Monday, September 8, 2008

Up the Creek with Miller High Life Cheladas and No Paddle

“Up the Creek” is a mindless and fun 1984 comedy that reunites ‘Animal House’ Alumni Tim “Otter” Matheson and Stephen “Flounder” Furst. Matheson plays basically the same character from the 1978 classic in this film, and Furst basically play’s John Belushi’s “Bluto” character, renamed “Gonzer” here.
Matheson, Furst, a skinny nerd named Irwin and a character whose only trait is that he is horny and can’t get a date, are rounded up by their dean at the beginning. The dean is the other mustachioed guy from Magnum PI.
He tells them that they are the worst students at the worst University in the country. They will be flunked out unless they compete in an intercollegiate rafting competition. Matheson’s character adheres to the cinematic rule of thumb that if there is a group of guys and one of them smokes cigars and wears a leather jacket, he is the coolest guy out of the group and the group’s leader.
I was drinking Miller High Life Cheladas, a clamato and beer health drink during this viewing, which is a sure sign that you drink too much beer. Not because I was once again spending an early evening at home drinking beer and watching movies, but that I was adding things to beer, disguising it, dressing it up to hide the fact that it is my lifeblood.
The humor kicks off strong, as the boys are on the way to the rafting competition and we get our first farting dog joke via Chuck the Dog, who turns out to be a major character. Upon their arrival at the competition, we are introduced to a group of those ever-evil Republican WASP Yuppies, who are the villains here, as they were in every movie made in the 1980s. They all look alot like Kurt Engel (R.I.P.), who you may know as Mr. Perfect from the WWF. An older Yuppie bastard sells them all sorts of weapons and bombs disguised as rafting supplies, like a paddle with a switchblade style knife inside of it.
The skinny nerd character, Irwin, turns out to be pretty interesting, because as the movie unfolds it is apparent that he has a severe drinking problem. I thought he was an interesting pick for the drunk character, most 80s films would have picked Gonzer, the fat party animal as the biggest drunk. Gonzer is rambunctious, and all the characters drink, but Gonzer’s main vice is food, while Irwin has acute alcoholism.
As the car full of hot babes arrive, they are reading a steamy romance novel aloud. Apparently back in the late 70s, early 80s, girls were really into reading steamy romances novels aloud to their friends, as the cute girls in “Meatballs” do the same thing.
There are several odd themes that continue throughout this film. One is Matheson lighting matches off of things, like a greaser’s leather jacket and later a yuppie’s face. There is also a theme of people flipping the bird and kissing it. Matheson has a jerky habit of narrating what is going on in a sort of ‘author-speak’. And, there are several instances where people order high class drinks and are served low class drinks instead.
Matheson: “I’ll have an Old Fashioned with a twist.”
Bartender: “Beer it is.”
Then there is the unlikely idea that the hot girls are excited that the bar where all the rafters party is full of men. As they enter the bar one of them says “Look at all that beefcake! The odds are in our favor. Take no prisoners!” Is it just me or does it seem like attractive girls would never ever say anything like that? Maybe in the 80s girls were into sausage fests. Seems to turn em off these days.
Matheson and the main hot girl, Heather Merriweather (played by Jennifer Runyon, who you may recognize as the hot female student in Ghostbusters that Venckman was trying to seduce.
She was also Gwendolyn Peirce on “Charles in Charge”. Easy on the eyes, that Runyon. The last thing she was in was the 1993 Roger Corman film “Carnosaur.” She fell in love with Todd Corman, Roger’s son during the filming. They later married. I got this info from IMDB, I’m not obsessed with her or anything. I swear it.) Uh, where was I...oh yeah, Matheson and Heather Merriweather seduce each other with very classy dialog.

Merriweather: “Why don’t you slip into something more comfortable?”
Matheson: “I didn’t bring anything more comfortable.”
Merriweather: “Well, how about me?”

Classy. The class is continued as the film teaches us that the sight of boobs will make a brass band play and a crowd cheer. The fans seemed a little less than enthused at the beginning of the race, so an attractive coed flashes her boobs and they strike up the band and the crowd goes wild. A lesson not lost on me. Boobs make people cheer. Remember that.
Once the rafting kicks off, its actually pretty impressive, with the real actors going down some very sketchy looking rapids. They still manage to clown around, which is commendable.
There really isn’t too much more to say about this film. Its stupid, brainless and fun and nearly interchangeable with any number of 80s college comedies. Although, I should mention that the horny guy character saves the day with inflatable sex dolls that they use as life rafts. Oh, and when the Yuppies think they are going to win the race, one of them says “We’re gonna get inducted into the stud hall of fame!” The theme song is by Cheap Trick and its called “Up the Creek.”
Dumb fun and definitely a perfectly acceptable drinking movie.

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