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Film / Strange Brew

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"Take off, you hoser!"

Strange Brew is a 1983 Canadian comedy movie written by, directed by, and starring Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas, based off of their "Great White North" sketches from SCTV.

In it, half-wit Canadian brothers Bob and Doug McKenzie (Moranis and Thomas) plan to obtain free beer by working at the Elsinore Brewery, where Pamela Elsinore (Lynne Griffin), the heiress, is troubled over the death of her father, John Elsinore, the owner of the brewery. Unbeknownst to Bob and Doug, but knownst to Pamela, Brewmeister Smith (Max von Sydow) wants to unleash a hostile takeover to release a hypnosis-laced beer to the world.


Strange Tropes:

  • All-Natural Fire Extinguisher: Near the end of the film, the asylum is set on fire. Luckily, Bob has to take a leak after drinking several thousand gallons of beer.
  • Anticlimax: Played for laughs when Rosie and Doug go to free Pam and Bob from the beer vat.
    Rosie: "Look out, this is really gonna blow!"
    Doug: "It didn't blow."
  • Balloon Belly: Bob drinks an entire tank of beer to save the day, and fills the entire tank with his body.
    Bob: Geez, I gotta take a leak so bad that I can taste it!
  • Bunny Ears Picture Prank: Doug pulls one on one of the suspects involved with Pam's kidnapping.
  • Butt-Monkey: Claude Elsinore is bossed around in hilariously abusive ways by Brewmeister Smith.
  • Canada, Eh?: EVERYWHERE in the movie. Our heroes use it almost like punctuation, and even one of the characters that's Not Too Dead to Save the Day adds "Nice effects, eh?" to his warning.
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  • Classical Anti-Hero: The crux of the plot is about Bob and Doug getting free beer by working at the brewery. To be fair, Bob does have a higher moral ground than Doug, i.e. giving a refund to an angry man who took his kids to see Mutants of 2051 AD, which kick-started the plot in the first place.
  • Comedic Hero: The MacKenzie brothers are the ones who ultimately save the day, but are the butt of many of the jokes.
  • Comically Small Bribe: Bob and Doug bribe an Elsinore receptionist for information with a donut... it works... twice.
  • Contrived Coincidence: While Elsinore Brewery and the mental hospital are connected so Smith can run his experiments, Doug certainly seems to feel this way when it's crunch time.
    Doug: "Tunnel to the brewery". Take off, how convenient!
  • Dressing as the Enemy: The first time has Brewmeister Smith and Claude dressing up as Bob and Doug so they could frame them for kidnapping. The second time has Doug, LaRose and the asylum inmates dress up in the Hockey Armor so they could take the fight to the brewery.
  • Driving a Desk: Parodied and Lampshaded as Bob and Doug discuss the trope during the scene and Doug, the driver, takes his hands off the wheel to lean back and relax.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower:
  • The Faceless: Bob and Doug's parents. Their dad is voiced by none other than Mel Blanc.
    • They're seen in a later scene. The father is played by Dave Thomas and the mother is played by Rick Moranis.
  • Genius Ditz: Smith considers Bob and Doug to each be one when he learns that Doug obtained the one disc that would incriminate him, even though it was all the doing of Pam's dad's ghost.
  • Groin Attack: Happens to Doug when he and Bob were playing hockey.
    Doug: Ow, my left nut!
  • Heroic Dog: Hosehead near the end of the movie.
  • Idiot Hero: Heroes, in this case, as neither of the brothers comes across as particularly intelligent. They manage to stumble into the plot to Take Over the World and thwart it entirely by accident.
  • I Know Madden Kombat: The asylum inmates are trained through mind control to fight utilizing hockey equipment. Played straight with LaRose and The Mackenzie Brothers, who do play Hockey.
  • Inflating Body Gag: Happens to Bob when he and Pamela were trapped in a tank by Brewmeister Smith. Bob simply drinks all the beer being poured in the tank (off-screen, though) and he swells to about 10 to 20 times his size, saving them both, but he needs to pee badly afterwards.
  • It Runs in the Family: Everybody in the McKenzie family drinks. Including their dog. Apparently, they all have cast-iron livers.
  • Kangaroo Court: The whole trial scene appears to be one considering the Bob and Doug's so called defence attorney is on the payroll of the Magnificent Bastard, that and the degree of ineptitude and how easily obviously faked evidence is admitted, though the trial is never seen through to its conclusion (the court adjourns and sends Bob and Doug to the mental institution, but a final verdict is never handed out, nor a sentence).
  • Logo Joke: The MGM Lion is strangely sluggish, and burps instead of roars. Then the camera turns to reveal Bob and Doug behind the screen making jokes and trying to get the lion to roar, only to realize that now the camera's on them, and they need to be over on the Great White North set.
  • Meat-O-Vision: When Bob and Doug forget to feed Hosehead, the dog sees the duo as giant steaks.
  • Mood Whiplash: Bob and Doug driving into the water at the pier, and subsequent scenes until it turns out that they, and the hockey player/Love Interest that saved Pamela's life, are still alive.
  • Never Gets Drunk: Bob drinks an entire vat's worth of beer and is perfectly fine!
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Smith's plan would have eventually failed anyway as the repeated consumption of the drugged beer made LaRose (and would eventually make everyone else) immune to it.
  • No Fourth Wall: Done with the ghost of Pam's father when he reveals where the drugged beer is being sent by magically writing his message on the wall.
    "Oktoberfest! Stop them! Nice effects, eh?"note 
  • No Name Given: Pam's mother is never named by name in the movie, but anyone familiar with the story wouldn't be surprised if it's Gertrudenote .
  • No OSHA Compliance: In a food safety sense given the brewery owners do nothing to get rid of the food in the vending machines after the cafeteria is closed down.
    Doug: Hey, hoser, this [chocolate milk's] four months old!
  • Papa Wolf: Pam's father, despite being dead!
  • Pietà Plagiarism: Pamela holding Bob after he faints when Brewmeister Smith threatens to kill them.
  • Police Are Useless: If any of them had any type of observational ability, they would have arrested Claude and Smith right away. When Smith shoots Pam with a tranq dart that scrambles her brain for a while, their car and faces are in plain sight and they speed away very conspicuously.
  • Pun: This movie is shot in 3-B! Also referred to as "Hoser-ama".
  • Recycled In Space: this is Hamlet, IN A BREWERY!
  • Saw "Star Wars" 27 Times: Bob says that Doug saw Jedi 17 times.
  • Sealed Good in a Can: Arguably the ghost of Pam's father since he doesn't manifest until power is restored to the cafeteria.
  • Security Cling: Bob clings onto Doug's arm when they get thrown in jail.
  • Show Within a Show: After the film, Bob and Doug review their own movie on "Great White North".
  • Skewed Priorities: Bob and Doug quickly forget about looking for their horked clothes and end up looking for beer instead.
  • Spanner in the Works:
    • Smith never learns that the drug in the beer would wear off over time because Rosie continued to pretend to be addicted to it.
    • Even if Smith had learned about Rosie's fakery, Bob and Doug end up crashing the whole operation entirely without knowing it's going on. They mostly start working at the brewery to get free beer, but through a series of misunderstandings and their own stupidity, manage to take out the tainted operation before anyone gets hurt.
  • Spinning Paper: Happens after Bob and Doug are arrested after being framed by Brewmeister Smith over the kidnapping of Pamela. When the paper stopped spinning, it shows an advertisement for ladies' undergarments, and then a hand flips the paper over to show Bob and Doug's faces.
  • Stoner Flick: Sort of. As Kevin Smith put it, it's basically like Jay and Silent Bob, only with beer instead of weed.
  • Stylistic Suck: Bob and Doug's Movie Within A Movie, Mutants of 2051 AD.
  • Super Strength: Brewmeister Smith exhibits this on multiple occasions. He lifts a fully grown man by his ear effortlessly with one hand, rips a hand rail off a scaffolding and uses it as an Improvised Weapon, and is able to crush a man's skull through an armored hockey helmet!
  • Take That!: Towards British new wave bands.
  • Theme Music Powerup: When Doug leads the asylum inmates to attack Claude.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Beer, of course. Also, donuts, especially jelly.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The trailer shows how Pam and Bob survive being trapped in a vat slowly filling with beer.
  • Trapped in a Sinking Car: The brothers' van is sabotaged and they careen off a pier. When police scuba divers later attempt a recovery, they find the van's inhabitants inside 'drinking' air from all the empty beer bottles they have.
  • Vehicular Sabotage: The brake line is cut for the van driven by Bob and Doug as part of an attempt to silence them before revealing the bad guy's plans.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • The Elsinore brewery receptionist disappears without a trace halfway through the film.
    • Henry Green plays no substantial role whatsoever after the Mood Whiplash scene above.
    • Ted the Assistant gets body checked into an office by Rosie and a few minutes later Brewmaster Smith just shrugs off his disappearance as "I think Ted is dead." That's it. No follow up or anything.
    • Hell, weren't they supposed to be in the SCTV universe? When did they leave the station? (Might be a case of Exiled from Continuity- aside from Bob and Doug, no other SCTV elements are even remotely referenced, so it might be an alternate continuity.)
  • Whole-Plot Reference/The Bard on Board: A very loose adaptation of Hamlet, with Bob and Doug more-or-less Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. (They avoid their counterparts fate.)