December 2003

Breakfast With The Colonel

Breakfast With The ColonelIn the not too distant future, Marin County, California - now known as Pacifica Province - has become a politically correct dictatorship under the rule of Colonel Casper Mach (Erik J. Chipcase). Being a thoroughly modern, media-savvy dictator, the Colonel presents a morning news programme – Breakfast With The Colonel – in which he attempts to present himself as an average guy looking out for the interests of his citizens.

Of course the Colonel isn’t an average guy, but he has a spin doctor to help him appear more natural.

Breakfast With the Colonel (the film) is the story of Jack Sorenson (Peter Struble), a slacker who – following an argument with a neighbour – falls afoul of the Colonel’s militia and ends up being declared ‘Lifestyle Dysfunctional’ and placed on a ‘Lifestyle Enhancement’ programme.

‘Lifestyle Enhancement’ involves an electronic tag and no leaving home for a year except to attend the government assigned job.

It also involves a superb bit of politically correct harassment from Bonnie (Priscilla Stewart), Jack’s hippy Grateful Dead fan of a counsellor. In fact, she is a great example of the intelligently observational nature of the film’s comedy. Clearly aware of the nature of the Colonel’s regime, she still manages to rationalise away the unpleasant realities implicit in her job.

This is an attitude that permeates much of the film. Various characters complain abut the regime in which they are living, but few do anything about them. As such, Breakfast With The Colonel presents a comically realistic view of individuals trying to survive as best they can. Think Dogma meets 1984 and you’re reasonably close.

And now seems to be a good time to digress a little and mention that throughout the film, the characters are absolutely spot-on. From The Colonel and his spin doctor, through Jack’s suburban busybody of a neighbour to Ed (Tim Kahle), Jack’s Lifestyle Enhancement survivor housemate.

Of course, Jack thinks he’s smarter than the average citizen and tries to buck the system. Unfortunately for Jack, he’s not as smart as he thinks he is and quickly finds himself in violation of all three of his allowable strikes.

Fearing the labour camps, goes on the run to try and join the revolution…

Breakfast With the Colonel is a well observed and darkly funny view of an authoritarian future in which those in power apply just enough spin to keep the citizens from asking questions to which they’d rather not have answers.

Scary Movie 3

Scary Movie 3
I saw Scary Movie when it was released - it was okay, but not okay enough to have me rushing back to see the sequel. But, given that Scary Movie 3 was directed by David Zucker - one third of the trio that gave us Police Squad, Airplane and The Naked Gun - last night seemed a good time to revisit the series.

And, Scary Movie 3 is funny - there were plenty of scenes that had me laughing out loud. Its also less dependent on the gross-out humour of the first two films which probably means that, if you havent seen Ring, Signs or The Matrix you may find yourself missing a lot of the jokes.

There is a plot - but thats not important right now. The film plays more as a series of sketches, leaping from spoof to spoof, often hysterically.

My one gripe is that Id liked to have seen more done with Leslie Nielsens President of the US. But overall, Scary Movie 3 is a fun way to waste an hour and a half.