Why Haven’t You Seen it: Hot Rod

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Hi, my name is Remy, and I like to party. Wait, I am getting WAY ahead of myself.

From the few articles I have written on Unreality where I  have actually brought up Hot Rod, I know there are quite a few of you out there who have seen this spectacularly funny Andy Samberg movie, about an idealistic ( and awful) stunt man in a less than idealistic world. Think Super Dave (from that old show none of you remember which DEFINITELY inspired this film) meets the irreverence of Anchorman. But even knowing a handful of people who haven’t seen it tells me the word still needs to be spread. The Gospel of Hot Rod, if I may.

Anyone who sees the film falls in love with its irreverent humor and amazing cast, but the real problem here is, not enough people have seen it. Well, now that Andy Samberg is on a prime time TV show (that somehow actually doesn’t suck), I felt it might be the perfect time to talk about the pants-peeing hilarity that is Hot Rod. Yes, I just implied this movie is so funny it might make you pee your pants, and I will stand behind that. Only because i am peeing my pants right now for no good reason, and want to blame it on this film.

Hot Rod

Hot Rod is a movie about a wanna be stunt man named Rod Kimble, who decides he is going to jump fifteen buses in order to raise the money needed to get  his abusive step father a life saving operation, just so he can kick his ass. No, that is SERIOUSLY the plot here.  Hot Rod’s shitty step dad has a heart attack, and he’s been picking on Rod his whole life, saying  he is a pansy, so Rod wants to get him a new heart so he can beat his ass and prove him wrong. Say what you want, but that is some Shakesperean shit right there. What you will find once you sit down to watch the movie is some of the best physical comedy in the last ten years, and honestly, a movie that, beneath all the layers of humor, has a really big heart. It is a rather sweet movie beneath all the crashes and random musical bits.

Alright, set up out of the way, it’s trailer time.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhdrA9qz79o

Ever since I saw this movie, I now refer to all little kids as “little riders”.

What I don’t think enough people know is that those awesome Digital Shorts from SNL that got so popular in the last few years were often written and directed by the Lonely Island guys, who are, Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer, who just happen to be the people responsible for this film. Andy, Akiva, and Jorma all wrote it, and Andy and Jorma star in it, with Akiva behind the directorial lens. So if you enjoyed Lazy Sunday and Threw It On The Ground, then this film will be 90 minutes of gold for you, as it was for me. So I have said irreverent a few times now, and with good reason. Irreverent humor defines this movie. Hell, so much so, it makes the battle scene in Anchorman look normal.

So just how irreverent does the film get? All I can say is, cool beans.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKygjUmjMw4

Yes, the film is THIS insane.

Hot Rod is essentially an ensemble comedy that relies on quick gags paired up with insane, over-the-top moments, and it somehow strikes a perfect balance between slap stick and side-splitting. Rod is a shit stunt man, and if that was the single joke of the movie, it would fall flat after a half hour or so. What pushes this movie to transcend that is just how endearing (if not stupid) most of the characters are. These are very dumb people, but even as insane shit unfolds around them, they seem to have an heir of naivety about them that makes all these mishaps charming as oppose to annoying. As stupid as he is, it is very hard not to like Samberg and his cohorts in this film.

Speaking of cohorts, there is not a single comedy film in recent memory (outside of Anchorman) that has  cast this awesome. Hell, even the random Asian dude who dances around and air humps is likable. Note, that dude was not random. There used to be an Asian guy who was KIND OF in Lonely Island. Seriously, don’t believe me, watch the pilot for their old show, AWESOMETOWN. More on AWESOMETOWN at a later date. I have MUCH to say about that show. Mainly, TSK TSK Fox!

awesometown

Fox REALLY messed up huge by not picking this show up, and now they know it.

What I need to do now is talk to you about the cast. If a cast this solid was in any comedy right now, the movie would do exceptionally well, and with good reason. These people are all amazing at what they do, and the fact that Samberg got them all together is something I still find remarkable. How the hell he got Carrie to play his Mom, I will never know, but it sold the movie to me that much. Here, I will write  out some key cast members and co-stars, just so you are aware of the caliber of talent in Hot Rod:

Danny McBride

Sissy Specek

Bill Hader

Ian McShane (as the evil stepfather. Fuck and yes to that!)

Kristen Wiig

Will Arnett

Isla Fisher

Chris Parnell, and the list goes on.

Can we take just one moment to really bask in that list?

First of all, the comedic talent on display here is unreal. This film is worth seeing just see Bill Hader and Danny McBride doing their thing before anyone really knew or cared who they were. You can DEFINITELY see the seeds of Kenny Powers in McBride’s performance. Oh wait, that is just Danny McBride being Danny McBride. Man, god bless that fucking guy. Hader, on the other hand, is the opposite of Hader in real life (who is, to say, witty and well spoken). His character, Dave, may have the greatest LSD mishap ever put on film, and I won’t spoil anymore than that. Wiig may only be in it for a moment, but she is still in, adding members to the cult that know this film is legendary.

deadwood

When I blow this pic up to full size, it is so intimidating, it causes all the viruses in my computer to kill themselves.

You guys know I am a bit of an Ian McShane groupie, so to see McShane playing the tough guy role as the shitty stepDad is golorious to me, and it is wild just to see how much fun the weathered badass has with the role. He is constantly fucking with Rod about how he needs to be a real man, and get a real job, and grow a “real mustache”. Yes, Rod dons a fake mustache before doing stunts because mustaches are awesome and he can’t grow one, and his stepdad does NOT approve of this. Just their exchanges make this film is masterpiece. If seeing Ian McShane calling Andy Samberg a pansy does not make you laugh, something in you may be broken.

I will warn some of you, however, that if you are not a fan of Andy Samberg, and find him grating, this movie will not likely cause you to change teams. I went into it already a huge fan of Samberg, so for me, it was ideal, and it played to that humor I already appreciated him for. But if “dumb white guys” are not your shtick, this movie may not be for you. That tiny disclaimer out of the way, if you like to laugh at the absurd, like great casts, like training montages, like physical humor, and like a heart warming story about a dude who just wants to help his Dad get better so he can beat him up and prove he is a real man, than Hot Rod is for you.

Ah, screw it, Hot Rod is for everyone, regardless.

Andy Samberg, Danny McBride, Bill Hader and Jorma Hot Rod movie image

Also, maybe the only movie I will ever recommend who’s title could be confused for a gay porn. Actually, scratch that, I have a few doozies coming.

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5 Comments

  1. I first saw this movie years ago at a drive in. I was disappointed because the girl I was dating at the time wanted to see Spiderman 3. I had already seen it and knew how much it sucked, but I saw it again anyway to make her happy. She fell asleep 20 minutes in and slept through it, and Hot Rod. When Hot Rod came on, it was a welcome positive.

    I then showed it to many people when it come out on dvd.

    Saw it again for the first time in years a couple of weeks ago and thought, Remy should do a Why Haven’t You Seen It on this. Then thought, “nah, its not the genre he usually covers.”

    This movie is great and is full of quotes. It also introduced me to Hader and McBride. I was already familiar with The Lonely Island.

    My only thing is I wouldnt call McShane’s character evil or shitty or even a bad dad. There was clearly love in the relationship. And he did spend quality time with Rod on a weekly basis. Only it was spent beating him up. I would describe the dad as unnecessarily overly tough love step-father.

  2. This is such a good movie. I didn’t know much of Andy Samberg when I saw it but he did such a great job. I also saw it before I checked out Deadwood, so when I saw Ian McShane yelling “cocksucker,” it was quite the surprise. Every chance I get to suggest this movie to people I do it. Cool beans indeed.

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