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CrowdFUNding: Jamie Tiernay’s Kenny vs. Spenny: On The Road

March 12, 2014 1 comment

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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:

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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.

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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.

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Lancelot Link: The Ludicrous, The Lame

February 9, 2014 Leave a comment

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By: Addison Wylie

I usually stick to reviewing movies or anything related to cinema.  But, every once in a while, I bend the rules pending on what gets zipped to me through my inbox.  Recently, the DVD release of the short lived television series Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp was that exception.

The series lasted from September 1970 to the cusp of January 1971, and the cast was made up by chimpanzees.  It featured the title character and his female assistant Mata Hairi solving crime and tracking down the baddies of C.H.U.M.P. (or the Criminal Headquarters of the Underworld’s Master Plan).

Apart from the spy serials, the show also pitched itself as a variety show offering psychedelic musical numbers from Lancelot Link and the Evolution Revolution as well as short absurdist segments titled Chimpies.

I watched the trailer for the DVD release, and was hooked.  I’ve never known what the process is like behind a show like Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp, but I imagine it’s pretty gruelling.  All you can do is hope the animals are being cared for and are accepting of their tasks in front of the lens.

As I watched a few episodes, I was fairly impressed with what the show’s director and producers were able to stage with the chimps.  Everything looks insane and it’s hard to convince yourself you’re actually watching chimps dance and “talk”, but this crew was able to materialize and stabilize a plot while making everything on screen take on a natural state.

However, I found the spy stories to be terribly boring.  The show is trying to stick to a specific outline and follow similar beats to its inspirational big brother, Get Smart.  The show is not really spoofing the spy series, but rather putting a new spin on it.

The scripts play each story too straight-laced, sucking any sort of fun or camp out of an episode.  The only wacky things going on in these stories is that they’re being acted by spastic chimps reenacting dated stereotypes.  Remove the chimps and you have clunky plots with pages and pages of exposition.

The musical numbers and Chimpies ended up stealing the spotlight in each episode.  These brief portions “got” what made Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp enticing and what made audiences morbidly and giddily interested with the show.

The songs performed by a confused but carefree band of chimps are catchy and very poppy.  You’ll be tapping your toes while you watch each animal try and handle their artificial instruments.

Chimpies is even weirder, but much funnier.  The show asks us to laugh at the oddest of visuals – like, cutaways featuring chimps wearing “wacky” costumes and telling eye-roller jokes.  These nutty moments are quick enough to get away with whatever ludicrous sights and sounds it throws our way.

But, the energy rapidly drops as soon as the main spy story enters the picture again.  This show has the right amount of silliness and the exact dosage of fortitude, but can’t let its hair down when its delivering the primary goods.  It’s alright for a show to treat its premise with respect, but I at least expect something this crazy to keep my attention.

Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp may have been good for its time, but it’s a droopy disappointment today.

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Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp is now available on a 3-disc DVD set featuring all 17 episodes from original ABC masters and never-before-seen extras.

Sharknado

November 24, 2013 Leave a comment

By: Addison WylieSharknadoPoster

Here we go again!  A shoddy B-movie courtesy of The Asylum and SyFy has graced our pop culture palette and tons of people (including celebrities) are claiming it to be a film that’s “so bad, it’s good”.

Sharknado earned infamous notoriety after its television premiere and has become so popular amongst a cult crowd, that it earned a fleeting theatrical run – including midnight screenings.

The schlock fest has been embraced in the same way James Nguyen’s Birdemic films have been, but Sharknado could’ve been the game changer.  I was really wanting filmmaker Anthony C. Ferrante to prove me wrong and offer pure joyful escapist entertainment.  I wanted Sharknado to avoid those bullheaded snafus Nguyen often found himself in.  Unfortunately, Ferrante is determined to out “Nguyen” James Nguyen with this stinker.

Sharknado actually had me pining for the good natured passion the Birdemic filmmaker clumsily charges through with.  Chalk that up as another thing I didn’t like about Sharknado.  It made me confess that I wished I was watching a James Nguyen flick.

I hate Birdemic, but I can at least understand why it works for some.  The cringeworthy likability factors exist because there’s a dedicated filmmaker behind the wheel legitimately trying to involve movie goers and successfully pitch what he’s selling.  The fact that anyone was so hard driven enough to go through with a film of its nature hooks people and they keep coming back.  They’re addicted.

There’s no selling whatsoever in Sharknado.  Ferrante, The Asylum, and SyFy think a goofy title and cheap special effects will be more than enough to satisfy their customers, when really they’re only scraping the surface of what needs to go into something this ridiculous.

Just because a filmmaker shovels a wacky premise towards its audience and then layers a bunch of tomfoolery on top doesn’t mean everyone’s going to eat it up.  Instead, the film and those involved come off as posers – hoping the audience won’t second guess.  When the evidence and presence is this flat, it guarantees skepticism.

While I tried not to dig too deep into the absurdity that is Sharknado, I just wasn’t convinced by any of it.  Part of the fun while watching these B-movie romps is investing yourself in these crazy environments during its freak attack.

In Sharknado, it is painfully and embarrassingly obvious that everyone is acting in front of a green screen in a studio or on a backlot.  Whenever the cast is acting on location, there’s always neutral activity happening in the background to convince you that the main danger is never life-threatening.  When a giant Ferris wheel is unhinged, rolls down a boardwalk, and smashes into a building, I have a hard time believing people would still be driving their cars around it at a normal speed.

Just as the filmmaker has to sell their idea, the cast has to do their fair share of convincing as well.  They don’t.  They not only have a hard time showing fear towards a wild tornado hurling sharks across California, they have a hard time portraying the notion of ever having seen a shark before.

Tara Reid, who looks like an embarrassed Mother who’s been caught by her friends playing make-believe with her kid in a park, is haggardly out of place – as is her whiny character.  It’s a relief to see John Heard having fun as a drunken fool who runs around and chases the girls, but I wish he was letting loose in a better movie.

Criticizing a film that has its protagonists trying to bomb a shark invested whirlwind feels a bit redundant, but I needed to air my thoughts.  Because, this isn’t “so bad, it’s good”.  Sharknado lacks a sense of peril, a sense of humour, and a sense of what is going to entertain.  This is “so bad, it’s bad”.

Slaughter Nick for President

May 9, 2013 1 comment

By: Addison WylieOne Sheet & One Page

Many connections can be made through social networking, but obscure actor Rob Stewart made the ultimate one that also changed his life.

Through Facebook, Stewart discovered a TV show he starred in 20 years ago called Tropical Heat had taken on a new life in Serbia.  A Serbian punk band named Atheist Rap contacted Rob and offered an opportunity where Rob could perform with them during a song dedicated to Stewart’s Tropical Heat character Nick  Slaughter.  Stewart agreed and before you can say “Slaughtermania”, Rob and his filmmaking pals Liza and Marc Vespi were on a plane headed for Serbia.  The reception they received during their two-week stay was unforgettable.

Slaughter Nick for President is a bundle of fun – mostly because Stewart comes off as a nice, charismatic guy deserving enough to be recognized for his work.  It’s delightful to see avid fans approach him for photos and to shake his hand.  It’s as if Stewart has entered a whole other universe – one that’s completely different from his homestead in Brampton, ON.

There are even some moments where art imitates life.  In a hilarious scene where Stewart is approached to star in a commercial for a product he’s unclear of while he reads his lines in an inflatable bubble, we can’t help but think of Bill Murray’s overwhelmed presence on the set of a game show in Lost in Translation.

As Stewart finds out more from Serbian sources, audiences can’t help but be in awe as well.  During harsher times in Serbia when student protests were taking place against former Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic, the overall vibes and outlooks were very bleak.  People would turn to Tropical Heat for the bright colours, Slaughter’s brand of humour, and for the silly action.  This audience found optimism in Stewart’s Hawaiian shirts and ponytail.

Slaughter Nick for President lets audiences now just how effective escapist entertainment can be.  Some may see these types of films and television as schlock, but this documentary shows just how much of an impact this entertainment can have in the places you wouldn’t have even thought of.

Though this new information about Stewart’s career is interesting and flooring, the moments where Stewart interviews various Serbians is where the documentary slowly comes to a halt.

Simply, the film needed more cameras and an editor who knew how to keep the interest high during talking head one-on-ones.  The one camera set-up ensues long takes where the interviewee gabs and gabs and the lack of cutting makes these interviews drone on and on.  In the film’s defence, they try to keep things moving by adding older news footage, stills, and fade-to-white transitions, but it just isn’t enough to satisfy moviegoers.

The energy diminishes partly because Stewart and company are brimming with energy during these initial scenes as they drink in Serbian culture.  When this excitement takes extended breaks, it seriously affects the audience’s ability to stay as energized.

But, Slaughter Nick for President always knows how to return to form.  One of the more rewarding scenes in the documentary – and one of the catchiest scenes I’ve seen recently – involves that climactic night where Rob Stewart assists Atheist Rap during their song ‘Slaughteru Nietzsche’ as a crowd full of young punks bounce around.  It’s unreal for Stewart but as we’ve watched how everything has unfolded and led to this vibrant event, it’s equally as surreal and electric.