By: Addison Wylie
It’s no competition that Kenny vs. Spenny – whether you like it or not – has become a staple in Canadian pop culture.
Kenny Hotz and Spencer Rice’s reality television show featured the buddies going toe-to-toe with each other in various matches such as Who Can Win a Ten Mile Race and Who Can Stay in a Haunted House the Longest. However, as the competitions became increasingly irreverent and Hotz’s strategies more torturous to his mensch sidekick, the pair’s cult following grew as stakes got riskier with episodes such as Who Can Drink More Beer and Who Can Get Further With The Other Guy’s Mom. It was a classic case of Schadenfreude.
The show’s been off the air for over three years, and the men have spun off to do their own side projects; leaving Kenny vs. Spenny to settle.
The high demand of a comeback may be what started the inception of an on-the-road reunion. Hotz and Rice are teaming up to hit various parts of Canada and hold Q&As, screen segments from the show, and hand out autographs.
Jamie Tiernay, who worked on Kenny vs. Spenny as a crew member on Kenny’s side of the show, has started a Kickstarter campaign to accumulate funds to make a documentary about the tour.
Learn more below:
The Kenny vs. Spenny On The Road Tour Documentary Kickstarter Campaign is about documenting these two cult legends on their KVS tour across Canada.
Having worked with Kenny and Spenny for over 10 years I’ve convinced them to give me unrestricted access to the tour, themselves and the final cut! I’m going to be poking, prodding, manipulating and uncovering shit you couldn’t even imagine in your wildest wet KVS dreams. A road trip tour friendship extravaganza with dick jokes, fart jokes, drunken nights, insane fans, hot fans, dumb fans and shit that’ll make you pee your pants.
With this $46,000 campaign goal we’ll be able to shoot the whole west coast tour, edit and deliver a pretty kick ass film BUT there’s more tour locations and dates to come this year. So if we PASS OUR GOAL it’ll let us shoot more tours, more insanity and give more editing time to make this the most insane Kenny vs. Spenny documentary film ever!
Visit Jamie Tiernay’s Kickstarter page for more details.
My Two Cents:
Tiernay’s documentary sounds and looks promising, but $46,000 sounds like an inflated random number. However, I trust Tiernay, who obviously has the best intentions for his film and clearly knows how to handle these types of projects. After all, equipment rentals, transportation, and accommodations do add up rather quickly.
I hope the doc doesn’t take on usual road movie and concert film tropes these projects tend to helplessly accept (see: Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days & 30 Nights – Hollywood to the Heartland and any live event featuring a member of the Jackass crew). Tiernay’s brief video preview featured enough farting around to make me weary.
But, Tiernay also appears to be focused on the love/hate friendship between Hotz and Rice. As a possible investor, this is a hopeful opportunity that could potentially propel the film in a surprising direction. This could shed more of a natural light onto these two performers.
I wish Jamie Tiernay luck with his upcoming film. It should, at the very least, act as that proper fix for Kenny vs. Spenny diehards.
All italicized statements regarding Kenny vs. Spenny: On The Road are provided from their respected crowdfunding sources. Wylie Writes is not responsible for funds attached to these productions and we do not hold any accountability.
This project is that of the filmmaker’s. Use your own discretion.
If you’re not a stranger to movies featuring a favoured comic performing stand-up, the beginning of Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain should be another walk in the park from stage left to stage right.
Before we get to Hart’s routine which sold out New York City’s Madison Square Garden (twice!), audiences are given a Cloverfield-esque intro showing Hart having to defend himself at an after party. After countless patrons questioning him and his on-stage confessions, Hart proclaims his return to the stage in order to – wait for it – explain himself.
This scripted lead-in is supposed to bring the laughs by putting Hart in awkward confrontations, but these scenes establish Kevin Hart as an obnoxious narcissist – trumping any opportunity for funniness.
Now, let me explain. It’s expected for a stand-up comedy film to shed a lot of light onto its main star. It’s a whole other kettle of fish, however, when the film is used for the star to gloat and remind everyone of how important he is.
For an annoying fifteen minutes, Hart brings himself up in conversation many times – either according to the script or during more documentary-type scenes. Soon after, Hart breaks the forth wall and offers a montage of how he traveled far and wide selling out multiple arenas and stages. It’s an impressive feat for a comic to fill spaces as much as he does. It’d be more impressive if it hadn’t felt like Hart was rubbing it in.
Starting off in Canada, Kevin Hart and his crew travel by bus to multiple venues. The tour life is intercut with post-show audiences raving about Hart’s comedy. The film certainly isn’t light on footage of women batting their lashes affirming their love for Kevin Hart.
The egocentric set-up does not start Let Me Explain on a good foot. It’s especially discouraging to a first timer of Hart’s stand-up as I was.
I have to be honest. I had only caught snippets of Hart’s comedy in passing such as his hosting stint on Saturday Night Live. Previous to SNL, my knowledge of Hart hadn’t exceeded his role in Soul Plane and his bit part in The 40-Year-Old Virgin.
As all good docs or stand-up movies should do, I was interested in Kevin Hart’s stylings and I wanted Let Me Explain to show me what the hubbub was all about. Actually, the fact that I used “hubbub” in a sentence tells me that I probably don’t belong amongst Hart’s followers.
After his latest comedic offering, I’m not sold just yet. Out of all his material, I only found a third of it to be funny – and, I’m being very generous. A lot of Hart’s comedy consists of shouting and repetitiveness, leading to the comic senselessly hammering the punchline into the ground after its drawn out delivery.
Leslie Small and Tim Story’s film doesn’t reinvent the concert film wheel by any means. Each joke Hart screams, the audience goes wild. Every once in a while, there are a couple of camera perspectives that catch us off guard. But, Small and Story want to stick to a formulaic shooting and cutting routine; just as Hart does with his jokes.
The moments that are the most memorable though are the instances where Kevin Hart shows us that he’s human after all. The funniest moment is unexpected for the comedian as he accidentally breaks his persona to uncontrollably laugh at a ridiculous set built around dirty homeless hands giving people “bum bumps”. The second most memorable moment happens towards the end where Hart gratefully thanks his audience for supporting him and helping him sell out a 30,000 seat theatre (again, twice!). Both genuine moments are neither smug or schmaltzy.
It’s these glimpses that make us shake off those bad vibes we had earlier in the film. Hart is indeed a sincere and generous guy who has a blast doing what he does. Some uncontrived scenes during the credits show Hart and his buddies as a group of fun-loving friends you’d want to have a beer with.
I didn’t laugh as much as I wanted to during Hart’s comedy and Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain as a whole is a definite dud, but at least the comic partially redeems himself by the end and has movie goers happy with him as a person in a way that feels trustworthy.
I went into The Sheepdogs Have At It with interested, persuasive ears. I had heard some of the band’s work and liked it, but never found myself yearning to find out more about the band members themselves. I would take the music at face value and soak in the nostalgia that lined the tracks.
The Sheepdogs Have At It offered insights here and there regarding how the band got started and how tough and exhausting touring is, but director John Barnard never gives his audience more than just a few insights – at least, for the first 2/3 of his documentary.
As we hear these floating facts about the band’s origin and how their appearance on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine changed their lives, Barnard tends to repeat himself. We constantly hear fans, family, and essential workers in the music industry commend The Sheepdogs on having non-stop drive and perseverance – even during those slower periods as the band tried to find their audience. However, it’s the post-Rolling Stone opinion that seems all too clichéd and usual.
“Their next album needs to be big,” says everyone as they comment on The Sheepdogs possible future. It’s a true, concern but needn’t Barnard keep a control on how many times its uttered? It’s times like these along with other continual instances – like watching the band record solos and becoming upset at their messy takes – it feels like the doc is chasing its own tail.
Even though they have a history with band members Sam Corbett, Ewan Currie, Ryan Gullen, and Leot Hanson, the documentary isn’t all that flattering of a vehicle for these third party interview subjects or for the band either. That’s not to say it puts these people into a negative light. The thing is they aren’t put in the light as best as they could’ve been.
A good example would be that concert footage. Not only is The Sheepdogs Have At It a straight-up documentary, but it’s also a semi-concert film as well – giving moviegoers the feeling of being awash in the crowd of rockers. The footage is frequently displaying these rugged musicians from profile shots while their hair drapes over their faces. These shots are mixed in with random unsteady close-ups of instruments and unfocused snap-zooms into the smiley crowd. It’s as if the shoot called for multiple cameramen to take aim at a musician and improvise creative shots.
The willingness to get creative is mindful, but there needs to be more planning and a more detailed shot list before shooting a concert on-the-fly and accumulating lots of footage that isn’t so appealing to look at.
It’s not until moviegoers start to learn more about the contest process behind the Rolling Stone cover that the film builds genuine excitement. Again, we hear how so many people adore the old thyme-y sounds of The Sheepdogs, but we figure out how their word-of-mouth can be so effective.
Because of their distinct, unnatural sounding tunes (by radio stations’ standards), The Sheepdogs had a hard time getting listeners of all ages to hear what they cooked up. Interviews with Fearless Fred from 102.5 The Edge as well as other chats with knowledgable musical hounds tell audiences how they worked to get airtime for the band. Barnard’s doc also highlights a funny but equally odd piece of promotion that helped the band significantly – a featured spot on the reality TV show Project Runway.
When we see the crowds gradually grow building up to the final days of voting for the Rolling Stone contest, our smiles can’t help but grow as well. The support by Canadian listeners alone is an impressive move and subtlety shows how dedicated fans can make a difference for their beloved band for the better.
Barnard and his doc are adamant to win you over by the end credits. The filmmaker manages to make us smile and tap our feet as we approach the final moments of the film, but The Sheepdogs Have At It needed that same excitement during its introduction. That excitement may have been there but, unfortunately, it would’ve been done in by repetitive direction and unpolished editing.
I’m more of a fan of The Sheepdogs and their music after watching Barnard’s hasty doc, but the filmmaker needs a bit more rehearsal time behind the camera in order to pull off something consistently effective.
By: Addison Wylie
These recent concert documentaries have done a terrific job at peeling away layers of a hot musical artist and presenting them to audiences in a vulnerable way. Katy Perry: Part of Me may just be the most naked one yet.
That’s not to say Perry DOES get naked. That would obliterate any chance of getting a PG rating and creating an accessible product for her young fans.
Perry does however keep up her image. In the film, we see Perry strut around on stage in elaborate whimsical and risque getups. We see large gingerbread men that have been created for a specific song. Lighting effects and lasers fill the amphitheatre as Perry shoots white foam from a peppermint candy coloured hose! But, who made and thought up all of this?
The film explains to us that Perry does a lot of the motioning to her crew and has a vivid picture of how she wants everything timed and what she wants it all to look like. She couldn’t do all of this without a great crew – that so happens to be made up of dedicated friends and family.
Directors Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz want everyone to have some time in the cinematic spotlight in order to claim their deserved recognition. Some of these interviews are with Perry’s designer Johnny Wujek and her sister Angela Hudson, who spends a lot of time helping the artist and even occasionally taking the stage as Kathy Beth Terry during a performance of Perry’s hit Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.).
It’s important we see these key players at work behind-the-scenes. By seeing Perry interact with her crew and seeing these hard working individuals want to please their friend, there’s much more of a connection with every element in Perry’s show.
This crew also fills us in on Perry’s past. The ups-and-downs are notes we’d expect in a struggling musician’s life but even so, it’s hard to predict what happened on Katy’s road to stardom.
Cutforth and Lipsitz take us back to the very beginning all the way up to present day where Katy is performing a year long tour, her largest tour to date thus far.
Fans of Perry will either be engrossed with her initiative as an aspiring musician as we watch her record songs with different labels and then leap frog to another company due to failed business or confusion on the company’s part about what to do with such a seemingly impressionable artist.
Or, for fans who were hoping for a straightforward concert film, be either pleasantly surprised by the amount of detail or disappointed in the lack of stage time. I think the fidgety eight-year-old who was beside me tugging on her Daddy’s arm belonged in the latter category. I don’t think she really cared about Perry’s straight laced Christian family and her strict lifestyle growing up. I think she would’ve rather just danced to California Gurls.
It’s not exactly a dig at the film saying younger fans may be bored with the results because parents and other older fans will certainly pull a lot out of Part of Me, but it certainly isn’t going to be an approach that’ll please all age groups.
I think whether you are young or old, everyone will appreciate how the film confronts the inevitable.
There’s a foreboding beat the film starts off on. As Perry collects all of her dancers and crew members together for a pre-show huddle, she exclaims, “Where’s Russell? Russell! Come here.” cueing the now-ex husband Russell Brand to walk into frame.
The documentary showcases just how inseparable Brand and Perry were during most of their relationship. Whenever Perry wasn’t performing, she would figure out a way to fly out and see Brand to then return back to her regularly scheduled program a couple days later.
So, when the film does hit the point where the relationship hits a dry spell and the two start having complications, it’s like slowly watching a compelling train derailment.
However, we’re never laughing at Perry because we see things that she doesn’t. The film actually becomes very emotional during these moments as we see Perry approach the stage and stopping to break down every few steps.
Does she do the show or take the much deserved rest and recuperation away from the theatrics? Her decision and the end results of her choice, weirdly enough, gave me goosebumps.
The speculator within me does want to pull the editing team aside and ask them if any Brand footage was additionally added once the break-up was made public. Not to say that Brand wasn’t a huge influence on Perry when she was performing but there are plenty of scenes before the downfall that play up how much she was head over heels for her beau. You can’t help but feel this sub-plot gained a few pounds in post-production.
When I wasn’t captivated by her road to stardom or being emotionally tugged, I found myself smitten with Perry and with her movie. I was surprised with how impressed I was with the finished product and with her dedication and accomplishments as an artist.
It was a similar feeling I had with 2011’s Justin Bieber pic, Never Say Never. Then again, these two directors served as producers on that film.
I would say that Part of Me runs more briskly than Never Say Never though. Where the songs in Never Say Never felt as if they were there to please those young fans, the songs in Part of Me serve as a form of narration. In order to tie Perry’s story in with her music and emphasize more of the influence her life experiences have on her music. Cutforth and Lipsitz have strategically placed, with help from the editors, each song at an appropriate moment in the film. A lot of these choices work.
The musical choices that don’t work as well aren’t bad but rather a little funny. The film begins with numerous fans telling their videocameras how much the lyrics have deep meaning and how these emotions in the songs have helped them through tough times. We then cut to Katy Perry singing one of her fluffier songs Hot N’ Cold. Again, not a bad choice. Just peculiar.
However, I don’t want to undercut the feelings fans have towards Perry. They’ve obviously found meaning and insightfulness in her poppy and genuine verses and I’m not one to reject that notion. I mean, I’m a guy who found tons of enjoyment and fascination in her concert film! If those fans can have her songs, I will happily take her movie with open, cotton candy coated arms.