cast and crew information
Scene: Paul Dooley's strained courtroom testimony: "Just
because I don't know what it is doesn't mean I'm lying,"
a defense used most notably in the recent Microsoft anti-trust
Specs: Wide Screen (1.85:1), English Dolby Digital 2.0,
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (they're Canadian, eh), English,
French and Spanish subtitles
to our DVD review, eh? Today we're going to be talking about
a movie that is definitely $19.98 worth of enjoyment for
me and my entire family. In a year of great DVD releases,
what you really need is one that features fleshy-headed
mutants, plenty of back bacon, and beer. And if you don't
like it, take off, eh?
last month Warner Home Video quietly slipped a cult classic
onto the marketplace. Fans had been asking and waiting for
this one since the days that some of us worked for the late
Daily Radar. Wait no more, because now we have Strange
Brew is available on DVD, still as hilariously (and
intentionally) stupid as ever.
created on SCTV to satisfy a Canadian broadcasting
bylaw, Bob and Doug McKenzie (Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas)
were never meant to be successful. Rather, Moranis and Thomas
would just climb onto their "Great White North" set and
improvise on some topic (usually beer) for the minimum two
minutes of "purely Canadian content" that the government
demanded. A throwaway bit, the McKenzie Brothers ended up
being the only SCTV idea to make it successfully
to the big screen.
comedy geeks will be able to cite other sketches from SCTV,
and certainly many of the actors on that show are still
around. But most people remember the show for the McKenzies,
and no other SCTV characters can claim an album (featuring
the hit single "Take Off," with vocals by Rush' Geddy Lee),
a movie, and action figures. (Really inaction figures, as
all they do is sit drinking beer and eating donuts.) In
a strange way, The McKenzie Brothers are even bigger than
any SNL spin-offs, as their popularity keeps surging back.
DVD package reflects this. In addition to a decent transfer
of the film, Warner has included snippets from different
stages of the McKenzies' development.
the SCTV archives, the disc features "How To Stuff
A Mouse Into A Beer Bottle," a pivotal sketch that features
exactly what the title implies. The dimwitted brothers believe
that this trick will allow them to get free beer, and this
theory gets the plot rolling in Strange Brew.
is, once the plot does get rolling. Like the brothers themselves,
Strange Brew just sort of ambles and gets distracted
a lot. Almost a movie next to a movie, it begins with the
duo introducing their home movie, a mish-mashed Super 8
sci-fi film. Though the studio had given them money to make
it, they blew it all on beer.
movie shifts to a theater where a disgruntled audience walks
out, and after the brothers flee, nobody ever mentions that
they're well-known public figures again. Instead, they're
revealed to be the pathetic losers we'd expect, and in their
quest for free beer end up working at Elsinore Brewery.
While there they end up saving the world from the evil mind-controlling
scheme of Brewmeister Smith (Max Von Sydow).
the name "Elsinore Brewery" rings a bell, yes, this movie
is actually a completely screwed-up adaptation of William
Shakespeare's "Hamlet." And if that doesn't tip you off
that there's a lot of incredible smarts going on behind
the stupidity, nothing will. Trust us; good stupid
comedy has to have brains.
free of commentary (would we really need to know?),
the disc offers a few production bios and a glossary of
Canadian terms. Real fans don't need it, but newcomers might.
Of real note is a "preview" of an animated series.
intended for the internet, The Animated Adventures of
Bob and Doug McKenzie recreates a lot of their knucklehead
charm. The preview establishes a new supporting cast of
characters, many voiced by Mr. Show alumni. Produced
by Thomas' own Animax Productions, fans can only hope this
project gets picked up somewhere, and doesn't falter like
the previous unproduced McKenzie project, Home Brew.
(Unless Warner sees this DVD's popularity soar and wants
to revive that one…hint, hint?)
will notice that Strange Brew started life as an
MGM film, and that studio's logo is crucial to the opening
credits. A lot of MGM's library was sold off in the '80's
and ended up with Warner after Ted Turner sold out to them.
Whatever the protocol in such cases may be, the distributor
kindly left the original studio opener and closer intact.
our advice and pick up this DVD. It's beauty, eh? We'll
see you hosers later.
Strange Brew at Amazon.com