HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Strange Brew
HTS Overall Score:80
I honestly can’t believe it. I have waited so very many years to see this day happen and it’s finally here! “Strange Brew” was a staple of my childhood (I know, I had horrible brothers) and an even bigger staple of my college career. I still remember being 19 years old in my sophomore year of college trying to sneak a 12 pack of beer into the apartment on campus so that my roommates could be introduced to the joys and craziness that is “Strange Brew”. Back before Rick Moranis quit acting to take care of his family after his wife’s death, he was a comic genius that was known throughout film as one of the best goofy comedians of the day. He could play a complete rubber faced character with ease, and then shift to a goofy Mr. Mom sort of guy at the drop of a hat. Short, skinny, and definitely homely, the actor could just make you laugh like no other. Originally starting out as a short skit for SCTV up in Canada, the story of Doug and Bob McKenzie swept the nations of Canada and the U.S. like wildfire and soon enough they were helming their own movie.
“Strange Brew” has an almost cartoonish nature to its structure. In fact it really is basically a live action version of “Rocky and Bullwinkle”, just with lots of beer and Canadians say “eh” and “hoser” the entire time. Doug (Dave Thomas) and Bob (Rick Moranis) McKenzie are a pair of losers, er, “hosers” in good old Canada. They live for being lazy and take even more pleasure form imbibing in beer than most people. Like stoners in a stoner movie, these two are basically half drunk the entire time and loving every second of it. After they devise a plan to get free beer the two stumble into jobs at the Elsinore Brewery, not knowing that they’re in for the ride of their life. While the two are hired on the spot by the new owner, Pam Elsinore (Lynne Griffin), they don’t realize that the elderly Brewmesiter (Max Von Sydow) is up to no good.
Filling the brews with some unnatural chemicals, the Brewmeister is intent on keeping control of the brewery, made evident by his admission of killing old man Elsinore. Doug and Bob aren’t exactly a threat to the killer that is until he realizes that their bumbling will be the end of him, even if it’s entirely by accident. Sooner or later he has to take care of the twin hosers, and try he certainly does. However, no matter the amount of effort Bob and Doug manage to come out on top. Usually drinking a pint of beer in the process.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=66050[/img]“Strange Brew” is one of the best goofball comedies that I’ve seen and carries a soft spot in my heart, even 33 years after my birth. The movie is a nonstop barrage of wit and pop culture one liners, ranging from making fun of Canadian hockey, to stumbling over each other like Don Knotts and Tim Conway. When they aren’t drinking beer and trying to get free beer for their parents, the two just play along live a modern day Laurel and Hardy.
The film itself is very goofy and comedic at first, but soon goes straight down the line to a walking, talking cartoon. I mentioned earlier that it feels like a live action “Rocky and Bullwinkle’ with insane gags and “Three Stooges” like physical comedy. Dave and Rick play off each other like two finely honed comedic machines and the overly slapstick style of humor works so well for Moranis (who excels at physical comedy). The jokes never run stale or dry and the side characters are almost as funny as the two leads.
Rated PG by the MPAA
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=66058[/img]“Strange Brew” is not exactly “Lawrence of Arabia”, but Warner has been putting out some very nice catalog releases the last couple of years and this one is no different. Nice and grainy, with an 80’s sort of film stock, “Strange Brew” has plenty of pop and pizazz in the color and detail department. The reds and blues and whites pop off the screen with a nice heavy saturation point, although the reds are more of an orange push than a rich maroon style red. Detail is good for the most part, with strong facial tones that are a bit ruddy in nature, and wide angle shots look great. There is some softness to the image and grain can get a bit heavy at times, but it’s a very natural 80s grain and the detail that does pop through can be fantastic. Blacks are deep and inky, especially related to the glossy hockey uniforms that are worn for the mock “battles” from the Brewmeister. I didn’t really detect any haloing and compression artifacts besides some mild aliasing around hair and clothing at times. For an old 80’s drunken comedy “Strange Brew” fantastic most of the time despite a few bouts with excessive grain and softness. A-
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=66066[/img]The 2.0 DTS-HD MA track does more than an adequate job of replicating the old 2.0 track from the theatrical experience, despite not being a powerhouse track. Voices are clean and clear, with almost no distortion whatsoever. I did notice a little bit of a hiss in the background for a few shots, mainly in the hospital when the ambient noise dropped off and the ground floor noise level wasn’t as masked. There’s some nice effects in the front of the sound stage as bottles come crashing to the ground and strange metaphysical laser effects terrify the brewmeister and his henchman. There’s some LFE in the track, but it’s not a whole lot. Mostly adding some umph to the car crashes and afore mentioned breaking bottles and the like. It’s not a wildly immersive experience, but the 2.0 track doesn’t require that type of attention in the simple 2.0 experience. It does exactly what is required of it and does so quite well.
• The Animated Adventures of Bob and Doug McKenzie
• Classic McKenzie Brothers Sketch from SCTV
• How to Stuff a Mouse in a Beer Bottle
• Theatrical Trailer
“Strange Brew” is a stoner comedy before stone comedies were invented and it’s by far one of the best cult films out there in the genre. Rick Moranis was a comic genius, and his pairing with Dave Thomas was amazing. The little skits on SCTV were only the beginning and while they were funny the feature length movie about the two hosers is pure, unadulterated laughter from beginning to end. The special features are a bit sparse, but so was the DVD, and the audio and video are excellent for a catalog title like this. Definitely a must buy if you’re a fan of 80’s comedies, especially ones about morons.
Starring: Rick Moranis, Dave Thomas, Max Von Sydow
Directed by: Rick Moranis, Dave Thomas
Written by: Rick Moranis, Dave Thomas
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 2.0, Spanish 2.0
Runtime: 90 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: March 1st 2016
Buy Strange Brew On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Must Watch
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