The Essentials- #4
Strange Brew (1983)
I never watched "The Great White North" on TV. I was not alive for it, it was mainly a Canadian venue, and the show seemed to have disappeared by the time I was born. It doesn't seem to matter though, because if one were to check out "Strange Brew," I feel like they would not need any prior knowledge of these characters. It is pretty self-explanatory from the get-go.
The movie revolves around Bob and Doug McKenzie (played by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas...the actor, not the Wendy's guy.) and we follow them on their adventures (and misadventures) they go through to get beer. As the movie opens, the brothers are still running their own TV show called "The Great White North." The brothers are hosting their first theatrical premier, a movie they made through their "Great White North" gig. Does the premier go well? Don't make me laugh, the movie is very silly from the beginning, and their premier goes less than well. After the premier, the brothers are caught giving money to unhappy moviegoers and they sneak away from the theater to escape a horde of other moviergoers who want their money back.
When the brothers get home, their parents are watching TV and the brothers go straight to the fridge to get beers. There are three beers left; one for Doug, one for Bob and one for their dog Hosehead (yes, the film takes place in Canada.) Suddenly the dad requests a beer, and the brothers are determined to supply their father.
So they pour the beer from Hosehead's bowl into a beer glass and plan to give it to their dad.
When they realize that the beer looks gross (Due to leftover dog food particles.) they fight over who will deliver the beer to their dad. This results in the McKenzie brothers dropping the glass. Their dad makes them get beer first thing in the morning. When the brothers ask for money, their father reminds them of the money he gave them that morning - which they gave to unhappy moviegoers at their film premier!
The rest of the movie features the McKenzie brothers and their quest to get beer for free. They go to Elsenor Brewery for free beer (They put a mouse in a beer bottle and plan to lie to the brewery saying they found the mouse in a bottle of Elsenor beer!) At this point, the movie is off and running on a hilarious road as the brothers uncover a plot Elsenor Brewery is involved in. Apparently, the brewery is planning to get everyone addicted to Elsenor beer at the next Octoberfest!
The TV show "The Great White North" was originally a skit on a Canadian version of SNL. SNL needs to watch this movie and take notes. This is how one turns a skit into a successful comedy. Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas shine as two dimwitted brothers who get wrapped up in a crazy conspiracy. The film also features brainwashed hockey players, a fly dog wearing a cape and a magic arcade game. It all sounds really stupid, but the clever writing makes the material delightful and charming.
The rest of the cast is really good. Max von Sydow, so wonderful in The Exorcist, plays Brewmiester Smith. The man who wants to be in charge of Elsenor Brewery, he is also the man behind the plan to get people addicted to Elsenor beer. Lynne Griffin plays Pam, a young woman who has inherited Elsenor Brewery after her fathers shocking death. Paul Dooley stars as Claude. Pam's stepfather who is trying to buy out Pam so that he can own the Brewery. Claude is Smith's right-hand man and he also knows the truth about Pam's fathers death. Angus MacInnus also appears as an ex-hockey player working at the Brewery, and becomes friends with the Mckenzie brothers. All the actors do really well in the film.
There are tons silly situations and witty scenes which will make you laugh. But if you are not a fan of slapstick comedy, don't worry. There are small little offbeat scenes in the film which will also make you snicker. This is a fun little film from the early 80's that nobody seems to talk about. It is without a doubt worth checking out. If you like goofy comedies, if you miss Rick Moranis or if you just love beer, you owe it to yourself to see this movie! Now take off ya hoser!