Monday, March 09, 2009
Movie Review - My Name is Bruce (2007)
Sheer awesomeness! That is all!
All right, maybe I've a little more to say than that... but that's going to be the summation of my review. I just wanted to warn you.
And, I guess it might be my man-crush on him; or maybe it's my childlike delight in his entire B-movie ouevre; or it might even be my inability to go even one day without quoting him... but it all boils down to the fact that I am incapable of providing an objective review of any movie that the God-like Bruce Campbell does.
And My Name is Bruce is no exception.
The thing is, you either get Bruce, or you don't. If you're a fan, this is going to be a wild trip into all that is good and right and smarmy about His Royal Chinness. If, instead, you're like the beautiful Mrs. Zombie... you have no idea what the appeal of Bruce Campbell is.
And believe me when I say that no amount of arguing or cajoling is going to change that fact. I love Mrs. Zomie dearly, but had I known she wasn't going to share my love for Bruce Campbell, that might have been a deal breaker. Not appreciating Bruce is not necessarily a divorcing offense, but it is something that should be clearly stipulated and expressed in any prenuptial agreements. And if you're single and reading this, learn from Dr. Zombie on this one -- make sure that you've got some compatability on the Bruce Campbell issue... or you're going to have issues later in the marriage.
Especially when you come to bed smelling like Old Spice because Bruce Campbell said to buy it.
But I digress... let's talk about My Name Is Bruce.
I finally got My Name is Bruce through Netflix after an unacceptably long wait and eagerly put it into the DVD player the first chance I got. I'd heard good things about it online, and had even planned on going down to Columbus when it did it's limited engagement theater run late last year. Unfortunately, I procrastinated and didn't get tickets on time. What was worse was that Bruce hisself was there, doing a Q&A. Believe me when I say I was damn near inconsolable in my grief.
The movie itself is a vanity piece where Bruce plays himself, but it's an exaggerated self -- the Bruce Campbell that we know and love from his movies; namely, the cocky, smartass, Ash-like Bruce Campbell.
The plot's simple and straightforward. A Chinese ghost is terrorizing a small mining town called Gold Lick in Oregon; blithely beheading the backwoods citizens who live there. A teen from the town, Jeff (Taylor Sharpe) -- who also happens to be Bruce Campbell's number one fan -- convinces the townsfolk that his hero, the great and awesome zombie killing mo-fo, Bruce, is the only one who can save them.
Bruce meanwhile, is back in LA, filming a cheesy, made for the Sci-Fi channel movie entitled Cave Alien 2. His hopes and dreams of being a mainstream actor are gone and he's a sarcastic, boozing, misanthrope who makes fun of his slavish fans and abuses cripples. He meets his agent (Ted Raimi) at an LA strip club, and he lives in a crappy trailer because his second wife (Ellen Sandweiss - who played Ash's sister Cheryl in Evil Dead)has left him, unknowingly, for his agent.
Bruce is kidnapped by the townsfolk and brought to their town. At first, he thinks that he's part of an elaborate reality-type show or movie, and thinks the town's full of actors, and that he's there to film a role. So, in typical Bruce Campbell style, he proceeds to insult the locals, tries to bed superfan Jeff's hot and buxom mom, Kelly (played by Grace Thorsen), and is his usual boorish and over the top self.
He soon finds out that the Chinese ghost - Guan-Di - is real and runs away... in spectacularly and uber-cowardly fashion.
It's not a spoiler to tell you that Bruce has a change of heart and saves the day... but it's sure fun to watch it happen!
The film is typical low budget fair, but it is well put together. Especially when you learn, as detailed from the DVD extras, that the entire set of the town of Gold Lick was built on a part of the eleventy-bilion acres of Bruce's property in Oregon.
The movie is also a delight in that it was casted with many of Bruce's friends; actors who are familiar to those of us who've devoted unhealthy amounts of time to watching each and every Bruce Campbell vehicle possible. As previously mentioned, Ted Raimi and Ellen Sandweiss make appearances (Ted actually chews up the scenery in three different roles!); but there are numerous others who've worked with Bruce before. They include (in their previous roles) The blacksmith from Army of Darkness and the hillbilly from Evil Dead 2, Bruce's brother and his nephew, and numerous other cast and crew.
In true independent fashion, the other actors aren't quite up to the calibre of Bruce, but this is to be expected as Bruce cast mostly local theater actors for the main roles. The actress who played love interest Kelly was notable in the fact that she was better than most... but was also, truthfully, a normal girl next door type.
The best scenes were those in the beginning where Bruce was given free reign to ham it up as his alter ego. Whether it's insulting strippers and fans alike; drunk dialing his ex-wife, or getting drunk on Old Shemp bourbon with his dog, Sam'n'Rob ("C'mon! Hooch! Hooch for the pooch!!!") - Bruce is best at being Bruce.
There's no mistaking that this is a vanity piece type film. It is all about Bruce and is an ode to his fans. The references to his other movies, boomsticks, and Sam Raimi are heavy handed. And, when held to other similar vanity films (Bruce Willis in Hudson Hawk, or Ahh-nold in The Last Action Hero come to mind), this one is so much more succesful for the simple fact that Bruce doesn't take himself seriously.
I will watch every Bruce Campbell film out there... whether they're Bulgarian-made, Sci Fi Channel suckfests or not... but this film is something more. It's a labor of love and is an homage to the greatness of Bruce Campbell. Rather than resist the typecasting and myth that is Ashley J. "Ash" Williams - Bruce embraces it and gives all geekish fanboys (Doctor Z. Included!) some of that special sugar.
Will Doctor Z. buy this flick? Absolutely. And is it worth spending good money on? Positively.
To sum it up, My Name is Bruce is ... Groovy.
Doctor Zombie's Rating: 5 out of 5 Chomped Brains