WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER Kicks Off ‘Camp Arkadin’ July 1st at The Heavy Anchor in St. Louis
“McKinley, there are some lower campers stuck in the ropes course. I meant to tell you about that yesterday, but could you get to it now?”
The Arkadin Cinema, a local independent theater scheduled to open soon, presents ‘Camp Arkadin’, an outdoor film series that will take place in the back lot at The Heavy Anchor (5226 Gravois Ave in St. Louis). WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER Kicks Off ‘Camp Arkadin’ July 1st. Showtime is 8:30. Enter through the front of The Heavy Anchor. Admission is $8. Bring your own chair. First come, first served. Seating is limited. Food and drinks and available there at The Heavy Anchor. This is a 21+ event, so leave the kids home. A Facebook invite for the event can be found HERE. The Arkadin Cinema’s site can be found HERE
Here’s the ‘Camp Arkadin’ schedule for the next couple of months:
July 15th: DO THE RIGHT THING
July 29th: SLEEPAWAY CAMP
August 12th: THE BAD NEWS BEARS
26th: MOONRISE KINGDOM
WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER from 2001, is a comedy about summer camp, a spoof of movies about summer camp, a grab bag of random absurdity and a collection filmmakers and now-familiar actors hamming it up as hard as they can. It didn’t make much of a splash when it premiered 14 years ago (I don’t think it even played theatrically here in St. Louis, but I could be wrong about that), but it’s developed such a cult following over the past 19 years that Netflix made a sequel series, WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER – FIRST DAY OF CAMP.
It’s the last day at Camp Firewood in the summer of 1981 and pretty much every stock summer camp storyline is trotted out for derision and mockery in WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER. There’s the love triangle between the geek camp counselor, the hot girl who treats him like her pet and the teen rebel she’s really hot for. There’s the desperate virgin counselor trying to make it with the camp slut. There’s the lonely, divorced arts-and-crafts teacher, the weird camp cook, the kids stuck on a raft approaching the raging rapids, the big talent show, the big game against the kids from the “evil camp” and the outcast kids who come together to save the day. There’s also a talking can of vegetables that boasts of his sexual prowess, a gay subplot that seems to have wandered in from another movie, the old space station Skylab, the worst motorcycle chase in film history, some generic 80s allusions and the charm of a bunch of people who clearly had a great time making this thing.
Filmmakers David Wain and Michael Showalter took a scattershot approach in WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER, throwing joke after joke against the wall to see what sticks. On one hand, they’ll do a running gag about the kid at camp who never takes a shower all summer, which could come from any number of traditional comedies about this subject. On the other hand, they’ll do a lot of parodies of summer camp movies, like having a kid actually drown while two 30-something teenage counselors French kiss with abandon (my personal favorite scene). They’ll just throw out some odd gag about something like Kenyan marathoners. Some of it works, some of it doesn’t, but the movie moves along quickly enough that when a joke bombs, the smell doesn’t linger.
As far as the acting goes, well, Marguerite Moreau as the camp hotty is the only one in the whole cast doing any real acting (and, ironically, the one whose post-WET HOT career went mostly nowhere) . Everyone else, including David Hyde Pierce as a college professor and Janeane Garofolo as the camp director, mug shamelessly for the camera. Again, that results in some moments that are funny as hell, like Paul Rudd’s portrayal of slothful adolescent defiance. But there are also moments that fail to make any sense, like Garafolo riffing on Jewish surnames, but it’s all so weird and off-the-wall, there’s never a dull moment. Also look for Christopher Meloni, Molly Shannon, Elizabeth Banks, Amy Poehler, and Bradley Cooper.
Relive Summer Camp 1981 when WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER screens at ‘Camp Arkadin’ July 1st at The Heavy Anchor