Now Playing: KING KONG VS. GODZILLA
I had high hopes for THE DUKES OF HAZZARD, the big-budget remake of the rural hit TV series, considering the participation of director Jay Chandrasekhar and his Broken Lizard cohorts. I think their movie SUPER TROOPERS, which came out in early 2002, is one of the best comedies of the decade, a rollicking, goodnatured slacker comedy obviously influenced by ANIMAL HOUSE. Unfortunately, some bad casting and a reliance on JACKASS-styled slapstick really sink DUKES.
Them Duke boys, Luke (Johnny Knoxville) and Bo (Seann William Scott), run into big trouble when Hazzard County dictator Boss Hogg (Burt Reynolds) frames them for moonshining and steals their farmland so he can strip-mine it. The plot could have been ripped straight from the TV show--which is fine; it only needs to be strong enough to support the car chases and genial humor--but the crass, cynical humor certainly isn’t. I don’t want to overstate the quality of the ‘70s television series, but at least its lead characters were intelligent, good-hearted guys who loved their family and friends. That isn’t the case in this movie, where Cooter (David Koechner) tries to solicit a hummer from Duke cousin Daisy (Jessica Simpson, who is terrible) as payment for rebuilding their racecar, a ’69 Dodge Charger nicknamed General Lee.
Besides Kevin Heffernan, who has some fun as a redneck pal of the Dukes, the other members of Broken Lizard are relegated to barely-there cameos, including a return of two Super Troopers that is kinda fun, but has nothing to do with the story and feels more obtrusive than entertaining. Only Chandrasekhar as director appears in the movie's titles as editor, writer or producer, something in which they were involved in their previous films, although interviews indicate that they may have polished or even heavily rewritten the screenplay. They don't appear to have much fondness for the source material, turning Bo and Luke Duke into sex-crazed morons with a penchant for causing each other pain and embarassment. I watched the unrated DVD, which has way too many naked breasts, sex jokes and f-bombs for a movie about the Dukes of Hazzard County. M.C. Gainey is Sheriff Rosco, downgraded from imbecile to evil minion of Boss Hogg, and Willie Nelson is a dope-smoking, sex-minded Uncle Jesse.
Broken Lizard's first feature was shot on the campus of their alma mater, Colgate University, around 1995-96. For years only seen on campuses and at festival screenings, PUDDLE CRUISER (I don’t know what the title means) finally hit DVD recently with misleading cover art meant to resemble an idiotic T&A comedy. It isn’t, but it’s not quite as inspired as SUPER TROOPERS or as absurd as their next movie, CLUB DREAD.
PUDDLE CRUISER is a romantic comedy where the least interesting aspect is the romance. The best parts of the film occur when two or more of the Broken Lizard guys are onscreen, but unfortunately the film revolves around the efforts of one of them, Felix (Steve Lemme), to date a girl whose boyfriend plays rugby at a different university. Chandrasekhar was still polishing his directing skills, as CRUISER's pacing is too slack and the banter among the actors isn't snappy enough, but there remains enough silliness and good gags to make the movie a decent rental.
I got out more than I expected to this weekend, considering how cold it has been. It's 5 degrees as I write this, but I still went over to Chicken's to watch the Bears beat Atlanta on ESPN this evening. The Bears keep winning--gotta give 'em credit--but they sure are getting plenty of breaks. Their defense is excellent, of course, but I don't think it takes much to stop Michael Vick, who's a very overrated QB, IMO. He has a strong arm and he can scramble, but so far he hasn't shown me that he's a winner.
More importantly, my Bengals clinched the AFC North today, their first division title since 1990, which was also the last year they were in the Super Bowl. They're 0-2 in Super Bowls. Could this be their year? Well, it looks like the Colts (who took their first loss today) are the front-runners, but I can dream, eh?
Roger and Eric had a kickass party on Saturday. I got there around 4:30 and didn't expect to stay too long, but I didn't leave until around 11:00. Besides one drunken idiotic gay guy who keeps crying, falling down and sitting on my lap, there were a lot of cool people there and plenty of good food and drinks. It was quite a festive Christmas party, but I think the key was the toilet seat cover, which lights up an image of Santa and his reindeer. I can honestly say I've never seen anything like it.
Here's what has played on iTunes since I started writing:
"Dance On"--The Shadows
"Smooth Thrill"--Francisco De Masi
"The General"--Frank Skinner from GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN
"I'll Be Back Upon My Feet"--The Music Fair covering The Monkees
"No Milk Today"--Herman's Hermits
"Train on a One Track Mind"--American Breed
BLACK MAMA, WHITE MAMA radio commercial
HALLOWEEN Main Title--John Carpenter
Harry Nilsson's theme to THE COURTSHIP OF EDDIE'S FATHER
"Google Eye"--The Nashville Teens
"My Mind's Eye"--The Small Faces
The main title of THE FIRST NUDIE MUSICAL
Radio spot for THE SPOOK WHO SAT BY THE DOOR
"My Baby Loves Lovin'"--White Plains
Hey, I'm up to 2490 songs now.