at the close of a two-years' imaginative task; or how an Author feels as if he were dismissing some portion of himself into the shadowy world, when a crowd of the creatures of his brain are going from him for ever.'

To which I can only sigh, try seventeen years, Charles...

I always knew that Harry's story would end with the seventh book, but saying goodbye has been just as hard as I always knew it would be. Even while I'm mourning, though, I feel an incredible sense of achievement. I can hardly believe that I've finally written the ending I've been planning for so many years. I've never felt such a mixture of extreme emotions in my life, never dreamed I could feel simultaneously heartbroken and euphoric.

Some of you have expressed a (much more muted!) mixture of happiness and sadness at the prospect of the last book being published, and that has meant more than I can tell you. If it comes as any consolation, I think that there will be plenty to continue arguing and speculating about, even after 'Deathly Hallows' comes out. So if you're not yet ready to quit the message boards, do not despair...

I'm almost scared to admit this, but one thing has stopped me collapsing in a puddle of misery on the floor. While each of the previous Potter books has strong claims on my affections, 'Deathly Hallows' is my favourite, and that is the most wonderful way to finish the series.


Whisky Prajer said...

A pleasant potpourri of most things geeky. I was a little surprised Bladerunner didn't make the film list. And God love Ms. Rowling. I can't imagine how she gathered up the wherewithal to deal with the fame/money thing while forging ahead with the books as she'd originally planned.

Whisky Prajer said...

Oh yeah: must also confess to a stifled giggle as the crickets chirp in your "gay marriage" comments.

Yahmdallah said...

I know. It's like you can't have a discussion unless it sounds like a bunch of howler monkeys.

Well the great philosopher Doris Day had a song that applies.

Sleemoth said...

The list is flawed - it ignores the geekiest movie of all time: Revenge of the Nerds!

Booger: Jya get in her pants yet?
Gilbert: She's not that kind of girl, Booger.
Booger: Why, does she have a penis?

Le Magnifique!