The Best “Eh” Movie Ever

Has got to be “Strange Brew”.

For those of you who think Canadians are not funny, I have news for you. Canadians are some of the funniest people on the planet. Guess it’s all that ice and snow and long winters. They have a lot of free time and there’s nothing else to do but knit and tell polar bear jokes.

Like: How many polar bears does it take to break the ice? Just one. Once he’s swigged down a bottle of Péché Mortel Imperial Stout, he’s the life of the party.

Just look at a few of the members of the Canadian Comedy Establishment who have made the long, treacherous journey to the US: Dan Ackroyd, Jim Carey, Mike Meyers, Seth Rogen, Martin Short, Tommy Chong, Samantha Bee, Caroline Rhea and Ted Cruz. You’d think that there were no comedians left in Canada. But there are.

Just watch “Strange Brew” (1983). It has Canadians, of course. Those lovable mugs, Bob and Doug, the McKenzie Brothers, are just two. It has more beer than you could shake a polar bear at. You can’t get through a scene without tripping over an eh or a hoser. I’d say that is some pretty good reasons why this is a Canadian comedy.

By the way, just a footnote. “Strange Brew” is a remake of “Hamlet”. Bob and Doug are regular Rosencrantz and Guildensterns.

It’s my understanding that Bob and Doug had beer on set everyday for all the cast. So if the movie is a little hazy at times, you’ll know why.

So see it. If you can, see it with some Canadians. They can translate some of the Canadianisms for you.

More Comedy 

Is the world ready for more comedy? That’s what I lie awake every night wondering.  Isn’t there way too many chuckles in the world? Too many guffaws? Too many chortles?

Since I run this here blog, my vote counts. And I say that what Americans want, what Americans need is more comedy. There just isn’t enough funny in this country.

Next Wednesday Uncle Bardie’s Stories & Such brings more comedy for your enjoyment. It will be another novel, parceled out into chapters.  And it will be here for your delight. That is the way Mr. Dickens did it. If it was good enough for Dickens, it’s good enough for me.

If you are looking for history and the facts, The Absolutely Unbelievable Endearing Adventures of Lady Marye Wimpleseed-Prissypott is not for you. No, this is what I refer to as a historical frolic. The history may not be correct but it was never meant to be. If I followed the facts, none of this adventure would take place. Instead I’ve thrown in a bit of this and a bit of that with a generous smattering of that and this and the other and come up with a “stew” that might be fun to read.

 A tale in the tradition of George MacDonald Fraser and his Flashman novels, and the movies “The Perils of Pauline”, “The Great Race” and “Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines”. It is what I hope the readers will agree, jolly good fun. As far as the facts are concerned, both you and I know ghosts do not exist. At least, I haven’t met one yet. But don’t tell B. P. Nutt, Early Grey and Sir L. J. Since they are the spectres who haunt the halls of Haggismarshe Manor house, I think they would disagree most fervently.

The spirit of the tome is meant to be read on a dark and stormy night or at the beach on a warm summer day. It is a complete waste of time. Then so are many other activities we love and take part in. Who is to say that having a good laugh is time wasted? After all, such a thing has been known to cure a cancer or two. My goal for writing this frolic was not so noble. It was written simply to give the reader a good laugh.

Next Wednesday A Royal Sendoff

Uncle Bardie’s Movie of the Week: British Comedy Anyone?

Once a week on Monday, Uncle Bardie shares a movie with his Readers he gives a big two thumbs up. It will simply be a short excerpt or a trailer. Uncle Bardie might even throw in a reflection on the movie. If so, it will make an appearance below the video. So pop some popcorn and give yourself a treat. This week’s movie is “The Ladykillers” (1955).

Hollywood is the capital of remakeology. If it was made, we can remake it. That’s the philosophy of Hollywood. But the Coen Brothers. I gotta tell you that when they started rolling in the dough, they lost it. In their pre-Big Lebowski days, they could do no wrong. After “O Brother Where Art Thou”, my suspicions are that they got George Clooneyed. If not that, what then?

I mean who in his right mind would want to remake “The Ladykillers”? C’mon. But the Coens went and done it anyway and it wasn’t pretty. And they didn’t stop there. They had to go and do it again with “True Grit”, which wasn’t that great a movie in the first place. Jeff Bridges as John Wayne was entertaining. But Tom Hanks as Alec Guinness. No way. Guess you figured it out by now. I hated the remake of “The Ladykillers”. Unfortunately I paid real money to go and see it. So I hated it twice as much as I would’ve had I got it from Netflix.

There was nothing to do but re-see the original. Produced by Ealing Studios, this black comedy about a robbery gone wrong has one awesome cast. In addition to Alec Guinness, there’s early Peter Sellers before he became The Peter Sellers of the sixties. There’s Herbert Lom, who was Peter Sellers’ nemesis in the “Pink Panther” movies. They are supported by two other wonderful character actors, Danny Green and Cecil Parker. They all play members of the original Gang Who Couldn’t Shoot Straight. And last, but not least, the wonderful Katie Johnson as Mrs. Wilberforce. She’s the the old lady who, in her innocence, foils the crooks.

In the capable hands of director Alexander Mackendrick, “The Ladykillers” has gone the distance and come out a champ as they would say in boxing. It is number 13 on the BFI Top 100 British films. Personally I think it should be higher. But you can’t go wrong with “The Third Man”, “Brief Encounter”, “Lawrence of Arabia”, “The 39 Steps” and “Great Expectations” in the top five spots. So maybe # 6.

As we say in the South, “The Ladykillers” is a good’un.

Uncle Bardie’s Movie of the Week: An Offer You Can’t Refuse

Once a week on Monday, Uncle Bardie shares a movie with his Readers he gives a big two thumbs up. It will simply be a short excerpt or a trailer. From time to time, a reflection on the movie will appear below the video. So pop some popcorn and give yourself a treat. This week’s movie is “The Freshman” (1990):

There are movies I can see dozens of times and they always make me laugh. “A Fish Called Wanda”, “Thank You For Smoking”, “The Ref”, “Office Space” and “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”. I sit down to see one of these gems and I know for sure I am going to have a good time. “The Freshman” falls into this category.

It’s the story of the country bumpkin (Matthew Broderick) going off to the big city. Clark Kellogg is the Freshman of the title. He’s been waiting a good many years to get out of the house, escape a stepfather who’s a little bit…well, let’s just say he’s off. Clark is off to see the Emerald City, go to movie school and fulfill his dream of being the next Spielberg or Scorsese or Coppola. He’s a bit naïve. Not just a bit, but a lot.

Clark takes the train to New York City from Kansas or Nebraska or New Hampshire, one of them places. Gets as far as Grand Central. Then the twister hits in the form of a guy who is throwing fahgettaboudits around like he invented the word. The guy is persuasive. You look persuasive up in the dictionary there’s a picture of his face. He takes Clark for everything he’s got, including his only $600.

Clark goes to his academic advisor, Arthur Fleeber, with his dilemma. All Fleeber can say is that Clark must have the textbooks to attend his class. The books all being by Fleeber. Then he sees Mr. Persuasive from the professor’s office and he leaps out the window and he’s off. Finally he corners the thief.

Clark: Robbery is not legal?

Mr. Persuasive: Depends on the circumstances.

Mr. Persuasive offers Clark a job. A thousand-dollar-a-week job. As they say in the movies, you follow the Yellow Brick Road. You don’t know where the hell you might end up.

Besides that great opening, here are some other reasons I love that movie:

1.Dialogue: Clark asks, “Why do I need a gun permit?” Tina Sabbatini answers, “You need one to carry a gun, silly.”

2.Marlon Brando gives Clark an offer he can’t refuse.

3.A marriage proposal that Clark cannot get out of. Talk about shotgun weddings.

4.Marlon Brando on ice skates. Very graceful.

5.Bert Parks singing a memorable version of the Miss America theme song.

6.A kimono dragon. He should have gotten an Oscar.

7.The Mona Lisa. Yes, that Mona Lisa.

8.Mr. Persuasive, the actor Bruno Kirby going through his paces.

9.Maximillian Schell as Larry London

10.Chasing a kimono dragon through a mall.

11.Clark gets a memory that will last him a lifetime.

12.Penelope Ann Miller as Clark’s fiancée. Don’t know what’s wrong with Clark. I would have married her.

13.It’s not good when you are a stockbroker and your client is a mob guy and he says to you, “I don’t like it when I hear that my stocks go down.” Guess that’s why all those stockbrokers took a flying leap in 1929.

The movie even has poetry in it. I am not kidding. It features poem as a real live poem:

A Doorway on Boylston Street
There’s a certain doorway on Boylston Street
that I passed by on foot, suited and shod,
one of many each Tuesday,
toward lunch with a certain woman,
regarded each Tuesday by the perfect turning gaze of a white Persian,
regarding me, love-bound and sped by desire,
and returning to the certainty of his fur.

There are dozens of other reasons I love this movie. Let’s just say that when the pros get a great script, magic happens. As Tony the Tiger used to say, “It’s Grrrrreeeeeaaat.”