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"Bubba Ho-Tep"

Directed by Don Coscarelli ("Phantasm", "The Beastmaster").
Written by Don Coscarelli.
Starring Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis.
Release Year:  2002 
Review Date:  10/23/03


So, I had heard about this film through my friend Jeanne and...well, a poster on the street.

A B-movie that ends up being just that, “Bubba Ho-Tep” is the story of Elvis Presley (B-movie king Bruce Campbell of “Evil Dead” fame), laid up in a hospital in Mud Creek, Texas, apparently very alive even though we all thought he was dead and gone.  After he blew out his hip at a concert three years ago, Elvis hasn’t left the hospital and is struggling mightily with a little, well, penile dysfunction.  Another resident at this Mud Creek hospital, Jack Kennedy (Ossie Davis), is a bit off the rocker, but he just might be the former president...even though we all thought HE was dead, too.  The two former icons join forces to fight off...killer cockroaches!  That’s right, KILLER FUCKING COCKROACHES!!!!

I don’t know how many films Campbell has made, but in almost all of the ones I have seen, he seems to fighting aliens, bugs, zombies or some other ridiculous entity that he can talk shit to, and he talks even more smack in “Bubba Ho-Tep” thanks to a number of scenes featuring oversize cockroaches.  His charisma carries a number of otherwise boring scenes, but his lines aren’t nearly as funny as they were back in his heyday with “Evil Dead”, “Evil Dead 2” and “Army of Darkness.”  Davis is a surprise for this kind of film; normally the old black guy in major Hollywood productions, maybe he took the role since he has so much screentime alongside Campbell.

The bad guys that populate the world of “Bubba Ho-Tep” take away a lot from this otherwise entertaining film; they are given no personality, no logical backstory (they show up in Texas after a 4,000-year wait from...Egypt??), and the small budget does not afford for nice special effects or makeup that makes the cockroach guys look very scary.  So, whenever they pop up on screen, I just found myself laughing hysterically at just how bad this was.

Oh well, I guess you can’t have it all in this life.

Rating:  Matinee


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09