Netflix Instant Review: Tucker & Dale Vs Evil

January 10, 2012 § 7 Comments

Not to brag, but I’ve seen like a thousand horror movies.  *blows on fingernails*rubs nails on chest*

Oh wait, it’s not bragging if it’s an incredibly nerdy thing to say?  You mean, there aren’t like millions of people that are jealous of the fact that I’ve spent literally months of my life just watching horror movies?  Are you trying to imply that’s why I’m single?

Touché guy in my head talking to me.  Touché.

Though being a horror movie connoisseur may not have gotten me a lot of dates during my 29 years, it has given me a large knowledge on the history of movie cliches and common story-lines.  It also means that I’ve seen a whole lot of shitty horror movies.

“Teens go camping in woods, run across rednecks that kill them,” is one of the most over-used and poorly done sub-genres in the business.  For whatever reason, every time a wanna-be director decides to get into the business, he starts with the “teens in woods” movie that was first made popular in Friday the 13th.  I guess because it’s cheap and it allows for maximum booby exposure.

When I started to watch Tucker & Dale vs Evil, I became worried early on when a group of questionable “teen actors” were driving into the woods and were using the same old sex and marijuana cliches that I had seen dozens of times before.  However, I gave it extra credit because I had heard the movie was good and it had great reviews on Imdb and Rotten Tomatoes.

Also, because it had Katrina Bowden.

Here’s a fun fact: Katrina Bowden is the most beautiful woman.

The next time you are trying to stump your friends, use that piece of trivia!

Things I would do if I could just meet Katrina Bowden:

  • Anything

So, while I had to give the movie a chance based on reputation, I at least felt comfortable knowing that Bowden (30 Rock) would be on screen some of the time and that was plenty for me.  I just wasn’t yet at ease with the first scene, not knowing if it was done for satirical reasons or because they were being serious.

Lucky for all of us, it turned out that Tucker & Dale was making fun of horror movie cliches, not using them because it thought it was original.

While Bowden would provide the looks (let’s just take one more look at that actually…)

While Bowden would provide the looks, Tucker and Dale would provide the laughter.  I’ve always been a big fan of Alan Tudyk, who plays Tucker.  I’m not sure what you best know Tudyk from, but he’s been in Firefly, Dodgeball, I, Robot, (I, Robot might be the most annoying movie to put in a list because of it’s comma,) and Suburgatory, just to name a few of many of his credits.  I probably best remember him as Steve the Pirate in Dodgeball or in A Knight’s Tale and screw you don’t judge me.

Tudyk kind of reminds me of Steve Carrell, in a way that he’s got perfect comedic timing.  I’m not sure that he’s got the kind of funny that would translate to doing stand-up, but just give him your comedy and he’ll dominate it.  Which kind of makes me sad that we couldn’t have seen him replace Carrell on The Office.

Tudyk on left, Labine on right

Playing alongside Tudyk is another comedic actor that I’ve kind of liked for awhile, Tyler Labine.  He’s been working in the business for 20 years now, though only recently started to make a name for himself with mainstream audiences.  He had several recurring parts on some not-very-popular shows (Breaker High, Action Man, Dead Last, and Invasion) but I first remembered seeing him in the very-underrated show Reaper.

He got a chance to be a sitcom lead on the short-lived FOX show Sons of Tucson, and then with Jason Biggs on the CBS show Mad Love, but so far none of his shows have made it very far.  Maybe we’ll be luckier for that if Labine can jump-start his movie career.

He got his first big role playing alongside James Franco in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and now a cult-following from Tucker & Dale could be the next big step.

So the stage was set for Tucker & Dale vs Evil to be good: Two good comedic actors plus the hotness of Bowden (it’s been too long….)

means that if the script and directing is good, the film should work.  But there’s no real history to go off of with director Eli Craig, as this is the first movie he has directed.  What we know about him:  He’s the son of Sally Field and he’s married to the Yellow Power Ranger.

Neat.

Can he make a funny horror-comedy though?  Making a funny horror-comedy that works on both a level of humor and blood or scares is something that has launched the careers of many young directors.  But it’s also the death-kill for a lot more, or just something to be forgotten.  (James Cameron, Piranha 2 versus Edgar Wright, Shaun of the Dead.)

The good news for us is that Craig seems to have gotten his career off on the right step.

Tucker & Dale isn’t the funniest horror-comedy I’ve ever seen, it’s not wall-to-wall laughs like Shaun of the Dead, but it’s pretty damn good and really fucking clever.  I honestly don’t want to tell you too much about it, because I don’t want to ruin a single second.  It’s not even a plot that I want to give away because that’s half of the fun.  Let’s just say, I’ve never really seen it done like this before.

Craig uses classic horror movie cliches and turns them against themselves, while challenging our pre-conceived notions about “killer hillbillies” and “innocent teens.”  Meanwhile, Tudyk and Labine are given their first shot to carry a movie and they do it quite well, providing almost 100% of the laughs and making a quite unbelievable story somewhat believable.

If you want to laugh and aren’t grossed out by blood (there’s a lot of it) then you should absolutely stream this shit tonight.  Worst case scenario is that you have to look at this for awhile:

And that’s a pretty damn good worst case scenario.

I give Tucker & Dale vs Evil a score of 7 out of 9 horribly disfigured teens.  

Follow me on Twitter @casetines

The Many Faces of Nic Cage: Cameron Poe /Con Air

January 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

No actor affects me in quite the same way that Nicolas Cage does.  He’s a mystery.  He’s talented.  He’s batshit crazy.  Here are two simple facts about Cage that explain why he dumbfounds me so much:

  • He was genius in Adaptation, award-winning in Leaving Las Vegas, excellent in Raising Arizona.
  • He was in Bangkok Dangerous.

Nic Cage might have the ability to do or be anything he wants.  He might have an acting ceiling as high as Daniel Day-Lewis, but he’s got the standards of a two-nickel whore.  The insanity of Cage knows no bounds, and I assume that off-camera he’s not too much unlike his characters in The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans or Kiss of Death.

Seriously Nic, what the fuck is wrong with you?

One of my favorite faces of Cage though, the one that I start this series with, is bad-boy-but-actually-good-boy Cameron Poe in Con Air.

Fact: Cameron Poe is balding.

Fact: Cameron Poe don’t give no shit ’bout that, he gon’ grow his hair anyway.

He looks like Jared Allen, and that’s not a good thing because at least Jared Allen makes millions.  You’re just white trash, Poe.

The writers of Con Air had to figure out a way to make it so that a “real bad prisoner” would be a good guy that we would root for as a hero.  They decided that the best way to do this was to make him an Army Ranger that accidentally kills a guy that is trying to rape his pregnant wife.

He spent eight years in maximum security prison for this.  I only have one slight issue with the sentence and that’s that he accidentally killed a guy that was trying to rape his pregnant wife.

I get that because he was trained to kill a guy with his hands and then killed a guy with his hands, it’s like he basically shot him when maybe he could have just wounded him, but can we cut a guy a break?  Or how about cut his wife a break?  She’s eight months pregnant and the judge couldn’t go a little easy on an Army fucking Ranger?

Finally, he gets paroled EARLY on good behavior (eight years wasn’t even the full sentence) on July 14th, he’s going to meet his daughter for the first time on July 14th, it’s her birthday on JULY 14TH!

Seriously, this movie wants you to know that July 14th is the best day that anyone has ever had… ever.  His daughter wins life.

Long story short:

Prisoners need to be moved from one prison to another and get on a plane to do it and they take all of the worst low-lifes in America at the same time, including a stop to pick up even MORE low-lifes, but Nic Cage is just hitching a ride home rather than just getting another flight because hey why not save a few hundred bucks and be treated like a prisoner for a few more hours even though you’ve been locked up for eight years?

So yeah, typical story.

The funny thing about Con Air is that even though it’s a ridiculous action movie with a ridiculous premise and terribly cheesy dialogue, it’s not just packed with action, it’s also packed with a great cast.

Beyond Cage, there’s John Malkovich, Steve Buscemi, John Cusack, Ving Rhames, Danny Trejo, Dave Chappelle, Mykelti Williamson, and Colm Meaney.

I don’t know what interested Malkovich in this movie, but I’m so fucking happy that he did it and Cyrus the Virus is one of the greatest movie villains of all-time because of him.

I could do a whole series on John Cusack as well, just one of my favorite actors, and to have Cusack, Malkovich, and Cage all in the same movie is like having sex with the girl of your dreams but it’s finally not only in your dreams.  It actually happened.

Cameron Poe is n0t of of Cage’s most complicated characters.  Poe just wants to go home.  He’s not a bad guy but he’s deadly and he’s got a temper which makes him the perfect in-flight terrorist-stopper.  It’s like Passenger 57 only in this case every passenger except for two of them are the bad guys.

I could never get over that mullet and thought it was always an odd choice for Cage, but then I remembered; what isn’t an odd choice for Cage?

Top Poe Quotes:

  • Put the bunny back in the box.
  • They somehow managed to get every creep and freak in the universe onto this one plane.
  • What do you think I’m gonna do? I’m gonna save the fuckin’ day!
  • Hey! My mama lives in a trailer!
  • On any other day that might seem strange…

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