Reader Contribution: Mainstream Review


Last week when I was making mainstream DVD recommendations I left out a movie that a loyal reader found very entertaining. With his permission I present R’s review of “Bubba Ho-Tep”
R Writes:

OK Rog,

I told you that this rambling was coming, and it was a long weekend. As I get older that just means I will be even more tired for the short week. But, I got the DVD, so now I am going to put some thoughts down for those who might be wondering about the film, Bubba Ho-Tep.

I have not been through all of the side features yet, but oh well. I think that the review should be based primarily on the film and that the other stuff is icing on the cake. The intro screens are pretty fun. It is a bit of history (of this yarn) that is not slow enough for me to read, but it does impart a Blair Witch / X-files feeling of oddity and interest. I thought it was a rather simple and effective way to start the movie, before the movie had even started.

After the usual warnings about dental torture if you contemplate copying any part of the film, we finally get to the start. Before I go into this, I decided not to spoil the movie, but give a couple of examples that illustrate my points. Is this self serving? Yup, but I am writing this. That is how I wanted to structure it, deal… So the start, definitions. I will put these up, because the first question everyone asks me is, “What is with the name?” So here goes:

Ho-Tep (hô-tep’) n. 1. Relative or descendent of the 17 Egyptian Dynasties, 3100 1550 B.C. 2. Family surname of an Egyptian pharaoh (king).

Bubba (bub’uh) n. 1. Male from the Southern U.S. 2. Good ole boy. 3. Cracker, red-neck, trailer park resident.

The movie then starts in on the background of the story. In a nutshell, there is a soul sucking mummy (Bubba Ho-Tep), and our heroes (Elvis, and JFK.) Now, the Mummy has a penchant for oversized cowboy hats and Tony Lamas. Elvis has a long story, which I’ll touch on, and JFK, well we will get to that later, he he he…

Bruce Campbell is Elvis. He also is the narrator for the movie. Imagine Elvis as a 70 year old. He is bitter and cantankerous. He is in a rest home in Texas. The fun is that he switched with the best Elvis impersonator at the time to get some sanity back in his life. He notes that the impersonator, Sebastian Haff, had a larger appetite for drugs than he did, and a faulty ticker. Hmmm, so he ends up stuck as the impersonator. In a rest home. The story has lots of twists to and from there. Some gross twists, some cheeseball things, but honestly, Bruce Campbell, or Elvis, has a firm grasp of the narrating part. And let me tell you, you are with the King ’til the end.

Ossie Davis is JFK. Yup, I said it, he is. He does a masterful job at being a black JFK. The jokes about Ding Dongs are priceless (There are so many bad jokes that translate to porn, but they never crack in the flick, unreal…) The action figure setup of the assassination of JFK is pretty incredible, you see it a bunch of times in the scenes that are in JFK’s room. The other fun part is that Ossie’s character is the one with all kinds of “Mulder-esque” knowledge. To the point he translates Mummy Graffiti, poorly mind you. Yes Mummy Graffiti… Oh yeah, the lines about Marilyn are priceless.

So to sum up so far, those are your main characters. The Mummy is not that big of a character. More of a quick cut montage’ type thing. Gore, not really… I only counted seeing blood twice in the movie. The scenes that deal with the rest home are incredible. As someone who has been in rest homes visiting relatives, it was chilling, but honest. The supporting characters in the home are people you will find in rest homes. The realism that goes in is stunning if you have been there. Other notes, the “Daughter” of Elvis’s deceased roommate is hot, by design. But, I didn’t see a tattoo on her, huh? I agree with Rog, skin art has gone a bit far. Fun to watch though… Some of the most priceless scenes are of the Nurse, Elle Joyce. Terrible jokes, hilarious scenes, and realism about being employed by a rest home to drive the part home. One more over the top part was “Keemosabe.” I guess that the legal aspect got in there for the name, err, OK, but as Bruce narrates, “I use to play cards with him, now he doesn’t remember me.” Another pretty chilling reference to rest home life. Only two more paragraphs of my meandering left…

The last battle scene was done in an interesting way. Imagine if you will, two 70 year olds battling with a 3,000 year old mummy. No, read that again. The battle scene is geriatric. Quick cuts and movie tricks keep it moving, but it really is slow if you watch. It is very different from most of the movies that I have seen recently. Really different. Kinda fun in contrast.

OK, my take as a viewer. The background story of Elvis is great. The Mummy thing is funny, from an enterprising sort of way. JFK is marvelous, while campy. If you didn’t know who Bruce Campbell was, then you are in for a ride. But those who do, I don’t need to push for you to rent or buy the thing. But, I have to marvel at the depressingly real depiction of a rest home. Hmm, morbid huh? But, if anyone has actually been to these places, while this is a movie, it does capture the essence, anti “Emeril” ™ as it may be.

Soooooo, now for some bad quotes that sound funny in this movie, but normal in the porn world…

“I lube my own crankshaft”

“Watch your ass”

Fun quotes in the movie, lots of fun, he he he… Well I left out a lot. I don’t want to spoil everything for anyone who wants to see it. It is an, “Outside of the lines film,” but a lot of fun. At worst it is a rental, at best it is the fringe doing things that normal films won’t and having a lot of fun in the process.

Signing off,

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