Cult Classic Movie Review: Strange Brew

Look, people. We’re stuck at home for the next who knows how long. Desperate times call for desperate measures, so over the weekend, I hit the emergency button. I’d had it with all the doom and gloom, and I wanted to introduce my family to what has to be the most absurd Hamlet adaptation ever filmed.

I’m speaking, of course, of Strange Brew.

In a perfect world, this review would not be necessary, because everyone would already be aware of Strange Brew. In fact, I feel a little sheepish even writing this, because a big part of me wonders if the majority of you aren’t just rolling your eyes. “Strange Brew,” you’re saying. “What does he think we’ve done with our lives? Lived in a cave?” But considering the movie is something like 37 years old at this point, I’m thinking a significant number of you might not have just not seen Strange Brew. You don’t even know it exists.

Let me set the stage: two Canadian brothers decide to get free beer by taking a bottle of beer with a mouse in it to the Elsinore beer factory, claiming they bought it that way in the store. There, they discover something fishy’s afoot: the owner of the beer company died, and his wife married his brother soon after. Hilarity ensues.

There’s not really a way to encapsulate the true majesty of a movie about two brothers who just want to drink beer, and lots of it. It sounds inane, and it is. But it’s inanity raised to an art form. Rick Moranis(!) and Dave Thomas are perfection. They don’t just star in the movie. They wrote the movie. They didn’t just write the movie. They directed the movie. Talk about true auteurs. They even got Max von Sydow to play the villain.

If you haven’t heard of this movie before, don’t feel too bad. My first experience with it was going to a midnight movie showing of it at BYU my freshman year. My friends swore it was hilarious. I went along for the ride. They attended in full Bob & Doug costume: huge overcoats, knit hats, and t-shirts. It was a blast.

I was extremely pleased to see just how well the movie’s held up since then. It’s been a while since I watched it, and my expectations weren’t incredibly high. They were blown away, however. Zany fun throughout, with great one liners, and a plot that you keep thinking can’t get any more insane, until it does.

If you’ve never seen the movie before, and you’re up for some mindless fun that will really take your mind off the present blah, this is definitely worth the time. If you have seen it before, but it’s been a while, I encourage you to watch it again. My whole family loved it, except for MC, who thought it was too scary. So maybe . . . 10 and up? Assuming you’re okay with a movie that shows two people drinking beer almost constantly. 9/10


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