Feb 16, 2006, 5:44 PM
Post #1 of 1
LAUGH WITH THEM / LAUGH AT THEM / THE BUTLERS DID IT
Mark these words: you read it here first. If the Butler Bros. (Jason & Brett) don't implode, explode or just plain plode, then I fearlessly predict you're going to be seeing a lot more from these cinematic siblings from Canada's Big Smoke.
And I'm predicting future success for these odd bodkins of the brutal boulevard based on the recent release of their two (count 'em) feature flicks -- namely, Alive & Lubricated, a hilarious fantasy about sex-obsessed friends circling the wagon around a cuckolded comrade, and Bums, a more structured comedy/drama about the wacky interactions of six preternaturally wiseguy twenty-something slackers.
Basically, what we have here are a couple of coming-of-age comedies which have been twisted by budget, script, acting and production values into screwball works of affect and effect. In other words, you're going to laugh with them� and at them. It's that fluctuation between suspension of disbelief and improbability of the action that gives these flicks their special sauce and probable cult following, once the word gets out�
And these bozos can bark. The Seinfeldian banter, Right Man monologues, Wildean aphorisms, and McLuhanesque observations, couched in a raging torrent of scatological name-calling and sexual slang, washes out of the stereo 2.0 or 4.0 surround sound and over you like a tsunami of hilarious secular truths about the way it is, cause �these are the rules� I don�t make them up, I just pass them on to the uninformed�, as Ben says to Dickey in Alive and Lubricated�s opening moments.
And pass the rules on they do, with relentless zeal.
Yes, the scripts. These movies don�t have �plots� per se � yes, the characters do get out and move around a bit -- but the basic action in both flicks is to get people together in different groupings and have them rap about each other, bitching/bragging about the past and bitching/bragging about impending possibilities. No matter, the Butler Boys have lots to say about how crummy it all can be when you're young and yappy, but if you're not one of this gang you may find some of the subject material is very specific to the Butler�s demographic� whatever you call going nowhere twenty-somethings these days. And when I say "specific", I mean "unblinking".
To wit, perhaps it would be best to give you some examples of What The Butlers Saw, and how they express it.
One of my fave scenes in both flicks is the already-infamous �candy bar� exchange in Alive and Lubricated. To quickly set the scene� main protagonist Dickey is running the vid store when his friend Ben arrives. After some small talk about porn films Ben asks Dickey if he�s been successful picking up women who rent chick flicks. Dickey snorts no, and then explains why�.
Dickey: It�s the candy bar industry, man� it is the root of all video clerk chastity� picture it� here I am, making the most blatant sexual overtures to these honeys�
Ben: Pathetic as they are�
Dickey: Whatever� the thing is they come here with their chick flicks and their response to my vibe is to go and grab a chocolate bar. Don�t you see, Ben? These industry guys, they know, they understand that women derive a certain, shall we say, satisfaction from a chocolate bar. And they prey on that fact� they prey�
Ben: So what you�re telling me, if I understand you correctly, is when a woman craves sexual satisfaction she subliminally reaches for a chocolate bar?
Dickey: Exactly what I�m saying. Just think about candy bar names and their innuendoes�
Dickey: Ohhh Henry!� Mister Big� and the coup d�etat (sic)� Eat More! Eat More!
Ben: You are really onto something. Listen to this: Snickers Really Satisfies�. Score� brilliant, brilliant!
Dickey: I knew you�d understand. I knew you�d see it. You know what really pisses me off? Some guy who�s 45, probably still living at home, obviously a virgin, is marketing these names against us. We�re out here, every day, competing against his little agenda�
Ben: And how can we compete with that nicely packaged chocolate-covered wad of nougat and caramel?
Dickey: That�s all I�m saying. We live in a world with too many hidden agendas.
No kidding. And The Butlers are going to ferret out as many hidden agendas as they can from the fertile field of youthful interpersonal relationships. Both flicks are a hot and steaming grab-bag of observational grub-clusters, and I could reprint a zillion similar examples of smartass humour from both movies.
Needless to say, these movies may not be that female-friendly, unless you know females like the ones portrayed by the Butlers � chicks who like to swear a lot, drink & party, screw and never shut up.
Is there really any point in giving you plot summaries? Bobby Dylan might say when ya ain't got nuthin', you got nuthin' to lose, but in this case the banter is really the action, and following the scenes as they go from conversation to more conversation is a treat I'll leave for you.
COMES COMPLETE WITH MUSIC, COMMENTARY & MORE!
Hey, just like real dvds, the Butler Boys dress up their product with all the de rigueur extras:
Great Sound Track: both flicks use local Toronto bands and what must be donated songs. Like the actors, you�ve probably never heard of groups like Skunk Allstars, No Alternative, Machine Love, Sicboy, Blasternaught, Famous Last Words, etc.
Hilarious Filmmaker�s Commentary: These could be the real hidden gems of these dvds. Sure, the movies are funny, but listening to Jason and Brett talk about making the movies is often funnier. Could the boys be drinking as they comment? Maybe.
And More: There�s not much left in the can when these scavengers are finished. The More includes deleted or extended scenes, outtakes, original Trailers, 4.0 Surround sound and 2.0 Stereo sound, production photo albums, yadda yadda. Only for the hardcore and relatives.
BOTTOM LINE: BUY THEM!
Like I say, I�m convinced Alive and Lubricated[/i will end up a cult classic, so why not jump to the deep end of the cool pool and be the one amusing your friends, rather than being upstaged down the road. Bums (did I say it was in colour?) localizes and examines the lifestyles of the young and unfathomable, and offers up the shallow end of the pool, so no diving, running or spitting.
And don't forget Jason and Brett's "director's comments" versions of the flicks. Very witty, quite revealing about techniques (for aspiring filmmakers), and indicative of the BB's affinity to standup observations, they may be the best dessert after the main course, depending, of course, on your preponderance for substance abuse, which I'm convinced would at least get you up to speed with the actors. These silly suckers are cheap at $12 each, both for $20, and are available from the boy�s website. [URL=http://www.subprod.com]Substance Production
� Rick McGrath 11/ 2005
for the full article on the Butler Boys visit [URL=http://www.culturecout.com/Ajo/film/ButlerBros.htm]Culture Court