Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mary DeSive Laughs at Dude, Where's My Car?

Among writers, the discussion often turns to movies--in fact last Saturday at my Heartland Writer's Group chapter meeting, vice-president Eve Savage used 25 word blurbs from movies for her workshop, and we had to guess the movie. My friend Mary DeSive won, of course. She's the reining movie maven in the group. Mary had once shared her favorite comedy, so I asked her to blog about it for my Movies That Make Us Laugh episode.

Among some of my friends, "Mary Movie" applies to any costume drama, usually British, usually a snore fest for anyone with a y chromosome. A Room With A View is the gold standard for "Mary Movies." You don't pass the ARWAV test, we may not get along so well. Friends call me to decipher Jane Austen and Shakespeare. I saw Titanic five times in the theater. But I have a dirty little secret. I LOVE "stupid" movies, and one of my favorites is Dude, Where's My Car?

DWMC follows Jesse (Ashton Kutcher) and Chester (Seann William Scott), who have apparently spent the previous night getting so stoned that they don't remember anything about it. They do know that there is now a lifetime supply of pudding in the kitchen, it's their anniversary with "The Twins" (played by Jennifer Garner and Marla Sokoloff) and they're sure they bought presents, which must be in Jesse's car. The only problem is, they can't find the car (didn't see that one coming, did ya?). They spend the rest of the movie looking for the elusive car, while being pursued by some "Hot Chicks," a pair of "Alien Nordic Dudes," a group of jocks, and the followers of Zoltan (sporting awesome bubblewrap ensembles). All are convinced that Jesse and Chester posses the Continuum Transfunctioner, a "very mysterious and powerful device" whose "mystery is exceeded only by its power." I think it may be the goofiest MacGuffin in movie history.

I love Monty Python, Mel Brooks and pretty much anything Mike Myers has ever done. DWMC has elements of all of these. There are shades of Abbott and Costello, as well: The scene with the "Dude" and "Sweet" tattoos could be the equivalent of "Dude, Who's on First?" No matter how many times I watch it, there are parts of this movie I laugh myself sick over. And apparently it's seeped into my brain enough that when I saw a license plate that said SWEET, my first thought was "Dude!" Conversations in our household have been known to devolve into repeated "And then?" comments.

Chester has occasional flashes of brilliance. One wonders what he could accomplish if he didn't "shibby" so much. Jesse, on the other hand, shows little promise other than being the cute one (Ashton Kutcher is that guy I wish I didn't think was hot). In fact, Jesse continues to insist that the ostriches they encounter are llamas, despite all other evidence.

DWMC has some great cameos by Kristy Swanson, Brent Spiner, Fabio, and Andy Dick looking even worse here than he does in his mug shots, if that's possible. I'd actually seen the movie several times before I recognized Brent Spiner, which reinforces what a great actor he is (and that's not just the closet Trekkie talking...oh, wait...that's another confessional blog post).

I completely see why critics didn't like this movie, but I rarely pay attention to reviews anyway. The movie is supposed to be stupid, people! I love to sit back and forget, for a couple hours, about which politician is giving me hives this week and watch two goofy guys have a completely impossible adventure. And then? I'll watch it again. And then? Um, could I get an order of shrimp fried rice?

Bio: Mary DeSive works in a medical library and wonders why all the heroines she's written in the last seven years are healers. She's currently editing and revising a paranormal romance. She blogs at Mary's Ramble when she's supposed to be doing other things.


  1. Mary,
    another 'entertainment' soul mate. :) Although, my stupid movies tend to be Revenge of the Nerds. Porkys (the second one especially) There is nothing like a wondrous laugh, is there? And then you find...oh my goo'ness... a meaning!

    And the folks I helped through Shakespeare classes in college...well they ought to be grateful! :P

  2. Nice Blog Mary. I have to confess, ah, I've never seen Dude Where's My Car? I have watched Dodge Ball a few times, and Dumb and Dumber. Do those make up for my lack of DWMC taste?

  3. *lizzie, I have to admit I only saw the first Revenge of the Nerds recently (and it was hilarious!). I still haven't seen Porkys. Those are old enough that I wasn't allowed to watch them when they came out (I was barely 10), and I haven't gotten around to filling in some of those gaps. :)

    Theresa, I love Dodge Ball. I can't figure out my thing for Vince Vaughn, since he always plays such loser-y guys. I liked Dumb and Dumber when I first saw it, but it's never been one of those I like to watch over and over. It just doesn't have that spark, I guess.

  4. Yes, Mary, just rub our noses in the fact that we are OLDER THAN DIR---er YOU.

    You are so right that some movies are just supposed to be dumb. Wayne's World makes me laugh. Spaceballs. Galaxy Quest--*lizzie and I are probably the reining queens of the number of times we've seen GQ.

    I laugh so hard at Liar Liar that I can barely breathe. Dumb and Dumber is of course classic hilarity. Remember all those Police Academy movies? Captain Ron cracks me up.

  5. I like Vince Vaughn, too. And Jim Carey.

    How about Ghostbusters?

  6. Police Academy... I'm nodding my head here.

    Of course I saw Revenge and Porkys long after they came out... well sorta. :)

    What I really love though are dumb movies that have some spark of brilliant association that many folks don't get. Mel Brooks is a master at this. For instance in Spaceballs when they're ready to do the metamorphosusss (gee, guess I can't spell that word :P ) the ship into "mega maid," they call on Kafka. That cracks me up every time!

    Cheryl, I can't even count the number of times I've seen GQ. And...I don't want to. So there.

  7. I pass the "Mary Movie Test". I love ARWAV!! Did you see that crappy PBS remake? They hired facially challenged actors and killed the hero. I wrote several strongly worded letters to the folks at PBS. They'll think twice before ruining another classic.