Wet Hot American Summer
It may be the middle of November, but summer camp is always in session at Camp Firewood. The satirical comedy Wet Hot American Summer (2001) is a comedy movie classic, filled with nostalgic camp memories, a star studded cast, and two additional mini series on Netflix: an eight-episode prequel series (2015) and an eight-episode sequel series (2017). In perfect conjunction with its name, this film is raunchy, bold, and jam packed with hours of yelling at Katie (Marguerite Moreau) to make up her mind about a guy. In other words, it’s a wild ride.
The film takes place during the last full day at a fictional summer camp called Camp Firewood in 1981, and spoofs the sex comedies aimed at teen audiences of that era. During this last day, counselors have one last chance to have a romantic encounter with another person at Camp Firewood. The summer culminates in a talent show. Beth (Janeane Garofalo), the camp director, struggles to keep her counselors in order—and her campers alive—while falling in love with Henry (David Hyde Pierce), an astrophysics associate professor at Colby College. Henry has to devise a plan to save the camp from a piece of NASA’s Skylab, which is falling to Earth. Coop (Michael Showalter) has a crush on Katie (Marguerite Moreau), his fellow counselor. However, he has to pry her away from her obnoxious, and obviously unfaithful boyfriend, Andy (Paul Rudd), who is having an affair with Lindsay (Elizabeth Banks). Only Gene (Christopher Meloni), the shell-shocked Vietnam war veteran and camp chef, can help Coop win Katie—with some help from a talking can of mixed vegetables. All the while, Gary (A.D. Miles), Gene’s unfortunately chosen apprentice, and J.J. (Zak Orth) attempt to figure out why McKinley (Michael Ian Black) has not been with a woman, the reason being that McKinley is in love with Ben (Bradley Cooper), whom he married in a ceremony at the lake; Victor (Ken Marino) attempts to lose his virginity with the resident loose-girl Abby (Marisa Ryan); and Susie (Amy Poehler) and Ben attempt to produce and choreograph the greatest talent show Camp Firewood has ever seen.
While it may sound all over the place, this is a genius comedic film, that is often underrated. In regards to the cast, this movie was their introduction to comedic fame. However, regardless of their rookie status, each character is brilliantly performed and will have you laughing for hours. Fresh off of Clueless (1995), Paul Rudd is absolutely killer as Andy, the boyfriend of every parents’ nightmare. Michael Showalter shines as the awkward, relatable Coop, who will make you cringe and laugh, agreeing with his romantic struggles (what a mood). While not one of her bigger roles, Amy Poehler is hilarious as Susie, who honestly is foreshadowing the modern day theater kid, even in 2001. Along with Poehler, the movie stars comedy legend Molly Shannon, who will have you rolling over with laughter from her cry alone. Truly, it would take hours to properly praise this amazing cast for their performances. Yes, the plot line alone is crazy and unique, but it is the brilliant cast that makes this film a winner.
Furthermore, the plot is brilliantly constructed to continually throw audiences ridiculous curveballs, that leave them bursting with laughter. From big plot lines having unexpected endings, to tiny transition scenes with the campers that are equally funny, the film keeps viewers on their toes. While it may be a bit tough to fully keep track of the different plot lines, the movie keeps you pulled in with each new scene. Seriously, name another movie where the individual scenes are more enjoyable than the overall plot line. It is the clever crafting of the scripts development and flow that makes this movie stand out among others. Plus, as aforementioned, Netflix created two other series to watch after the film, in case you can’t get enough of Camp Firewood, like I did.
Put on your swimsuits and don’t forget your sunscreen. This is one movie you’ll want to dive right into.
Queer Eye: We’re in Japan!
Kon’nichiwa! Your favorite makeover group, the Fab Five, are back and in Japan. For those who are unfamiliar with the show, Queer Eye (originally Queer Eye For The Straight Guy) is a Netflix reality makeover show, where five gay men makeover a newly nominated person each week. However, this show is not solely about making over each nominee’s physical image. Each of the guys have their own unique talent.
Tan France is a fashion expert, tasked with changing up the nominee’s style and giving them a sense of fashion. The lovable Jonathan Van Ness is a hair expert, tasked with assisting nominees with their grooming and hair management. Antoni Porowski is the group’s resident food enthusiast, tasked with adjusting the diet of the nominee’s and making all our stomach’s growl. Bobby Berk is an architect and interior designer, tasked with making over and rebuilding the homes of the nominees (his transformations are insane). Finally, Karamo Brown, the culture expert, is tasked with helping nominee’s through their cultural, personal, or mental issues, finding a solution to what has put them in this rut.
The show is primarily based within the United States, so transitioning to a season in Japan was a big jump for the program. In this season, the team of Queer Eye take their gorgeous, uplifting make-over skills to the Land of the Rising Sun. They are joined by Japan experts Kiko Mizuhara and Naomi Watanabe, and venture throughout Japan helping individuals in need. From a woman who has lost her identity as a woman, to a struggling gay man, the Fab Five work their magic to bring smiles to their faces, and ours.
As a whole, Queer Eye is a magnificent show that has audience left stunned by the group’s incredible work. Seriously, this show is no ordinary makeover show, and you will always be left in shock at the transformation. The show also touches on a lot of important LGBTQ issues along with issues of mental health. Trust me, you will need a box of tissues with you while you watch. But the show is not entirely about being emotional and making great transformations, as the guys are hilarious. It is very difficult not to fall in love with Jonathan Van Ness’s bright and happy personality.
Don’t forget your passport! This is one makeover adventure you won’t want to miss.