Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy (1996)

Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy (1996)
Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy (1996) DVD / Blu-ray

By: Bill Leon (Two Beers) –
How many beers do you recommend for this movie?
1 Beer! A Toast! Great Movie!2 Beers! Good Movie!3 Beers! Okay Movie!4 Beers! Mediocre Movie!5 Beers! Awful Movie!6-Pack! Bad movie! Do not be Sober!

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I think this may just be one of the most well-made films I’ve ever seen in my life. Completely memorable, filled with quotable lines, great acting, a deep socially satirical message behind it… this one has it all.

A Toast

This may just be the most subtle film I’ve ever seen in my life, too. It will take multiple viewings to really take in the grand driving force behind Brain Candy. The subtlety of this film is ridiculous. The acting is subtle, the direction is subtle, the jokes are often subtle, the delivery of the jokes is subtle, the set design is even subtle. There are so many things in this film that you will NOT notice the first time you watch it.

Our story revolves around a Chris Cooper and his group of chemists trying to create a drug that will cure depression and after their first wave of testing, they feel they’ve been pretty successful, but more testing needs to be done. The pharmaceutical company they work for, that very same day coincidentally enough, needs a new drug for the fall. They begin grilling all of their lab departments hardcore and cutting some serious fat, like development on a pill that “give worms to ex-girlfriends,” They get to Dr. Cooper after he has been warned that without progress on a drug, they will be fired and their department shut down. That’s the set up, and I don’t want to spoil too much of the film, so I’ll leave it at that.

Siskel and Ebert once famously disagreed on this film.

In case you are aware Kids in the Hall is a comedy troupe but you’re not familiar with their work, I say fear not because no prior experience of KITH is required to enjoy this little mid 90’s near masterpiece.

Beer Two

Unfortunately this film falls under the catagory of “studio vs filmmakers” and due to some risqué material, most of which is toned down in the final version of the film, at a certain point in the production, Paramount pictures took over the film for the most part. The ending was changed from a dark unhappy ending to end on a more upbeat triumphant note. I don’t mind this change personally because to be honest, if you LIKE this movie, you will begin to care about the characters and the happy ending is quite satisfactory (Not that I’m opposed to unhappy endings or anything.) But check out the alternate ending, it’s available on youtube and it would’ve made a great ending as well.

So that is a big reason why Kids in the Hall fans are skeptical of this film. In fact, throughout the course of the film, KITH troupe member Dave Foley had his screenwriting credits on the film stripped away and he only finished filming his scenes under contract.

Another issue with the film that I refuse to give another beer to would be an issue of availability.  The members of Kids in the Hall themselves aren’t fond of this film and it doesn’t seem like Paramount Pictures is very fond of it. The rare DVD release of it has absolutely no special features… and I think this movie deserves better. I think it’s a movie that, despite how they feel about now, they put a lot of work into and it does have its fans… and it deserves more.

Verdict

2beers

I could go on and on about the sullied history of this film, the point is the final result is better than most comedies of the era or even today. It has something to say, and it’s one of the most well-constructed movie comedies I have seen in years. Nothing short of amazing stuff. Highly recommended.

 

Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever one of the five Kids in the Hall members appear as a new character

Take a Drink: when Dave Foley gets too little screentime

Take a Drink: when the Kids appear in drag as female characters

Take a Drink: for songs/musical numbers

Do a Shot: if you recognize a reference to the Kids in the Hall TV series

Down a Bottle of Something: if you agree with Roger Ebert

About Bill Leon

Writer/Podcast at Movieboozer

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