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#32 - Tucker & Dale vs Evil (2010)

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#32 - Tucker & Dale vs Evil (2010)

Postby NSpan » June 26th, 2012, 6:46 pm

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Tucker & Dale vs Evil (2010)

Director:
Eli Craig

Writer:
Eli Craig
Morgan Jurgenson


Cast:
Tyler Labine as Dale
Alan Tudyk as Tucker
Katrina Bowden


This one might seem like an odd pick, but I think a "palette cleanser" would be appropriate at this point in the Movie Club series. Tucker & Dale vs Evil is a refreshing reminder that not everybody in the industry takes themselves too seriously. This movie skewers countless horror movie tropes, and it hits the nail on the head in terms of how the genre has "evolved" through the years. Now that torture-porn is finally falling to the wayside, horror directors seem to be returning to their roots. Unfortunately, the roots of modern horror are found in badly dated 70s films that oftentimes contained ridiculous stereotypes, amazingly stupid characters, helpless protagonists, and generic plot twists that became cliche the second they were created.

Tucker & Dale vs Evil is good when it's doing parody, and it's great when it's doing satire. It's far from perfect, but the movie itself represents a paradigm shift that seems to be happening within the genre (and within cinema overall). Filmmakers are becoming more self-aware, and the smart ones embrace it. The recent 21 Jump Street took the tired concept of a "reboot" and turned it on its head. Fans of the original TV show (if there are any) were probably disappointed, but everybody else loved the skewering of an industry built around the lazy recycling, repackaging, and remarketing of others' ideas. The "Bizarro Cut" of Wanderlust included characters that occasionally referred to each other by their real names, aspects of filmmaking--such as editing, pacing, scene placement, etc--are directly addressed in the dialogue as it happens in-film, and there is a constant toying with the fourth wall. Soderbergh was ahead of his time when he created Schizopolis in 1996. I think that film would have an audience today.

Tucker & Dale isn't groundbreaking, but it's a breath of fresh air.

Though, it begs the question: is there life for cinema in a post-post-modern world? I think there is, but it will require true creativity, ingenuity, and the sheer balls to take some risks. We'll see some flops, some misfires, and some utter disappointments. But we'll also see something altogether new and representative of the next "era." Any film critic who thinks cinema is dead has simply closed their mind off to new ideas. The Roger Eberts of the world are going the way of the dinosaur, and a younger generation is embracing the change.

This is all pretty lofty talk for a low-budget horror spoof that has plenty of flaws of its own... but it's a nice surprise when such a small production can serve as an indicator of the overall current state of film.

Double-Feature Recommendation:
My Name Is Bruce (2007)
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Re: #32 - Tucker & Dale vs Evil (2010)

Postby NSpan » June 26th, 2012, 6:49 pm

PS. Roger Ebert actually gave this a positive review ... but fuck that guy.
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Re: #32 - Tucker & Dale vs Evil (2010)

Postby Buscemi » June 26th, 2012, 7:21 pm

Is this movie basically a ripoff of Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer? Because it seems to come off as one.
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Re: #32 - Tucker & Dale vs Evil (2010)

Postby NSpan » June 26th, 2012, 8:26 pm

Buscemi wrote:Is this movie basically a ripoff of Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer? Because it seems to come off as one.

Aside from the promotional art (which both seem to reference Evil Dead style posters), I don't see all that much in common.

I haven't seen Jack Brooks (nor had I heard of it until just now), but if it's a tongue-in-cheek satire of modern horror, then I imagine both would be drawing from the same pool of references, tropes, and cliches.

The plots don't appear to have anything in common... but maybe you can actually watch the two movies and report back to me.

Amongst top critics on RottenTomatoes, Tucker & Dale has a 90% positive rating... while Jack Brooks has a 60%.

...

HOWEVER -- they both happen to be Canadian productions... so--in that regard--yes, they are the exact same movie.
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Re: #32 - Tucker & Dale vs Evil (2010)

Postby Buscemi » June 26th, 2012, 8:37 pm

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil was a Sundance darling while Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer never went to theatres (which likely explains the Rotten Tomatoes rating disparity, as straight-to-DVD titles hardly get any love). But Jack Brooks came out a full three years before Tucker and Dale vs. Evil premiered (and Jack Brooks had a rather wide DVD release done by Anchor Bay), which makes you wonder (in fact, I think this was the main reason why Tucker and Dale vs. Evil was delayed for so long as potential distributors didn't want a lawsuit).
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Re: #32 - Tucker & Dale vs Evil (2010)

Postby NSpan » June 26th, 2012, 8:57 pm

Buscemi wrote:which makes you wonder (in fact, I think this was the main reason why Tucker and Dale vs. Evil was delayed for so long as potential distributors didn't want a lawsuit).

In this fantasy lawsuit, what exactly would be the plaintiff's claim?
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Re: #32 - Tucker & Dale vs Evil (2010)

Postby Buscemi » June 26th, 2012, 9:07 pm

That they made a horror/comedy with incredibly similar elements that also takes place in the backwoods.

But anyway, there have been films shelved due to looking eerily similar to other films and some films have even been shelved completely due to lawsuits (case in point: the 1982 Italian film Great White was banned from ever being shown in the US after Universal sued the American distributor over similarities to Jaws). I think the main reason why Tucker and Dale vs. Evil was shelved for nearly two years (outside of a release in Russia) was that there were similarities to another film (as I said, Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer had been out long before this film was in production). And with an indie film, you can't afford to take that risk (in a theoretical lawsuit, the filmmakers would have to face among others Anchor Bay, which is owned by Liberty Media, one of the biggest media companies in the US).

Hell, some films that weren't delayed have the issue of lawsuits and the plaintiff had a case. Remember The Island? The director of a film called Parts: The Clonus Horror saw similarities in the film, sued Bay and the distributors and got a decent settlement.
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Re: #32 - Tucker & Dale vs Evil (2010)

Postby NSpan » June 26th, 2012, 9:30 pm

Buscemi wrote:That they made a horror/comedy with incredibly similar elements that also takes place in the backwoods.

But you still haven't explained what those "similar elements" are.

So far, your case is "they fall into the same genre of film... and both movies have trees!!"
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Re: #32 - Tucker & Dale vs Evil (2010)

Postby NSpan » June 26th, 2012, 9:50 pm

According to Wikipedia, Jack Brooks is about a guy whose family is killed by a demonic beast. As the evil source is "awakened," Jack must face the demon and avenge his family. The comedy is, evidently, comprised of the wacky ways in which this unlikely hero dispatches supernatural monsters. It seems to be very derivative of Evil Dead (and very similar in approach to the contemporary My Name is Bruce).

Meanwhile, Tucker & Dale is a satire of "Hillbilly Horror." It takes the premise of movies like The Hills Have Eyes, Deliverance, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Wrong Turn and reverses the roles. The peaceful titular hicks are harassed by a group of suburban college kids who have seen too many horror movies. There is nothing supernatural about it, and the comedy comes from the variation on stereotypes.

I think your lawsuit would be immediately thrown out. There just isn't a case. Sorry, buddy.
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Re: #32 - Tucker & Dale vs Evil (2010)

Postby transformers2 » June 26th, 2012, 10:51 pm

Even though I love horror comedies, This one did nothing for me. I just didn't find to be that funny really (I will say the scene where the guy falls into the wood chipper is hilarious). It's satire wasn't really fresh and it find of played like a mediocre horror movie instead of a horror comedy.
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Re: #32 - Tucker & Dale vs Evil (2010)

Postby Chienfantome » June 27th, 2012, 3:58 am

I loved Tucker & Dale VS Evil. As you said NSpan, it was a very refreshing take on the horror genre, and brought many laughs along the way. I don't see any similarity with that Jack Brooks movie I haven't seen except it's set in woods. It's a pretty slim similarity.
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Re: #32 - Tucker & Dale vs Evil (2010)

Postby Buscemi » January 9th, 2013, 7:17 pm

So I finally saw this film and it was dreadfully unfunny. None of the characters are remotely intelligent or interesting, the jokes fall with a resounding thud and just about every element of satire has been done before and in better films (such as Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer and the Scream movies).

Had this movie not featured a Joss Whedon regular as of its stars, the movie would have been fast forgotten in the land of titles like Staunton Hill or Lake Dead.
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Re: #32 - Tucker & Dale vs Evil (2010)

Postby NSpan » January 9th, 2013, 7:45 pm

Well, thanks for giving it a chance--even though you ended up not liking it.

To be fair, I originally watched it based on positive reviews and recommendations. At the time, I didn't know Alan Tudyk was in it (in fact, I don't believe I even learned his name until I was creating this entry).

It's funny to re-read my original posting in this thread. I'm basically describing the need for a Cabin in the Woods (which I, obviously, hadn't seen yet) in order for the genre to move on...or die.
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