HTF REVIEW: "Strange Brew" (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Sep 26, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    Strange Brew

    Studio: Warner/MGM
    Year: 1983
    Rated: PG
    Film Length: 90 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)
    Subtitles: English, French & Spanish

    Take off, eh!
    One of my favorite shows as a high school teen
    was SCTV, which became the call letters
    for the fictional Second City television station
    and a highly successful seven year series that
    launched the careers of John Candy, Joe Flaherty,
    Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, Rick Moranis, Catherine
    O'Hara, Dave Thomas, and later Martin Short. The
    show satirized television, with the cast creating
    skits that made up their SCTV network.
    In the early 1980's, Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas
    came up with two characters named Bob and Doug
    McKenzie. Sitting in front of a huge board that
    bared the outlined map of North America, and with
    cases of beer at their side, the two goofy brothers
    embodied every possible Canadian stereotype. For
    most of those years thereafter, I never quite got
    the humor, that is, until I met my first Canadian.
    At that point I realized exactly where their humor
    was pointed at.
    It wasn't long before Moranis and Thomas took
    a cinematic field trip to great white north, placing
    their characters in a movie aptly titled Strange
    Brew. In the film, Bob and Doug find themselves
    living at home even though they're close to thirty.
    Having no job makes it difficult for the boys to
    buy beer. They come up with a scheme to try to
    get a free case of beer by squeezing a mouse into
    a bottle of Elsinore beer, claiming that it made
    them sick. Instead, they end up with jobs at the
    beer factory and get all the free beer they want.
    At first, this sounds like a dream come true...that
    is, until they find out that the Brewmeister (Max
    Von Sydow) has laced Elsinore beer with a mind
    controlling drug. The rest of the film has the
    boys trying to outrun the evildoers as they concoct
    a plan that includes dog Hose Head "growing" a
    cape and flying to Oktoberfest.
    Although I loved Bob and Doug on SCTV, I never
    really thought much of the film. While there are
    quite a few hilarious gags and lines to enjoy here,
    the movie as a whole suffers from a lack of decent
    script and directing. This causes the film to be
    a rather uneven comedy, probably best enjoyed with
    a few cases of beer.
    How is the transfer?
    I'm afraid that this transfer looks rather dated,
    and at best, I rate the picture as average. The
    biggest problem here is the amount of noise in the
    picture. From the very first scene, we watch Bob
    and Doug in front of the Great White North backdrop.
    The backdrop is just littered with noticeable levels
    of noise which continues throughout the film. The
    picture lacks sharpness and detail. Some of the
    short establishing shots look downright bad. Whites
    have the biggest problem here as you'll witness in
    a scene where the boys are confined to a padded cell.
    The picture is generally clean, but you will notice
    occasional blemishes from time to time.
    Don't get me wrong -- this is not a bad transfer
    when you consider that this was a low-budget comedy
    from the early 80s. I never expected Warner Brothers
    to do a huge remaster project on this film. This is
    probably the best the film will ever look.
    Here's something that I had a problem with. The
    DVD box states that this film is presented in Dolby
    Surround Stereo. Some of the Internet sites are
    reporting that the movie is mono. Popping this DVD
    into my player and selecting SURROUND on my receiver
    came with odd results. The CENTER and LFE channel
    were the only two channels receiving information.
    I have never seen this happen before. I simply
    switched my receiver to STEREO mode thereafter. My
    guess is that this film is presented in MONO. If
    it is indeed a stereo track, I sure didn't recognize
    any channel separation.
    Otherwise, the sound is just adequate, sounding
    a little too shrill, but never overmodulated.
    Special Features
    Unfortunately, Warner hasn't gone out of their
    way to make this a fancy Special Edition with
    animated menus or even a commentary by Dave and
    Rick. They have, however, compromised this release
    with adding a few pretty neat supplementals.
    This will take all of you back some years. An
    original Great White North sketch from
    the original SCTV. Bob and Doug teach you the
    finer points of how to stuff a mouse into a beer
    bottle. After all these years not seeing SCTV, I
    actually had a wonderful relapse moment watching
    the boys in action. So cool that this was included
    (length: approx. 2.15 minutes)
    I am guessing that there are big plans in store
    for Bob and Doug in the future as we watch a short
    trailer for The Animated Adventures Of Bob And
    Doug McKenzie. In their new animated world,
    the boys haul garbage, play a rough game of hockey
    and take a swim at the Canadian border. It's
    pretty fun to watch and the characters seem to be
    voiced by Dave and Rick. If I understand this
    correctly, The trailer seems to suggest that
    these cartoon adventures will be coming soon.
    (length: approx. 4.35 minutes)
    A cast and crew page lets you browse
    through filmographies of the four main cast members
    of the movie as well as writer Steve De Jarnatt.
    The film's original theatrical trailer
    is also included on this DVD.
    This may be considered an Easter Egg...and then
    again maybe not...but click on the mouse inside
    the bubble to access The Canadian Dictionary.
    Here you'll find Bob and Doug's definitions for
    such words as eh, hoser and Take Off.
    Of course, these words are defined in unique Bob
    and Doug terminology.
    Final Thoughts
    What is there to say about a film that includes
    beer, mental patients taking over the world and
    a flying dog? I suppose all I can say is that
    Strange Brew is an acquired taste. It's
    a rather humorous film that is mostly childish
    but never mean spirited. It has also surprisingly
    become a cult classic of sorts. One thing is for
    sure -- Strange Brew is a film that will
    either go down as smooth as a cold Molson or
    leave a bitter aftertaste in your mouth.
    Release Date: October 1, 2002
  2. Christopher D

    Christopher D Second Unit

    Oct 16, 2000
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    Beauty, eh!
  3. Brian Fineberg

    Brian Fineberg Second Unit

    Sep 1, 2000
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    I'm in!
  4. JeremySt

    JeremySt Screenwriter

    Aug 19, 2001
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    Real Name:

    ROLLERCOASTER, and image's TERMINATOR, both presented in Dolby 1.1

    Beauty review, eh! This movie was filmed in 3-B. Three beers and it looks good.
  5. Patrick McNeal

    Patrick McNeal Auditioning

    Sep 13, 1999
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    Thanks for the review, eh? If I didn't have puke breath, I'd kiss you!

  6. MatS

    MatS Screenwriter

    Jan 24, 2000
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    this should have been so much more but beggers can't be choosers I guess.

    only one SCTV skit, Take Off eh
  7. Joseph J.D

    Joseph J.D Cinematographer

    Dec 4, 2001
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    How's it going eh? [​IMG]
    Too bad Warner didn't take advantage of the special features. I would have loved to hear a commentary or with Bob and Doug, and another with Rick & Dave. I'll still get it anyway eh.
  8. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast

    Jun 28, 1999
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    Central Arkansas
    Real Name:
    The only thing that'd make this better is if they'd thrown in a jelly.
  9. Peter McM

    Peter McM Supporting Actor

    Nov 18, 1999
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    Indianapolis, IN
    Real Name:
    Maybe the DVD, itself should "look like an EP for one of those British new-wave bands!"[​IMG]
  10. James L White

    James L White Supporting Actor

    Jun 29, 2002
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    I know you're gonna hate me for saying this but I'd rather WB spend the money on making the a/v better than adding any extras, the movie is what I care about.Please be gentle.[​IMG]
  11. paul_austin

    paul_austin Second Unit

    Jun 16, 2002
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    jeez i'd kiss you if i didnt have puke breath
  12. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

    Nov 5, 1998
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    Was there ever a more unneccesary review for a DVD ever?
    Who ISN'T going to buy this based on what Ron or anyone else had to say? The only thing Ron could have said to me was "Whoa, the film isn't even on the DVD!"
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    All this does is get me more uptight that its still a few days away. [​IMG]
  13. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein
  14. Jaxon's Dad

    Jaxon's Dad Supporting Actor

    Aug 27, 1999
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    Mid-West, USA
    Real Name:
    "Take off" one more movie from my "have-to-own" list. Ron, maybe if you try watching the movie in 3-B mode, the transfer flaws will, like, disappear, eh. [​IMG]
  15. Jonathan Perregaux

    Jonathan Perregaux Screenwriter

    Oct 10, 1999
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    Real Name:
    Jonathan Perregaux
    I just wanted to understand one remark in your review, Ron. Did you intend the phrase "They have, however, compromised this release with adding a few pretty neat supplementals" to mean the DVD is made worse by the pretty neat supplemental materials? Sounds like a contradiction there. (Then again, I don't have to run a Web site and watch tons of DVDs and write reviews all day, so I guess my grammar would suffer a tad as well.)
  16. George See

    George See Second Unit

    Jul 14, 2002
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    Someone horked Rons surround sound.

    This is A definite must own thanks for the review.
  17. todd s

    todd s Lead Actor

    Jul 8, 1999
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    Warner dropped the keg on this one. If any, I mean any, movie cried out for a commentary. This one does. But, only if Moranis & Thomas would have done it in character.
    Take off though, I am still getting this disc. [​IMG]
  18. Piers C

    Piers C Stunt Coordinator

    Jun 3, 2002
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    Having the commentary done "in character" is a great idea! Missed opportunities!

    Ron - thanks for the early review & managing our expectations on transfer quality.
  19. Joe Bernardi

    Joe Bernardi Supporting Actor

    Oct 24, 2000
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    Sarasota, Florida
    Real Name:
    Joe Bernardi
    I preordered this long ago based on its 3B rating, but Ron's review makes me think i should like buy it.
    I still pray that SCTV will be released one day. I've heard several times that it can't be because of music rights issues. My solution: skip all the musical parts (although I did like seeing Southside Johnny), or just make the offending parts silent. It wouldn't be perfect, but a lot closer to perfect than we have now.
  20. MichaelG

    MichaelG Second Unit

    Jul 10, 2000
    Likes Received:
    No doubt I will be getting this, maybe I'll watch with some beers and jelly donuts

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