Monday, June 22, 2009


WHAT THE MONSTERS TAUGHT ME: The Most Interesting Man In The World lives vicariously through Bruce Campbell.


Bruce “That Scenery-Chewing Demon-Fighting USA-Networking Sumbitch” Campbell, Luigi the Forgotten Raimi, Mickey Rooney’s Chinaman one-upped, the emo Jughead, the failure of the Oregon state legislature to regulate ancient head-chomping demons, the armies of dorkness, and the scariest Chinese monster since General Tso's Chicken.

More details here.


The small mountain town of Gold Lick, Oregon is being terrorized by the reawakened Chinese guardian of lost souls Guan Di who’s slicing off heads with his demonic Guandao blade and gigantic moustache. The creature was stirred from slumber after a magical amulet was stolen from a cursed tomb where hundreds of Chinese laborers were buried in rubble after a tragedy decades ago. As the townsfolk are getting flicked like flies off bean curd, nerdy teen Jeff (Taylor Sharp) summons the courage to do the only thing a sane person would do when his home, family, and life are threatened. Yes, kidnap Bruce Campbell. Said Bruce is busily mugging away at his latest cinematic atrocity “Cave Alien II” where he is despised by his coworkers, ignored by his director, and poisoned with bodily fluids by the crew. Bruce repays the hostility with pomposity, rudeness, searing insults, and threats of new butthole tearing. God, I love this man. And so do his fans as he’s bombarded with autograph requests and stupid Evil Dead questions outside the studio. But despite the adoration, Bruce is a miserable man who’s searching for something new. Nut his asshole agent (redundant?) Mills (Ted Raimi) keeps dicking him around finding him nothing but sewage-level low budget movie work. Bitter and piss-pot tired of the B-movie limelight, Bruce returns to the Campbell shack and drowns his sorrows. In the morning, he’s shocked to find himself locked in the trunk of Jeff’s car and surrounded by the cheers of the doomed townsfolk of Gold Lick who have found themselves a savior. You see, Jeff has persuaded the town that only Bruce, veteran of dozens of rubber monster and vivacious demon attacks, can save them. Convinced he’s part of a put-on, Bruce milks the attention for what it’s worth, gets a free meal, and hits on Jeff MILFy Mom (Grace Thorsen). But when he discovers that the evil is real and that Gold Lick is actually a reboot of Hooterville only far more stupid, he craps his pants and hightails it back to Hollywood. But Bruce’s overbearing but cowardly ego is no match for the sentimental tub of goo he is deep down inside, so he returns to Gold Lick with a boomstick in one hand, a thousand rounds of ammo in the other, and 10,000 smirks.


My old friend El Bombastico once said it best when he described film actor and movie star Bruce Campbell as the “Fonzie of B-Movies”. And indeed the chiseled-face Campbell is the Kirk of Smirk, the King of Geek Cool, and the Chin That Launched a Thousand Orgasms. But aside from the bigger than life persona he has honed into self-parodic perfection, Campbell is also a cantankerous, corny, and caustic cad of bad movie legend. Fully aware of his awful awesomeness, Campbell is a champion of genre entertainment having starred, co-starred, and made cameos in dozens of horror, sci-fi, and yes monster movies in an over two-decade career. Perhaps best known for his demon-fisting Ash character in the Evil Dead movies, Bruce Campbell is synonymous with cult celebrity, himself a combination of campy romp, spirited self-depreciation, and gruesome anti-social behavior that has earned him millions of loyal fans. That said, My Name Is Bruce feels like a sweaty fanboy love letter written to Campbell to appease his fictional (?) wind-baggedness, filled with cheap jokes, goofy slapstick, and a parade of obvious references to his prior work. But maybe that’s what writer Mark Verheiden (himself a beloved cult figure in my opinion) was trying to do: bellow out in TV movie style the glory that is to beholden at the, shall I say, tremenditude of Mr. Campbell. If that was his intention, it kinda failed. The movie is way too zany and aware of its own ineptitude and satirical atmosphere, which kind of ruins the irony and the fun. And the humor was less than I was hoping for too. Pee-pee and tranny jokes? Really? In my rare optimism I expected a film in which the crappy monster turned out to be a true terrifying creation of fully realized demonic proportions, not just another dude in a cheap costume. How awesome would it have been to see Campbell face off against the Cloverfield monster, or the ravenous fast zombies of the Dawn of the Dead remake, or the Jonas Brothers? Although a sweet homage to an unsung hero of B-movie mythology, My Name Is Bruce is a concoction best served with a liberal dose of brain-smashing irony and unconditional Bruce Campbell affection.

And lots of sugar, baby.

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