Monday, August 21, 2006

BUBBA HO-TEP


From the Archive: 5/3/2004
BUBBA HO-TEP

This is one of the coolest films of all time!

You sometimes can never predict why you watch some movies. In some cases, the hype is so big that you're compelled to go. Sometimes your favorite actor is in it. Sometimes you see it because all the critics recommend it. And, sometimes maybe it's because I told you so.

But sometimes, the title is so compelling that you just have to see for yourself. Take the current box office hit Snakes on a Plane. "My god, snakes on a plane! I'm just going to have to see for myself." If they had the balls to call it Snakes on a Plane, I'm going to have the balls to go see it.

Other times, the premise of a movie is soooooo unusual ......
.......so out there ........
.......that it causes a little lump in the back of your brain to vibrate ............
.......and this vibration causes it to drip ......... drip ......... drip with curiosity ............
.......and eventually............
.......over time.............
.......it just begins to flood the part of your brain responsible for logic ..............
.......and then - reasoning.............
.......distorting all other thoughts until ..............
.......for the sake of your sanity and peace of mind ...........
.......you have to see the movie or your head will explode!
Such is the case with BUBBA HO-TEP.

The premise: In present-day West Texas, there is a nursing home, whose residents include Elvis and JFK (yes - THAT Elvis and JFK). They're still alive, oh and by the way, JFK is a black man ("They dyed me! That's how clever they are!"). They have to band together to battle an ancient Egyptian mummy who is sucking the souls from the residents.

That ought to get you going.

When I was a kid growing up in the late 50's and 60's, Elvis was cool for two reasons. One, he wore a leather jacket (we're talking "early" Elvis here). All other performers wore a suit or were otherwise dressed up. He was unique - and he was good then - pure Elvis, before Vegas got him. Secondly, in his movies, he could fight and he always got the girls. What more could an adolescent boy want in a hero. Ironically enough, Elvis is as popular today as ever. And there are still those who believe he's alive, even now, as the occasional Elvis sighting suggests.

JFK was the leader of the free world and, for a while, the most powerful man on earth. His speeches were inspirational, even to a young boy, and I genuinely believe he was a good man. The mythology of JFK has increased over the years, mainly due to mysteries surrounding his death. But despite the myth and a number of impassioned speeches, one is hard pressed to list his accomplishments in office. Fact is, he wasn't able to do much other than piss someone off enough to shoot him. Makes you wonder why that doesn't happen today with our current group. Problem is that the people who are pissed off today are not generally the type of people who can make presidents disappear. JFK pissed off the wrong people.

Politics aside, this film is a wonderful opportunity to pair two of my childhood heroes together to save humanity once again. This is a case where you must, for a short time, lower your threshold of lunacy, and just go along with it. The rewards are many. Not once do these actors step out of character or make you doubt for an instant that they are who they claim to be, even if circumstances, at times, suggest otherwise. There are big laughs here and even bigger smiles. If Elvis and JFK were still alive, I would want them to have this one last shot at greatness.

Top 10 reasons to see BUBBA HO-TEP
  1. Stars Bruce Campbell as Elvis. He looks remarkably like you would expect Elvis to look if he were alive today. You may remember him as Ash in Army of Darkness. What? You haven't seen Army of Darkness. You go see it right this instant!
  2. Ossie Davis is JFK.
  3. They make it seem quite plausible.
  4. A BBQ incident changes the course of history. You don't get more Texas than that.
  5. JFK finally spills the beans on the whole Marilyn Monroe affair.
  6. Bruce and Ossie don't play it up for outright laughs. They play it straight through the whole movie. The laughs come from straight dialog in an absurd situation. That's the charm of this film.
  7. Makes you wish the President and the King were still around.
  8. Despite the absurd premise, the film is smart and moving, and you won't see another film like it.
  9. The mummy takes the time to leave graffiti in the men's bathroom ......... written in Egyptian hieroglyphics!
  10. T.C.B., baby. Takin' care of business.

Enjoy.

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