Strange Brew (1983)
April 1, 2018 9:53 AM - Subscribe

Canada's most famous hosers, Bob and Doug McKenzie, get jobs at the Elsinore Brewery, only to learn that something is rotten with the state of it.

WaPo: It's bawdy and full of whizzing jokes, what with all the beer-drinking. The film had a $5 million budget, but it cost only $600,000 to make, joke the stars, who say the rest went for beer. But it does have the on-purpose look of a low-budget production. The effects include spray paint and a few little computer-generated whizbangs, but it's almost anti-technological. And that's refreshing. Instead, the two play with standard images, starting the film with a belching, bleary-eyed Leo, the MGM logo lion, followed by a brilliant prologue that includes a homegrown short called "The Mutants of 2051." Then it's on to the real movie, which also includes its share of anarchy.

NYTimes: At the end of the film, which starts and ends as if it were a home movie, the McKenzies evaluate their directorial prowess. One of them makes a little speech thanking the academy, and the other declares this ''a good $5 worth for me and my whole family.'' Maybe. Anyone who's partial to the McKenzies' humor doubtless has a fondness for beer. The price of a ticket could buy enough beer for an experience at least as memorable as this one.


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posted by MoonOrb (13 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Oh wow. I'm going to have to re-watch this. I loved it when it first came out. Max Von Sydow had certainly done some odd jobs in his career! I feel like Wayne & Garth and Bill & Ted owe a huge debt to Bob & Doug.

The courtroom scene with the bloody nose is hilarious.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 11:44 AM on April 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

I still use the line "Join the Dark Side, you hoser!" to this day.
posted by Sphinx at 12:23 PM on April 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

Wow, blast from the past!

I'm just about old enough to remember stubbies with a bottle-opening indentation on the bottom of the glass bottle (with which to open the next beer with).

Growing up in a city on the West coast of Canada, I was never really exposed to the "Canadian accent" thing, and I suspect that even the current "Canadian accent" on SNL is still riffing on this crew of writers/comedians poking fun at the accent.

Three of my current coworkers grew up in rural (and one, super duper rural, like, the town he grew up in consisted of a dozen people - and this isn't an American town with a dozen people; the closest next "town" was a day's drive away) Canada* assure me that the stereoarchetypes and accents from the current TV show 'Letterkenny' is spot. fucking. on.

* (BC interior/central Manitoba, Northern Manitoba/Ontario, Northern BC)

"Max Von Sydow had certainly done some odd jobs"

I just finished rewatching 'Conan the Barbarian' while making a big batch of beef barley right now - and von Sydow has an extraordinary bit part in it. The emoting! The almost tears almost breaking surface tension from his eyeballs. The subtle palsy! The snarl! The old-man-strength! The post-materialism of an elderly father with an estranged daughter!

posted by porpoise at 6:13 PM on April 1, 2018 [3 favorites]

Intermittently hilarious, highly quotable.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:35 PM on April 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

Dave Thomas was on the Gilbert Gottfried podcast recently and talked about the genesis of the act and how they got Max (start ~1h05m, but the whole thing is great).

This movie was SO HUGE for my California suburban cohort. 8th grade was positively saturated with it.
posted by rhizome at 6:38 PM on April 1, 2018 [3 favorites]

For your ringtone needs
posted by rhizome at 9:53 PM on April 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

Max Von Sydow had certainly done some odd jobs in his career!

A friend of mine once got to meet Max Von Sydow, and asked him about his experience making Strange Brew. Von Sydow looked quizzical, said, "Oh yes, I remember that one!" and just started laughing.
posted by the phlegmatic king at 7:40 AM on April 2, 2018 [6 favorites]

This film get's referenced in the Deltron 3030 album, where it get's a brief review. It get's three thumbs up. I honestly didn't think it was a real thing.
posted by gryftir at 6:21 PM on April 2, 2018

"Canadian accent" thing

Americans tend to see it pretty universally (you know, all those "aboots" and "ehs") but there's a lot of variation in the accent across Canada. The guys from Letterkenny are mostly doing a Southern Ontario rural accent (which is funny as they film just outside Sudbury in Northern Ontario but the show is firmly based on Listowel, Ontario). BC is kind of weird with its accent. On the coast it sounds more like an American accent but the interior there's more of a pronounced accent kind of all its own. Bob & Doug always struck me as doing sort of a mish mash of Northern & Southern Ontario accents. Sometimes they sound like my Northern Ontario uncles other times they sound like they are from Hamilton.
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:02 AM on April 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

FWIW, Moranis is from Toronto, Thomas was born in St. Catherines.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:49 AM on April 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

Thomas was born in St. Catherines

Which makes sense... Thomas always had the better accent which is likely why I thought he sounded like he was from Hamilton.

One of the things I liked about watching Strange Brew in more recent years is how much of it is a time capsule for a Toronto (and an Ontario) that doesn't exist as much anymore.

The legacy of Bob & Doug as a trope in Canada is interesting as well. Canadians really latched on to that mythos of the Canadian goofball (AKA hoser - a goofier version of Pete & Joey of Goin' Down the Road fame)... It really has percolated through the culture: Fubar, Trailer Park Boys, Letterkenny, Just Passing Through, Neddeaus of Duqesne Island or real life stuff like Project Grizzly, The Devil at Your Heels, The Rise and Fall of the Grumpy Burger. I found it weirdly comparable to Barry Humphries's Barry McKenzie movies.
posted by Ashwagandha at 9:08 AM on April 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

Yeah, I think Thomas went to university at McMaster in Hamilton, so I imagine he heard plenty of the accent.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:28 AM on April 4, 2018

I saw this a bunch of times as a kid. The thing most burned on my brain was Hosehead tumbling backwards up the roof. The thing I'm surprised I didn't remember was the yellow police cars. I think back then it just wasn't so established, in popular culture, that police cars were primarily black.

From about the movie theater to the courtroom it's really well paced and clever. I like how the plot starts happening and Bob & Doug just kind of wander in and out of it, they aren't even really made crucial to it for a lot of the time which still feels pretty fresh and funny to me.
posted by fleacircus at 9:03 PM on November 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

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