• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

Bubba Ho-Tep

TITLE: Bubba Ho-Tep

YEAR: 2002

GENRE: Horror and Comedy

The B-movie world is well known for giving the viewers insanely ridiculous plotlines, but some of those storylines at times are deeper than one would expect. For example, The Toxic Avenger may appear to be not much more than a superhero monster transformed out of a toxic waste accident, but put the film under a microscope and one can see a quality theme of how better living through chemistry could destroy mankind. When a low budget film effectively can combine the bizarre plotlines with an interesting morale it can become a classic film that Hollywood could never touch. Fortunately this is the case with Bubba Ho-Tep, an independent film that may be insane on the outside but effectively delivers an expose on modern attitudes toward the aged in an amazing way.

Elvis Presley (played by Bruce Campbell) is alive and not-so-well living in an East Texas nursing home with what he calls “a growth on my pecker”. Elvis shares his old age home with an interesting bevy of codgers including Jack (Ossie Davis) who believes he is John F. Kennedy who was dipped in black paint in 1963 to hide him from the world and Kemosabe (Larry Pennell) who dresses like the Lone Ranger complete with duo cap gun pistols on his soon-to-break hips. The old curmudgeons are about to experience more than abuse from staff members and neglect from family members when a 3000 year old Egyptian mummy wearing a cowboy hat and boots chooses the old age home as his hunting grounds and steals the souls of the residents by sucking them out of their anuses. Nobody believes Elvis or Jack because the staff sees the deaths as nature taking its course, and it is up to the elderly duo to send the mummy to the afterlife once and for all.

Yes Bubba Ho-Tep has too strange of a plotline to believe, but the bizarre story serves as the backdrop for an interesting look at the disposal of the elderly. Numerous situations arise that displays neglect for the feelings or even existence of the old people in the home. One of the most telling scenes in Bubba Ho-Tep is when Elvis’ roommate dies and a granddaughter cleans out the deceased relative’s room; she throws away her grandfather’s Purple Heart and bends over in a way that Elvis says “she sees me as so non-threatening that she gave me a bird eye’s view of her love nest.” The conversations between Elvis and Jack are interesting as they investigate the mummy, and the scene where they find the graffiti in the bathroom is genuinely funny. In addition, the “growth on my pecker” serves as a source for some humorous conversations between Elvis and his nurse (Ella Joyce) including when Elvis yells at her that he can “lube my own crankshaft”. Bubba Ho-Tep is not too scary of a film but to its credit the mummy is well done and is quite menacing, and the fight scenes at the end of the film are well done although fairly simplistic. The scene where Elvis and Jack use walkers and a wheelchair to march to their confrontation with the mummy complete with some Elvis Presley-inspired music is an memorable epic scene. Campbell and Davis (in one of his last roles) are endearing in their portrayals of the aged men, parody their famous people without being sarcastic or demeaning, and do a good job mixing the reality of the situations and a potential surrealism that all of this story may be some fallacy and a legend in their own minds. The story here is the deeper message of the throwaway culture of the elderly and the indignities that they must suffer when they become too old to care for themselves.

Director Don Coscarelli (creator of the Phantasm franchise and its sequels) does a wonderful job using his out of the ordinary premise to discuss an issue in which every family will be forced to wrestle with at some time or another. The beauty of Bubba Ho-Tep is that this film can be enjoyed on multiple levels, and in that respect this is a great movie. Don’t expect to be scared with Bubba Ho-Tep, but it is definitely one of the most memorable independent horror films to ever come out of its genre due to the creative writing and subsequent storyline.

* * * * 1/2

–Mark

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