Strange Brew (Rick Moranis & Dave Thomas / Canada-U.S., 1983):

Leo the Lion is groggy as the picture begins, the camera moves behind the MGM logo and there you've got Bob (Rick Moranis) and Doug McKenzie (Dave Thomas), taking the lid off the medium and giving you the pieces. ("Do our new movie theme, eh?") The formal dilemma is resolved with a reminder of how close Godardís Dziga-Vertov works were to skits, and the pre-credits deconstruction is felt later in Spaceballs and O.C. & Stiggs. The brothers are dense with beer and ski caps, they stick to TV (The Great White North) after their post-apocalyptic epic (The Mutants of 2051 A.D.) fizzles with audiences. After a tour of Canadian suburbia that introduces their dog Hosehead and pays loving tribute to Mel Blanc, they get down to business: The old mouse-in-a-bottle trick lands the heroes at Elsinore Brewery, where the murdered ownerís ghost hovers to reveal the culprit, his oafish brother (Paul Dooley), to the young beer heiress (Lynne Griffin). Brewmeister Smith (Max von Sydow), the true mastermind, is first seen at a secret urinal behind a global map -- proletarian anger is controlled with drugged beer and Darth Vaderish hockey apparatus, his evil scheme involves first the Oktoberfest, then the world. Itís the arrival of the New World Order ("Welcome to 1984. The rise of the machine and the fall of man"), so the clowns have to take over Hamlet, driving a beer truck into the ocean and rolling down the window to show their driverís license to underwater rescuers. Moranis and Thomas mean Shakespeare no disrespect -- actually, their take on the Bard is as imaginative as any other cinematic adaptation, plus a good deal funnier. A valuable comic crossroads, passing through it are SCTV and Cheech and Chong (and also Modern Times, Rollerball and Tout Va Bien), ahead are Wayne and Garth, Beavis and Butthead, Harold and Kumar; Bob and Doug apologize for "minor story flaws" during the end credits. With Angus MacInnes.

--- Fernando F. Croce

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