Last night I attended a screening of Bruce Campbells new movie I Am Bruce. After the movie, Bruce did a Q&A with the audience, and it was simultaneously entertaining, slightly scathing and embarrasing.
First off, the movie. I had a lot of fun with it. It's the story of washed up B-movie actor Bruce Campbell who gets kidnapped by the citizens of a small Oregon town because they need him to fight an unleashed ancient Chinese war god (and protector of bean curd..) The movie is charmingly self deprecating and low budget. Campbell is still an adept physical comedian, and plays unhinged desperation quite well. I thought the movie was stolen from him by Ted Raimi, who mugs furiously in no less than 4 roles (including old chinese man and random sign painter of indeterminate European extraction) and has fun with all of them. For those who appreciate shabby low budget B movies with a very self aware sense of humor, the movie will be fun.
Now, the Q&A. It seems we have changed culturally. Think back to the famous Shatner SNL bit where he furiously told his fans to get a life. The fans were crestfallen. Last night, Campbell basically performed the same schtick (although with more humor) and the audience ate it up. It was like he was an insult comic, and he did not hurt for targets. Every time he mocked a fan we all laughed heartily (and, in his defense, most of them truly deserved it..)
The gentleman who gave him a resume & headshot was a particularly uncomfortable moment, as Bruce spent a few quick moments lacerating the guys credits and mocking his headshot. Another person asked an over long question, which he prefaced with "this is for my radio show) and Campbell proceeded to mock him more than answer the question.
Now here's the weird part (and where I think Campbell & Shatner probably differ) Bruce did not come off as an asshole. He was just riffing on people, and making fun of them. It didn't seem like there was any resentment (except perhaps towards radio show guy) just good natured exasperation.
It was another sort of disassociative geek experience for me. I make no bones about the fact that I a huge geek, but I have never been a fanboy or a truly obsessive fan. I take the Campbell route and mock them. Is it some sort of Stanford Prison Experiment thing where I dismiss them to feel better about myself? For some reason, seeing it happen instead of doing it myself made me acutely aware of it, and a little put off by it.
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