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My Name is Bruce (2007)—and I don’t mean Bruce Lee.

The second film in our series is “My Name Is Bruce,” the 2007 comedy-horror-spoof-film, directed, co-produced and starring the “B” (or C+ if you listen to some people) movie great Bruce Campbell.  As you know we just took a look at Army of Darkness (by far my favorite Campbell film); this time around we are discussing a movie about Bruce Campbell playing Bruce Campbell.  Unlike unintentional actors who are not really acting on screen, like when Chazz Palminteri plays Chazz Palminteri in every film, Campbell parades his status as cult B-movie genre megastar and makes a film that pokes fun at his acting career.  My guess is that most Hollywood “stars” have too big of an ego to make something with this sort of self-deprecating humor in it.

 

In his film, Campbell exaggerates all possible perceptions of what life is like being Bruce Campbell.  Portraying himself as a gone to hell, ruined by the devil’s nectar, divorced, making wretched sequels to already awful movies and living a trailer with an alcoholic dog, being Bruce means at best you are a proud loser barely maintaining a toehold on the “C” list of celebrity parties.

 

Somehow believing that Bruce is the hero he portrays in movies, Jeff, a fan and the sole surviving member of a group of Goth-like teens attacked by an ancient oriental evil demon that protects the souls of dead Chinese and bean curd, decides to kidnap Bruce and take him to his small town in the Heartland.  There, Bruce erroneously assumes his agent has set the stage for his birthday present (which was actually a hooker) by setting him up for yet another horror film shot in reality-style with an all-amateur cast.

 

Bruce is a little slow on the uptake in realizing that this Midwest jerk water burg of Gold Lick is under actual peril from an ancient, white-bearded God of War set on avenging the lives of 100 “Chinaman” workers lost in a mining disaster 100 years earlier.  Nevertheless, Jeff has sold him as the town’s savior, and like in Army of Darkness, takes up a “Hail to the King Baby” lifestyle.

 

After visiting Goldlick’s gun shop, Bruce and many amateur-actor citizens of Goldlick follow Bruce to take on Guan-Di, which Bruce thinks is just part of the movie.  When he finds out that it’s a real demon, he gets the hell out of Dodge, disappointing his female love interest Kelly and upsetting Jeff as well as the entire town of Goldlick.  When Bruce returns to his trailer home, he finds that everyone, including his junkie dog, hates him.  He has a restraining order placed upon him by his ex-wife, Cheryl who also wants more alimony, and finds that his “surprise birthday present” from Mills was just a singing prostitute.  Bruce is then called by Jeff, who informs him that he’s going to take on Guan-Di alone in spite of Bruce’s embarrassing retreat.

 

The hooker takes Bruce back to Goldlick, where he is treated with contempt but is determined to rescue Jeff.  He drives to the old cemetery where they planted dynamite at the mausoleum and try to lure Guan-Di inside with a cardboard cut-out of Bruce, which Guan-Di doesn’t fall for.  Displaying his machismo, Bruce decides to sacrifice himself using bean curd to luring Guan-Di and the dynamite is blown up.  He emerges from the debris alive, and hangs the medallion back on the mausoleum wall soothing the spirit.  Guan-Di then also comes back to life, and at the very last minute, it turns out the whole story was a movie being screened by the principals at the studio.  Bruce argues with Ted Raimi about the timeworn ending and turns it into a “happy ending,” which involves Bruce and Kelly married, living in a nice house, white picket fence and their son, Jeff, who is accepted into Harvard.  After the movie ends, Bruce asks, “What could be a better ending than that?” after which Guan-Di appears and attacks Bruce.

 

I must admit I was a little surprised with this film, I didn’t know what to expect—there are not too many movies where one satirizes one’s own career.  Fans of Bruce Campbell and the genera he represents I am sure were delighted by this film.  Though I am generally not a “B” horror movie fan (I enjoy many other “B” movie types) this film was not a cheap horror at all; instead it was a unique (and funny) look through the lens of the world of cheap horror movies.  It was better than I thought it would be and it needs to be watched more than once before catching all of the hidden humor; and anyone looking to kill a couple hours could do much worse than watching My Name is Bruce.  I will say this, while researching this review I looked at Bruce Campbell’s filmography and I would be willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that all but the most elite actors would give their right arm for the professional opportunities he has had.  Not bad for someone relegated to the seedy underworld of “B” horror movies—according to the site Celebrity Net Worth his is estimated at six million—I don’t know about you but that is a hell of a lot more than me.

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2012 in Movie Reviews

 

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What does Bridget Fonda, a 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 and Bruce Campbell Equal? Army of Darkness (1993)

 

Army of Darkness, also titled Evil Dead III, is a 1992 comedy-horror film and is the third installment in The Evil Dead trilogy.  The Evil Dead trilogy focuses on the protagonist, Ashley J. “Ash” Williams a manager of a store “S-Mart”, played by Bruce Campbell, who deals with “Deadites”, which are undead antagonists created by the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis.  The original series comprises The Evil Dead (1981), Evil Dead II (1987), and Army of Darkness (1992).  Army of Darkness premiered in October of 1992, and was released in the United States in February of 1993, grossing $11.503 million domestically and another $10 million outside the USA for a total gross of $21.5 million.  Thanks to video, the trilogy has developed a typical cult following.  When researching this review, I came across a blog whose author claimed to have seen the films a combined 21,000 times.  I was even more surprised that Bridget Fonda had a small part in the film briefly playing Ash’s girlfriend. 

The film begins with Ash Williams and his 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 lands in 1300 AD but is captured by a chap named Lord Arthur.  Ash is taken prisoner, his gun and chainsaw confiscated, and is taken to a castle where he is thrown in a pit.  While in the pit, he has to fight a Deadite and regains his weapons from Arthur’s “Wise Man.”

According to the Wise Man, the only way Ash can return to his time is to retrieve the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis.  When he arrives at the Necronomicon’s location, he finds three books instead of one and eventually finds the real one and attempts to say the magic phrase that will allow him to remove the book safely — “Klaatu barada nikto”.  However, forgetting the last word, he tries to trick the book by mumbling/coughing the missing word and grabs the book from the cradle.  An evil clone that was created en route to the site rises from his grave and unites the Deadites into the dreaded “Army of Darkness.”

Using science from the textbooks in the trunk of his 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88, Ash defeats the Deadites.  After his victory, he makes a potion made from the Necronomicon that transports him back to his own time.  At the end of the film, Ash is working at S-Mart telling a co-worker about his trip back in time, but then a female customer becomes possessed by a demon and starts wreaking havoc on the store, and Ash smokes the creature.

Shooting of Army of Darkness began in 1991, and it lasted for 100 days.  The film was shot on the edge of the Mojave Desert, the cast and crew endured very hot conditions during the day and very cold temperatures at night. Most of the film took place at night and the filmmakers shot most of the film during the summer when the days were longest and the nights were the shortest.

The original ending, in which Ash oversleeps in the cave and wakes up in a post-apocalyptic future, was restored to the film for the UK VHS release, which also had the cinematic ending put in as a post credit extra. This scene has been restored on the “director’s cut bootleg edition” DVD and the double disk DVD, which also featured the cinematic version of the film.

Because of money issues, though Raimi and his crew freedom to shoot the movie the way they wanted, Universal Pictures took over post-production and was not happy with Raimi’s cut because the original ending was undesirable.  A new ending was shot a month after Army of Darkness was made in a lumber store in Malibu over four nights.  Then, two months after Army of Darkness was finished, a round of re-shoots began in Santa Monica and involved Ash in the windmill and the scenes with Bridget Fonda done for very little money.  Raimi recalls, “Actually, I kind of like the fact that there are two endings, that in one alternate universe Bruce is screwed, and in another universe he’s some cheesy hero”.

The film apparently ran into rating problems as well.  With the Motion Picture Association of America over the film’s rating of NC-17.  Universal, however, wanted a PG-13 rating, so some cuts had to be made but was still stuck with an R rating.

As I said before this film has some of the best one-liners I’ve ever seen—making the clips very difficult to cut.  This is a great movie if, and only if, you take it for what it is: a slapstick horror film.  Anyone looking for some substance might as well keep on looking.  The special effects are hardly special so what does this film offer? Simple: Bruce Campbell at his finest. 

 

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2012 in Movie Reviews

 

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SS has requested a tribute! And you know our policy here at JPFmovies, requests are honored.

SS has asked that we salute Bruce Campbell; that is right, the star of among other films the “Evil Dead” series as well as a movie where he plays himself: “My Name is Bruce” (2007). The first of the three in our tribute will be one of my personal favorites “Army of Darkness” (1992) a film that has some of the best one-liners in movie history.

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2012 in Movie Reviews

 

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