Movie Recommendation- Superstar
Tyler and I recently discussed on the podcast how often most film critics don’t connect with fringe comedies like Wet Hot American Summer. Despite being released by a major studio and being based on one of the more popular characters from a long-running network show, Bruce McCulloch’s Superstar does, in many ways, exist on the fringe, which might explain its 32% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. First off, take the name that I just mentioned. Bruce McCulloch was one of the members of the groundbreaking sketch comedy troupe, The Kids in the Hall. Known to the layperson chiefly for donning women’s clothing, they were actually committed to hilariously bizarre conceits – like an old, rich man who has a basement full of monkeys and of whom the entire town is terrified because he is always threatening to let the monkeys out – as well as odd and grotesque characters – such as the chicken lady, a lady who is also a chicken and who is both exhaustingly obnoxious and pitifully lonely. Not only is McCulloch driving this strange contraption but the second lead is played by Will Ferrell (this film can almost be seen as an early prototype of the anti-narrative comedies Ferrell would later star in, like Anchorman and Step Brothers). Yes, in his early thirties, Ferrell is playing the high school heartthrob while still looking like Will Ferrell in his early thirties. Oh and Ferrell also plays Jesus as a genial stoner who, upon visiting the lead character in her bedroom, glances around and remarks, “Is that a CD player? We don’t have those.” At last, though, it all comes down to that lead character herself. Molly Shannon throws herself into the role of Mary Katherine Gallagher and carries the film along with her exuberance. Whether she’s practicing kissing on a tree trunk or shrilly arguing with her grandmother (an argument that consists of her screaming, “You’re horrible” pretty much endlessly), she is a fascinatingly dedicated and talented performer. And if all that doesn’t sell you on Superstar, it’s probably the only place you’ll get to see people die violently by being Riverdanced on.