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Film / My Name is Bruce

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Mr. Campbell makes soup. My name is Bruce.

The quaint little town of Gold Lick, Oregon has a problem. After a group of horny teenagers trying to get laid in a cemetery accidentally let an ancient Chinese spirit of war and bean curd loose upon their homes, Gold Lick's small population (339) gets a little smaller every day. Thus, a local Bruce Campbell fan named Jeff decides to do the logical thing: recruit the man himself, presently shooting his latest film masterpiece, Cave Alien 2, to fight the demon off.

Sadly for him, Bruce is hardly the fearless action hero Jeff remembers from Evil Dead; he's a narcissistic, nervous wreck with a failing career and love life who spends his evenings drunk-dialing his ex-wife. Unaware of the danger at hand, believing instead that he's performing in a top secret movie project, Bruce meanders through Gold Lick, arming himself to the teeth in preparation for his confrontation with the demon Guan-Di. Little does he realize, of course, that shit is about to get way too real.

Just another ordinary day in the life of a hero.

Not to be confused with the 1980s kung-fu movie parody movie They Call Me Bruce? or it's sequel They Still Call Me Bruce. And it's unrelated to the sitcom My Name Is Earl.

This film contains examples of:

  • Actor/Role Confusion: The central premise is that the townspeople expect an ass-kicking, awesome hero out of the Evil Dead movies, but they just get a drunken asshole completely in over his head.
  • Adam Westing: Bruce Campbell plays himself as a drunk, surly, borderline broke B-actor living in a trailer.
  • The Alcoholic: Bruce is so far into alcoholism that at one point, he drinks whiskey from a dog bowl. That his dog had already been drinking from.
  • Almost Kiss: Mercilessy played with Bruce and Kelly.
    Bruce: For the love of God man! I can smell her chapstick!
  • Asian Speekee Engrish: "Guan-di will be unreashed!"
  • Awesome, but Impractical: "You know Jeff, I've gotten a lot of use out of chainsaws over the years. Killed a lot a zombies, saved a lot of lives, but at the end of the day when push comes to shove... they're just too damn heavy."
  • Broken Pedestal: The townspeople turn on Bruce for running scared. Jeff is a bit more forgiving; he wants to toss his memorabilia, but he still thanks Bruce for teaching him that he has to handle his problems himself instead of dump them on someone else.
  • Comicbook Adaptation: By Dark Horse Comics. Most of the comic is dedicated to two Chinese ghosts explaining the plot development to each other.
  • Conscience Makes You Go Back: After some self-reflection, hitting Rock Bottom, and realising that Jeff intends to go after Guan-Di alone, Bruce decides that he can't bring himself to abandon his biggest fan and opts to go back to Gold Lick.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Bruce gets an idea that requires dynamite and asks Kelly if she has any by any chance. She doesn't, but Jeff does. As he says, he was going off to fight Guan-di; he brought all sorts of stuff.
  • Description Cut: Finding himself in Gold Lick, Bruce insists the crew on Cave Alien 2 won't spare a second looking for him. On the movie set, they acknowledge Bruce is missing ahead of filming a scene and go to Plan B: using a prop dummy.
  • Dirty Coward: After seeing Guan-di, Bruce makes a run for it to save himself. He even kicks an old lady out of her car when trying to get away.
  • The End... Or Is It?: Parodied. The plan to stop Guan-di seems to work, but then he reappears and is set to kill Bruce, Kelly, and Jeff. We then learn this was just a movie and the real Bruce objects to how horror movies always do this kind of twist. He wants a happy ending instead, but after that's shown, Guan-di reaches through the movie screen to grab him.
  • Even the Dog Is Ashamed: Even Bruce's dog is disgusted by him fleeing the town.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Even Bruce thinks Cave Alien 2 is a stupid, awful movie. He's prepared to fire his agent over it.
  • Focus Group Ending: Parodied in-universe. After a screening, the real Bruce demands a happy ending instead of the usual shocking twist fare. We see him married to Kelly, Jeff is going to Harvard, they're living in a fabulous house, and they're all happy. Bruce likes this ending; Guan-di not so much.
  • Genre Savvy: Jeff, except his choice of heroes turns out not to translate well into real life. Bruce later plays the trope straight when he finally snaps into hero mode.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: Bruce gets these when thinking about returning to Gold Lick.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Bruce is a horrible shot, yet when trying to aim for Guan Di he ends up accidentally shooting and killing more townspeople.
  • I'm Your Biggest Fan: Jeff is a Bruce Campbell superfan, owning assorted memorabilia and loving all of his movies. Early on, badmouthing those movies is the easiest way to tick him off. The shoulder angel even reminds Bruce of this when debating going back to Gold Lick to help Jeff.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: Bruce insists to Kelly that he is not the kind of Hollywood actor obsessed with sex. The prostitute dressed as a nurse then tells Bruce that he owes her $100 and that they still have to have sex.
  • Jerkass: Bruce Campbell himself. In his Q&A screenings, he went out of his way to state that this is a highly fictionalized version of himself.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: As obnoxious and egotistical as he's being, Bruce is right to be pissed about being conked on the head, locked in a trunk, and taken to the town against his will.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Bruce pointing out that chainsaws are very heavy, which can make them difficult to use for situations like these.
  • Large Ham: Bruce is like this in person as well as on the screen.
  • Odd Job Gods: Guan-Di, the Chinese spirit of war... and bean curd. This is is a real god, incidentally; Guan Yu was a bean curd seller who rose to become a general in life and was deified after his death. He's usually portrayed as benevolent, though.
  • Off with His Head!: Guan-Di kills Wing by cleaving his head off.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Bruce, when he realises that the situation with Guan Di isn't a movie.
    • Played for Laughs when Bruce sees the scripts for Cave Alien 3 and 4 after spending much of the movie ranting about how crappy the first two were.
    • Wing, when after he talks himself up as a powerful wizard who controls Guan Di, is face-to-face with the real deal.
  • Only in It for the Money: When a fan asks why he was in Serving Sara, Bruce rather indignantly says it was for the money and is surprised the guy couldn't figure that out.
  • Real After All: Viewers know immediately that Guan-di is real, but Bruce doesn't find out until the first confrontation. He screams that it's real and runs for his life.
  • Rock Bottom: After fleeing town amid mass condemnation, Bruce returns to find his dog pissed at him, his ex-wife issuing a restraining order, and (most horrifyingly of all) scripts for the third and fourth Cave Alien movies.
  • Running Gag:
    • Bruce keeps trying to grab Kelly's ass, to which she bluntly tells him to move the hand.
    • Ted Raimi's sign painter constantly adjusting the population numbers after every attack. He even does it for himself after he's mortally wounded.
  • Sadistic Choice: Jeff is torn over setting off the dynamite to see off the mine, as it would possibly stop Guan-di but also likely kill Bruce.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Several of Bruce's movies get mentioned frequently. Mostly Bubba Ho Tep and his films with Sam Raimi.
    • The brand name of the liquor that Bruce drinks is "Shemp." The Sam Raimi films in which Bruce stars coined the term Fake Shemp.
    • "Cave Alien 3" and 4 will be shot back-to-back in Bulgaria. A reference to Campbell shooting Alien Apocalypse and Man with the Screaming Brain in Bulgaria back-to-back.
    • Jeff drives an Olds Delta 88, a beige one. This car is a trademark car of Sam Raimi films.
    • At the end, Mr. Ash J. Williams himself has just one request: Next time someone unleashes an ancient demon, call that Buffy chick.
    • Jeff's memorabilia includes a mannequin dressed as Brisco County, Jr.
  • Slashed Throat: Guan-Di kills Luigi the sign painter with one of these. Luigi manages to live long enough to modify the population number on the sign to reflect his own death.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Bruce has an extremely high opinion of himself for a guy that everyone not named Jeff holds in contempt.
  • Stock Scream: The famous "Wilhelm Scream" was used when Bruce accidentally shot a little kid's father.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Played for laughs for the film premise itself. A B-movie actor with zero experience fighting the supernatural isn't going to handle the pressure well or work a gun effectively.
    • Bruce's effort to hotwire a car gets himself zapped. Dazed, he remarks it always works in the movies.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Gold Lick had a mining accident that killed 200 Chinese workers. One of the dying workers called on Guan-Di to avenge their deaths, setting up the movie's plot when Guan-Di is again unleashed to act out that revenge against the descendants of the townspeople who allowed the workers to die.
  • Villain Song: "Guan-Di Is His Name", sung at various points during the movie by a duo (who aren't seen or heard from anywhere else in the film) describing both Guan-Di's appearance and motives. Guan-Di himself doesn't seem to like it; in The Stinger, he murders the singers.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Guan-Di cannot hurt anyone who eats bean curd, or allow any bean curd to come to harm.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Bruce gets an earful from Kelly for abandoning Jeff. An angry mob also chases him out of town for his cowardice.
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: Bruce hears from Jeff what is happening to Gold Lick and considers it the worst pitch he's heard.
  • Worst News Judgement Ever: More like most racist news judgement ever, as an old newspaper article about the deaths of a hundred Chinese mine laborers provides a tiny sidebar to a front page about a local spelling bee and the birth of a two-headed foal.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Bruce initially thinks that the whole situation in Gold Lick is a movie shoot that his agent set up. The townspeople write off his behavior as eccentricity, and when Bruce gets a good look at the actual stakes, he runs like hell.