Strange Brew (also known as The Adventures of Bob & Doug McKenzie:
Strange Brew) is a 1983 Canadian comedy film starring the popular SCTV
characters Bob and Doug McKenzie, portrayed by Dave Thomas and Rick
Moranis, who also served as co-directors. Co-stars include Max von
Sydow, Paul Dooley,
Lynne Griffin and Angus MacInnes.
Loosely based on elements of Shakespeare's Hamlet, most of the film
was shot in Toronto, Scarborough, Kitchener, and Hamilton, Ontario.
Parts were also filmed in Prince George, British Columbia.
5 Soundtrack album
6 Motion picture score
9 See also
11 External links
Two unemployed brothers,
Bob and Doug McKenzie
Bob and Doug McKenzie (
Rick Moranis and Dave
Thomas), place a live mouse in a beer bottle in an attempt to
blackmail the local beer store into giving them free Elsinore beer,
but are told to take up the matter with management at the Elsinore
brewery. The brothers are given jobs on the bottling line inspecting
for mice in the bottles.
Meanwhile, the evil Brewmeister Smith (Max von Sydow) is perfecting a
secret plan to take over the world by placing a mind-control drug in
Elsinore beer which, while rendering the consumer docile, also makes
him or her attack others when certain musical tones are played. Smith
tests this adulterated beer on patients of the neighbouring Royal
Canadian Institute for the Mentally Insane, which is connected to the
brewery by underground tunnels.
Bob and Doug learn that the brewery's former owner, John Elsinore, has
recently died under mysterious circumstances and his daughter Pam
(Lynne Griffin) has been given full control of the Elsinore brewery.
While exploring the massive brewery, they find a shuttered cafeteria
containing an old Galactic Border Patrol video game which
supernaturally reveals that Brewmeister Smith murdered John Elsinore
and that Pam's bumbling Uncle Claude (Paul Dooley) was deeply
involved. Also, Bob recognizes a brewery employee as one-time hockey
great Jean "Rosie" LeRose (Angus MacInnes), who suffered a
career-ending nervous breakdown and has fallen under Smith's control.
Eventually, Bob and Doug wander into the Brewmeister's operations room
while he is away and Doug takes a floppy disk containing a video of
John Elsinore's murder (thinking it is a "new wave EP" and not
realizing the importance of its contents). Smith and Claude
tranquilize the brothers and arrange to frame them for murder,
concealing Pam and her father's friend, Henry Green, in beer kegs in
the back of their sabotaged van, and instruct the brothers to deliver
the kegs to a party. Unable to stop, the brothers crash the van into
Lake Ontario. All survive (Pam with apparent memory loss), and the
brothers are arrested.
The brothers' antics at their trial cause the judge to declare them
insane and put them under Brewmeister Smith's care at the asylum.
Rosie soon finds them and helps them escape, and they find and rescue
Pam. Having figured out Brewmeister's plan, Rosie foments an uprising
among the brainwashed mental-patient test subjects. The brothers
separate for the first time in their lives; Doug helps Rosie overpower
Brewmeister Smith and the spirit of John Elsinore, possessing the
brewery's electrical system, fatally strikes him with lightning.
Meanwhile, Smith has locked Pam and Bob in a brewery tank and is
filling it with beer; they escape this possible death when Bob
consumes all the beer, expanding to a cartoonish size.
John Elsinore's ghost warns them that Smith has already shipped
tainted beer to Oktoberfest and urges them to stop them. The police
accompany the brothers back to their house to retrieve their dog,
Hosehead, to invade the party. Enticed by promises of free beer and
sausages, Hosehead leaps into the air and flies over the city like
Superman. He crashes into the tent at the celebration and, mistaken
for a skunk, frightens people away from the tainted beer. In the end,
the McKenzie Brothers save the day and Pam and Rosie find in each
other true love. As for the contaminated beer, Bob and Doug are
allowed to haul away the lot, apparently to try to drink it all.
Dave Thomas as Doug McKenzie
Rick Moranis as Bob McKenzie
Max von Sydow
Max von Sydow as Brewmeister Smith
Lynne Griffin as Pam Elsinore
Angus MacInnes as Jean "Rosie" LeRose
Paul Dooley as Uncle Claude
Mel Blanc as voice of Father McKenzie
Tom Harvey as The Inspector
Douglas Campbell as Henry Green
Len Doncheff as Jack Hawkland
Buddy the Dog as Hosehead
Chris Benson as Hospital Orderly
Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas recorded a Bob and Doug McKenzie
comedy album, The Great White North, which sold a million copies.
Based on this success, they thought about parlaying that into a
feature film. After fellow SCTV cast member
John Candy got an offer
Universal Pictures to do a film called Going Berserk, Moranis and
Thomas started talking about writing a screenplay for a Bob and Doug
film. Andrew Alexander, executive producer for SCTV, reminded them
that he had exclusive contracts with the two men and if they wrote a
script he would sue them. Moranis and Thomas soon found themselves
faced with the challenge of expanding their improvisations on SCTV
from "two guys talking about how hard it was to get parking spaces in
donut shops to a full-length story", Thomas said in an interview.
Steve De Jarnatt to write the first draft. Initially,
Thomas told De Jarnatt that he wanted to base the film's story on
Hamlet but he ended up being too faithful to the play and was told be
more creative with the parallels to it. Moranis and Thomas' agents
sent the script to various Hollywood studios and a few days later they
had a deal with
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer based not on the script but on
record sales, "the breakout potential, and the fact that it was being
advertised on a television show", Thomas remembers. They were
unhappy with the script because Bob and Doug were improvised
characters done in their "comic voices" and they felt that nobody but
themselves could write for these characters. Thomas began rewriting
the script without Moranis who was now uncertain about doing the film.
After working on the first 50 pages, Moranis took a look at what
Thomas had done and they worked together rewriting it. However, they
were not sure just how much they could legally change and did most of
the changes in the first third of the script, including the addition
of Bob and Doug's science fiction film, Mutants of 2051 A.D., Bob and
Doug watching it in a movie theater, and causing a riot. Thomas
remembers that the script was "far more bizarre and conceptual in the
beginning ... if we had been able to rewrite the whole thing, we would
have made the whole thing like that".
Originally, Moranis and Thomas were not going to direct or write the
film but ended up doing both with the guidance of executive producer
Jack Grossberg, who had produced films by
Mel Brooks and Woody Allen.
They were subsequently given a budget of $5 million. Before
filming, all of the major breweries wanted the McKenzie brothers to
appear in beer advertisements. The filmmakers had the promise of
Molson's Brewery, but once the brewery found out that there was a joke
in the film about putting a mouse in a beer bottle so that a complaint
can be made in order to get free beer, they distanced themselves from
the film. The filmmakers were also banned from filming in a Brewers
Retail store, and from using the name "Brewers Retail". The exterior
shots of the store (now a Tim Hortons/Pizza Pizza) were shot in
Scarborough, Ontario, at the corner of Eglinton and Midland Avenues.
Petro-Canada gas station seen in the background still
exist. They ended up building a replica of the store at a cost of more
than $45,000, and calling it "The Beer Store". Ironically, Brewers
Retail later changed the name of its stores to "The Beer Store", and
they continue to operate under that name. Filming also took place at
the Old Fort Brewing Co. in Prince George, British Columbia. The
emergency vehicles used during filming were all real Metropolitan
Toronto Police squad cars. The Ambulances used briefly were on loan
Strange Brew currently holds a 74% approval rating on Rotten
Tomatoes. In her review for The New York Times,
Janet Maslin wrote,
"Anyone who's partial to the McKenzies' humor doubtless has a fondness
for beer. The price of a ticket could buy enough beer for an
experience at least as memorable as this one". Gary Arnold, in his
review for The Washington Post, wrote, "Neither triumph nor fiasco,
Strange Brew leaves plenty of room for improvement, but I hope Thomas
and Moranis get the chance to demonstrate that they've learned a lot
from the mixed assortment of nuttiness in their first movie
comedy". In his review for the Globe and Mail,
Jay Scott wrote,
"What's terrific about the McKenzie Brothers is their offhand
depiction of two English-Canadian working-class dimwits ... and what's
terrific about the movie is its equally offhand surrealism".
Strange Brew (soundtrack)
The soundtrack album was released in August 1983 by
Anthem Records of Canada (ANR 1-1042). (Full title: The Adventures of
Bob and Doug McKenzie:
Strange Brew - Excerpts from the Original
Soundtrack). Unlike most soundtrack tie-ins, the album featured
continuing comedy sketches by the duo. Most of the album was sketches
and film dialogue, while the music sampling was usually accompanied by
the characters' commentary. The main title theme was performed by
Thomas' brother, Ian Thomas. The album was produced by Marc
Giacomelli, Rick Shurman and Ian Thomas. The soundtrack won the Juno
Award (Canadian-style Grammy) for Best Comedy Album in 1984. Bob and
Doug accepted the award in person at the awards ceremony, held 5
December 1984, which also happened to be hosted by
Joe Flaherty and
SCTV alum Andrea Martin. The album was only available for a short
amount of time and currently remains out of print. This was the last
album released by the duo.
Motion picture score
As with the soundtrack album, the motion picture score was released
for a short amount of time and remains out of print. The album runs
approximately 63 minutes in length and was composed and conducted by
To promote the film, a beer-shaped paperback book was released in
1983. Its full title read; The Adventures of Bob & Doug McKenzie
in Strange Brew: The Book About the Movie About the TV Show About the
men! The book featured pictures of the characters, stills from Strange
Brew, comics, puzzles, and much of the characters' humor throughout.
The book also came with a built-in library card with numerous Canadian
celebrities' names on it, having "checked it out". Being only
available for a short time, the book is currently out of
A sequel to the film, entitled Home Brew, was planned for production
in 1999 when financing fell through at the last minute. Co-written by
Dave Thomas and Paul Flaherty, Flaherty was also going to direct, and
Dan Aykroyd was on board to play the part of friend Rick Ripple.
Principal photography was to begin on July 19, 1999 in Toronto. At one
Todd McFarlane was to step in as executive producer to revive
financing for the film, but never followed through.
The plot, according to a Maple Palm (Dave Thomas' production company)
release, would feature Bob and Doug, now working as garbage men, being
convinced by a fast talking insurance salesman (Aykroyd) to get into
the microbrewing business.
List of films featuring fictional films
^ a b c d Godfrey, Stephen (August 26, 1983). "
Hoser Brothers Hope
Beer Film will Take Off, Eh?". Globe and Mail.
^ a b c d e f Plume, Kenneth (February 10, 2000). "Interview with Dave
Thomas". IGN. Retrieved 2009-07-22.
^ "Strange Brew". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2013-10-05.
^ Maslin, Janet (August 26, 1983). "Men in Quest of Beer". The New
York Times. p. 8.
^ Arnold, Gary (August 30, 1983). "Silly, Promising Brew From the
Great White North". Washington Post. pp. B4.
^ Scott, Jay (August 27, 1983). "Hosers brew up a batch of real
big-screen fun, eh". Globe and Mail.
^ "Strange Brew: Music". Amazon.com. 2008-02-22. Retrieved
^ "Albums". BobAndDoug.com. Retrieved 2013-10-05.
Strange Brew Soundtrack and Movie Music - The 80s Movies Rewind".
Fast-rewind.com. Retrieved 2013-10-05.
^ "Strange Brew: Complete Motion Picture Score: Music". Amazon.com.
^ "Adventures of Bob + Doug McKenzie in Strange Brew: The Book About
the Movie About the TV Show About the men!: 9780458966202: Books".
Amazon.ca. Retrieved 2013-10-05.
^ "Pop Rewind —
Strange Brew Book". Soapinthebathroom.com. Retrieved
^ "BobNET: Dave Thomas Interview". Execulink.com. 2000-05-17.
^ "SCTV Guide - After SCTV - Bob and Doug McKenzie". Sctvguide.ca.
Strange Brew on IMDb
Strange Brew at AllMovie
Strange Brew at Box Office Mojo
Bob and Doug McKenzie
Bob and Doug McKenzie website, pictures, clips, and information
Bob and Doug McKenzie
Bob & Doug McKenzie's Two-Four Anniversary
Bob & Doug
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