Bubba Ho-tep   April 21st, 2010

Originally Written 02/02/04

Saw a late-night (11PM) showing of Bubba Ho-tep at an independant theater tonight. The first thing I noticed when we got there was the crowd. It was the usual collection of freaks and geeks, lost of college kids and goth girls in black makeup and fishnet stockings. The theater was kind of crowded, but it was kind of fun having a art-house college film experience. It’s been a few years since I’d gone to one of those. The crowd was fun to watch the film with too. People were laughing, but nobody was being too loud or obnoxious.

The movie was a little disappointing. We were all kind of expecting a typical Bruce Campbell movie, but this was no Evil Dead or Army of Darkness. That wasn’t too surprising since it was a different director. There was one or two fun Sam Rami inspired moments though, like when Elvis is fighting a giant scarab. They did the standard camera tricks that Rami would do, and that was fun to watch. The scarab was also super-fake looking, which added to the amusement. And Jen was all sad when the beetle got squished. “Awww, he was cute” she whined, which got more laughs from us.

It did kind of drag in places, but I kind of liked it. It wasn’t great, but it had its moments, it was clever and I liked the characters. Bruce Campbell was great as an aging Elvis in a rest home. The story of him having switched places with an impersonator to get away from it all, then not being able switch back because his double died, was intriguing. It was kind of neat to see Bruce Campbell place such a restrained and understated role, and Elvis was a nice tragic figure.

Ossie Davis was great as a black guy who thought he was President Kennedy (“No offense Jack, but Kennedy was a white man.” “They died me this color so they could hide me!”). They played him as a nut, but there was just a little bit of uncertainty which let you believe his story was true if you wanted to. Either way the two of them were a fun team and their histories, real or imagined, added to the story. I also liked how it was all about the personal redemption of Elvis as a character getting his life back.

The setting of the rest home was very well done. The set designs just showed how the place was slowly crumbling apart and you got a real sense of decay to it. I liked how the old people stuck there were not just used for cheap laughs, but were handled with some care and the mood was sad and regretful.

The mummy didn’t actually play much into the film, which was a disappointment. It was funny how when he did show up he acted pretty much like a redneck. They found some egyptian graffiti he’d scrawled on a wall in one of the bathroom stalls, which roughly translated into something about Cleopatra’s sex life. Also, the couple of times the mummy spoke, they showed subtitles with both silly fake-glyph pictograms and also the english translation. One of the insults the mummy yells at Elvis was the line of the film: “Eat the dog dick of Anubis, you ass-wipe!” Very lowbrow, but too funny. One friend said that one of the pictograms for that was of a guy whipping his butt. I wish I’d caught that.

So it wasn’t a very good film, but it had its moments and had enough to entertain me. I did still like the main characters.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 21st, 2010 at 4:37 am and is filed under Movies and TV. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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