Alright, I feel like a bit of an idiot. That fact actually helped the rating and the reasoning for that feeling will come out a little later. See, I apparently slightly confused Wet Hot American Summer with One Crazy Summer….to a degree. I knew One Crazy Summer was an 80’s movie on its own about fresh-out-of-high-school teens spending their last summer on Nantucket. Wet Hot American Summer is an 80’s movie about summer camp.
The thing I love about both is that they each have an up and coming cast (Wet Hot more than One Crazy though, mind you). Naturally they each have the priceless 80’s feel that makes you think of anything with John Hughes’ name on it. One small problem though: One Crazy Summer has a literally “young stars” cast (namely John Cusack, Demi Moore, and Jeremy Piven) and was made in 1986. Wet Hot American Summer on the other hand I discovered had a release year of 2001. Yup, two movies with that unique 80’s feel.
Complete with short shorts and belly shirts….on guys
Only one was made IN the 80’s and one was made ABOUT the 80’s. Folks, a large part of the good review Wet Hot American Summer is about to receive is because I didn’t know it wasn’t made in the 80’s until I happened to see Kyle Gallner’s name in the credits and again confused him for Kyle Chandler (in name, not looks). Then I started seeing “2001” plastered next to this movie and saw it was a SPOOF on the 80’s teen summer movie. With an ensemble cast of stars that it turns out were on the cusp of breaking through (with the natural few established stars in there for support), you have an effective and successful movie. Now that the buildup is complete:
To having a great ensemble cast and being able to truly recreate the feel of an 80’s movie. Maybe part of it has to do with me not knowing it wasn’t an authentic 80’s movie until after, but there were no hints that it wasn’t! This would certainly not be the first time a young cast of future famous people has been used, just watch any John Hughes film or The Goonies. Then there’s the clothing. As far as the clothing goes, I think the pic above says it all: yellow short shorts, a belly shirt, and the ¾ sleeve jersey. Only a movie not trying or not made in the 80’s would make the mistake of not including those authentic articles of clothing that thankfully did not make the jump into the new millennium….unless you’re a hipster.
That’s really what gives the movie a lot of big marks: how authentic it feels. It really impressed me, cause like I said, had I not seen Gallner’s name and thought “is that kid old enough to have been in an 80’s movie?” I would have looked even worse instead of using my stupidity as fuel for this review.
Alas, a second beer IS warranted. That goes to character development. Everyone essentially has these established roles that you figure out about as quickly as you do the roles in Feast.
Yup, pretty much this easy
The only difference between Wet Hot and other movies like it (or the movies it tries to be like) is that there is no character development. Most movies have the guy getting the girl or the guy gaining some confidence from losing his virginity or something. By the final scenes, there was really one storyline left standing and it was dropped for what I’ll admit is more a realistic and non-storybook ending.
A few weeks ago I had heard something about Wet Hot American Summer getting a sequel and there is even a scene that sets one up (and while I was watching, I remembered the article and thought to myself “there it is! There’s the sequel…albeit a little late”). Turns out a sequel would be pretty on time, literally 10 years later. Maybe this can become the movie version of “I love the 80’s” and “I love the 90’s”, successfully parodying the look and feel of its basis. Either way, it’s a fun and simple movie with a cast of current A-list actors in a mock 80’s movie which I personally will never get tired of.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for every sweet piece of clothing… you know you want to
Take a Shot: for a talking can of food
Take a Drink: whenever things like rubbing mud on your butt and humping a fridge are embraced
Take a Shot: for ‘Nam