Amelia; I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell; Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant; Saw VI; Astro Boy
Artifact of a bygone era presages the apocalypse
by Donovan Laird, Film Critic, The Wasteland Chronicle (Oct. 25, 2088)
EXPECTATIONS: Judging from the title on the box, I expect a philosophical query for the ages. What were past Americans' musings on life, death and the afterlife? Will Lucifer offer the damned any kind of respite from their eternal agony? I'm not sure why this Tucker Max character wants to put my face on some scantily clad woman's body, but if he gives me some kind of insight into the mindset of the pre-fallout American male, then so be it. Also, that name sounds oddly familiar...
REALITY: It hadn't occurred to me who exactly Tucker Max was when I was handed this DVD. I knew I'd heard the name before, but only in passing. I'd heard of snotty, adolescent males being referred to as Tuckers, but I really had no idea why. After watching I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, based on Tucker Max's memoirs, I recalled my history lessons and it all became clear. I understand, now, why the world had to end.
Throughout history, there have been men and women who have influenced the ebb and flow of civilization. I've heard that Cleopatra changed gender politics forever when she met with a cobra in sexual congress. In the year 800, Charlemagne gave Christians their own country. Finally, at some point in the early 21st century, a smart-assed little turd named Tucker Max nudged the western world on the path toward chaos and misery.
Of course, Tucker Max had made his disastrous mark on the world long before my time. My parents' community had been under siege from a band of cannibals for six days when they brought me into the world. I knew humanity hadn't lived like this forever, and it always fascinates me to see a film like this about the events leading to the apocalypse. This is what life was like before the bombs fell and the sky went gray. That's partially why I got into this film criticism business in the first place; it's allowed me to see so much of the way my grandparents lived. Sorry...you know all about me already, you want to know about this movie.
Back in its day, I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell was the kind of sex comedy that young adults flocked to in droves. And why not? It features asinine sexual exploits, fast-talking misogynist know-it-alls, explosive diarrhea and scantily clad women by the truckload. This film is the gold standard for hedonism.
The plot, if you really want to call it that, involves ladies' man extraordinaire Tucker Max (Matt Czuchry) dragging his two best buds on a road trip to a strip club -- the likes of which haven't been seen since Sam Coleridge downed a whole bottle of absinthe. Max's partners in crime are Drew (Jesse Bradford), whose girlfriend has left him for some dickhead with metal teeth, and the soon-to-be-married Dan (Jeff Stultz). Their journey is a remarkably short one; the real action doesn't occur until the trio reaches their Xanadu.
Once our heroes arrive at their destination, the film ceases to be a farcical road trip and becomes a touching story about Tucker Max coming to terms with his Napoleon Complex. Betrothed Dan and jilted Drew want nothing to do with Tucker's strip club scheme, and it lands them both in nothing but trouble. Drew begrudgingly goes home with a stripper, and Dan gets the shit kicked out of him by at least two police officers. That'll teach you to doubt the Mind of Max. Tucker, on the other hand, is the man with a plan. He sees women as something to be conquered and overcomes his Napoleon Complex, fittingly, by fucking a midget.
This, my friends, is why the world as they knew it had to come to such a violent, fiery end. If social monsters like Tucker Max could get handed the keys to the midget kingdom, then what hope was there for the decent, well-meaning Dans and Drews of the world? The film does not offer an answer to that query. Instead, I'm left to assume the worst.
As you might remember, the massive box office returns that the film received only reinforced Tucker Max's asinine worldview. Napoleon Complex overcome, Tucker Max then went on to apply his methods in other arenas -- politics, for one. The man's newly formed Maxian party posed a threat to the UN, as it painted America's youth as misogynist alpha dogs hellbent on overthrowing the established order in favor of a society that championed pervasive sexuality, binge-drinking, and the establishment of the pancake sandwich as a fitting replacement for the U.S. dollar.
Today, when a young hoodlum is labeled a Tucker, it is a form of derision, meant to suggest what they might have become if the Axis nations hadn't made the first strike. The irradiated shadow cast by I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell is one that still stretches out across the decades. If I could offer Sen. Max one bit of advice, it would be this:
I live in your Hell, sir. We have no beer.
RATING (OUT OF 5)