Tucker and Dale vs. the Jade Scorpion: movies viewed recently (#SFWApro)

TUCKER AND DALE VS. EVIL (2010) is an It’s All a Misunderstanding horror parody in which vacationing college students become convinced redneck Alan Tudyk and his buddy are homicidal maniacs (I suppose it shows my age that I assumed the template would be Deliverance when instead it’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre) leading to an accidental bloodbath made worse by one student’s conviction he’s the film’s Jamie Lee Curtis (“Hillbillies killed my parents!”). Extremely funny, and fits with the genre analysis in Hillbillyland (the two rednecks come in for their share of mockery, but not as much as the students). “Sheriff, you may not believe this, but these college kids just came up here onto our property and started killing themselves.”

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CURSE OF THE JADE SCORPION (2001) has 1940s insurance investigator Woody Allen become the puppet of hypnotist David Ogden Stiers who has Allen using his great skills for evil, much to the horror of Obnoxious and Irritating efficiency expert Helen Hunt. This worked much better than I remember it; one of the livelier Allen performances I’ve seen in a while; Charlize Theron plays a very Bad Girl (“Have you ever read a book called the Kama Sutra?”), Dan Ackroyd is Hunt’s married lover, and Wallace Shawn, Elisabeth Berkeley and John Shuck are among Allen’s co-workers. However the implication that most of the cast would be fine if Hunt remained Allen’s hypnotized slave is just creepy, even in a comedy.“If you find you’re going to have a sudden coronary thrombosis, you should drive directly to the hospital.”

FINAL (2001) has Denis Leary insisting to his psychiatrist that he’s perfectly fine, it’s just that their surroundings are an elaborate illusion set up to fool him, while she insists just as firmly that he’s making up this fantasy to deny his real problems. I’d put this in my Netflix queue in the belief it might be a time travel yarn and my instincts were almost right (Leary is indeed a man out of time, but it’s because he emerged from cryonics). Unfortunately it’s still a stock premise and not carried off with any flair. “You have the sounds down — a sparrow, crows—but I haven’t seen one girl.”



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