The Man. The Legend. The King… and a Mummy?!?

If you read my review/first look of Burn Notice you would know that I’m kind of obsessed with Bruce Campbell. Actually, I really don’t know how you’re not obsessed with him. I mean, he’s Bruce Campbell: B-movie god and just all around cool guy. Seriously, how can you not be obsessed with a man who wrote a book called Make Love the Bruce Campbell Way?

Anyway, we’ll move past the fact that if you aren’t a Bruce fan you obviously don’t take your entertainment seriously and go directly into my take on Bubba Ho-Tep.

Elvis (Bruce) is far from dead; he’s been living in an old folks home somewhere in Texas under the name Sebastian Haff for years. Of course, nobody believes him – except the black guy down the hall who insists he’s really JFK and he was dyed black so nobody would know who he was. Not exactly what you would call a ringing endorsement. Is it any wonder the elderly rock ‘n roll icon spends almost all his time lying in bed contemplating the possibly cancerous growth on the family jewels?

Then several tragedies strike. What’s an aging rock ‘n roll star with a growth on his nether-regions to do when a soul-sucking mummy shows up and starts taking out the elderly at the Shady Rest Nursing Home? Don his rhinestone-studded white suit complete with cape, throw on his huge sunglasses, and pull out his walker, that’s what.

Luckily, he’s not alone. Jack (Ossie Davis), the black man who believes himself to be JFK, also joins the fight, which is a truly hilarious picture when it also involves a motorized wheelchair. Together they’re taking it upon themselves to rid Shady Rest of the cowboy hat-wearing Egyptian mummy Elvis dubs “Bubba Ho-Tep”.

Is the story cheesy and over the top? Yes. Is the idea of an ancient walker wielding Elvis and a possibly black-dyed motorized wheelchair riding JFK teaming up an exercise in rampant silliness? Yes. But is it funny? Undoubtedly, yes.

Bruce is in fine form as the elderly Elvis. It’s not just how he talks, it’s also how he handles his walker; you can clearly see he hates the thing but he’s stuck with it. Then there’s the way he insists he’s Elvis when nobody else will believe him. Except for Jack, of course, but as mentioned above he thinks he’s JFK and that he’s been dyed black to keep anybody from knowing who he really is. His room is a hilarious museum of pictures of people having to do with the JFK assassination and even a model of the street in Dallas where he was shot. I think the thing I love the most about Jack is how indignant Ossie Davis plays him. He’s clearly fed up with continually telling people he’s really JFK and dealing with their placating yet totally disbelieving tones.

The mummy himself is a slow-moving creature that survives by eating the souls of others from one of the body’s more, shall we say, uncomfortable orifices. For some odd reason it also runs around dressed like a cowboy, which almost forces you to ponder all the possibilities of an ancient Egyptian ruler (like King Tut) in a cowboy hat, boots, and pants that are entirely too tight held up with a belt buckle the size of Texas enjoying a day at the rodeo. Because the mummy moves so slowly old people are his only option for what I guess you could call survival and at Shady Rest it’s clear he’s hit the all-you-can-eat buffet.

Probably one of the greatest things about Bubba Ho-Tep is that even the little things give you a laugh, but it’s not forced. Outlandish maybe, but no more so than a 2,000 year old Egyptian mummy dressed like Garth Brooks terrorizing a random Texas nursing home that just happens to house Elvis and a black man who thinks he’s JFK. My favorite little moments have to do with the guys tasked with picking up the bodies of the nursing home’s most recently departed. Having worked in medicine myself and seeing some horrible things I’ve had to develop a morbid sense of humor and I’d imagine working with dead people also forces you to develop a similarly morbid sense of humor, some of which is, I’m sure, completely unintended.

Verdict: A-. While not as strong as the movies in The Evil Dead series Bubba Ho-Tep is definitely worth seeing if you are a Bruce Campbell fan and let’s face it, everybody is, some are just in the closet about it. Bruce Campbell was able to take material that would have ended up as MST3K fodder for sure and turned it into a hilarious romp through absurdity. You know you want to see this film.

Rated R for language, some sexual content and brief violent images.

Mine Eyes Have Seen the… Glory?

Sorry there hasn’t been much going on in the way of posting. I’m working on something with a friend that involves Photoshop and, well, me and Photoshop have not exactly become good friends yet. But I’m learning how to use it, which is something I never thought I’d get around to.

Anyway, on to another review.

The EyeThursday I decided to sit down and watch The Eye because I like a good scary movie and I’d never seen it before. The premise: A blind woman gets a corneal transplant and is thus able to see for the first time since she lost her sight when she was five years old. It’s not quite the dream she thought it would be, however. Adjusting to all the extra input from her eyes would have been bad enough, but she’s also seeing things that aren’t there, which causes her to do crazy things.

As terrible as I am with storylines and as tolerant as I am of just about anything, I was not impressed. Jessica Alba is Sydney Wells, a blind classical violinist with the chance to regain her sight. First of all, Jessica Alba is not my cup of tea. I honestly don’t know why, but I could care less about the characters she plays. Maybe I’d know why if I went to film school. But that won’t happen and, in any case, she’s uninteresting.

Secondly, I just didn’t find myself caring about anything that went on. The other characters bored me to tears, and, to be perfectly frank, came off as very unforgiving. The only person in the whole movie to believe Sydney could see things was a woman we see for a total of about a minute on an elevator and has one line in the whole movie. One. Everybody else who knew Sydney before she went under the knife – knew that she was level-headed, had a good job, a decent social life, had never gone off her rocker – assumed that she was crazy right after a fairly minor surgery. The closest the surgical team got to her brain was putting new corneas in her eyes. As a medic with a good sense of anatomy I can confidently assure you that a corneal transplant does not involve the brain in any way, shape, or form. Yes, it was perfectly normal for them to think she was cuckoo at first, but you’d think that at least one person she knew would sit down and listen to her after a few days of the same thing. Not just some random person in an elevator.

The ending felt anti-climactic. And, let’s be honest here, if there are major explosions going on and the only thing between you and those explosions is a station wagon that is most certainly not equipped with ballistic glass windows are you seriously going to stare through those windows at the approaching wave of destruction? Yeah, me neither. But then, I’d like to think I’m smarter than a box of hammers.

I’ve read through the description of both the original Hong Kong version and this American remake and while the plot sounds almost exactly the same I think I’d rather have seen the Hong Kong version. Anyway, the Asian film remakes are feeling tired. When The Ring came out I was scared. The Grudge was also very good (sleeping in a Japanese futon in a Japanese house was a bit frightening after watching that movie, I’m not going to lie). But, like Dark Water (a movie I desperately wanted to like but just thought was so-so), The Eye doesn’t pull it off.

I know, this review seems short, but I can’t bring myself to write much more about it. Really, I’m that bored with this movie. Plus I have a stack of The X-Files comics and I’m in the middle of my fourth watch-through of Psych (an infinitely better way to spend my time than thinking about The Eye).

Verdict: C D*. I’d say if you’re looking for a storyline that involves a woman who sees things, ghosts from the past, and a creepy atmosphere, rent The Return. It was by far a much more interesting movie and Sarah Michelle Prinz (formerly Gellar) is a much more interesting actress. As a matter of fact, if you want to watch an American version of an Asian film that at least has a decent scare factor, go rent The Grudge. Or The Ring. Or just go rent the actual Asian film (Ringu for The Ring and Ju-on for The Grudge); if you don’t have Netflix, Blockbuster should have both.

*My previous rating bothered me and so I realized I just wouldn’t be able to get away from this movie until I gave it a more proper rating.