Sunday, July 15, 2007


Bob Roberts is a scary, scary movie. A Common Man first told me about it, back in college. It's a faux documentary about a conservative folk singer who makes a Senate bid.

Made in 1994, it was just too eerily prescient. There's the stolen election;the right-wing appropriation of left-wing terminology; and issues like creationism in school, the liberal media bias and conservative alternative media, anti-1960s attitudes, savings and loan scandals, weapons of mass destruction, and a mob intent on committing hate crimes against Arabs.

Also, everyone --I swear, everyone-- makes a cameo appearance. Tim Robbins wrote, directed, and produced the film; everyone from Jack Black to John Cusack to Helen Hunt to Peter Gallagher are in it. It's a little funny to see them all in early-90s clothes.

The songs and music videos are the most hilarious part. The melodies and Robbins' vocals are great ... it's the lyrics themselves that make you frown, gape, laugh, and cry. In that order!

So Wet Hot American Summer was the perfect ridiculously inane, non-thinking movie to watch after Bob Roberts. Somebody suggested it to me at a recent house party, after hearing I went to school in Maine. And sure enough, the film supposedly takes place in Waterville! (Of course, the only indication of this are a couple of signs placed early on in the movie.)

Anyways, it's a comedy set in 1981 that parodies summer camp flicks and teen flicks in general. It's a little jarring that all the actors are in their 20s, 30s or 40s and are playing teenagers, and that most of the plot revolved around different sex scenarios, but that's kind of the nature of camp. Pun intended.

The most heartwarming scene in the film is when two secretly gay camp counselors are outed while having a commitment ceremony, and instead of the vaguely homophobic gay jokes the viewer anticipates, the other counselors buy them a chaise lounge as a gift.

Also, everyone is in this movie too. Christopher Meloni was great as a crazy cook, Paul Rudd must have had fun as a moody counselor, and David Hyde Pierce's 1980s shorts oddly befit his role as an astrophysicist.

Luckily, Wet Hot American Summer is only about 90 minutes long. Otherwise, I think it might have been a waste of time. But for an hour and a half --and to clear the mind of eerie political scenarios-- it served its purpose.

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