Get Duked!: Take a “Fun” Walk in the Highlands – Amazon Prime Review

This was one of the funniest dark comedies of the year.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

Three delinquents named DJ Beatroot, Dean, and Duncan (Viraj Juneja, Rian Gordon, Lewis Gribben) are taken to the Scottish Highlands by a teacher named Mr. Carlyle (Jonathan Aris) in order to try and win the Duke of Edinburgh award. They are joined by a shy kid named Ian (Samuel Bottomley) and given a map of the Highlands that they must navigate in order to qualify for the award. Carlyle drives off to the campsite that they’re supposed to reach and leaves the boys, who reluctantly set out while getting high. Unfortunately, a well-dressed man wearing a mask (Eddie Izzard) and his masked wife (Georgie Glen) are both watching the boys. It turns out that in the Highlands, someone is out to hunt the most dangerous game: stoned teens.

They have a bit of a rough day.

END SUMMARY

This film is a solid blend of slapstick, trippy visuals, and satire with a dark premise like “rich people hunting poor teens for sport.” Well, not exactly for sport. It turns out that there are certain British people who just enjoy culling the population of “underachievers” and, being rich and bored, they decided the fun way to do that is to hunt them down in Scotland with antique rifles and weird masks. It’s obviously not a fair fight, as they have guns and the boys have a “well-sharp” fork, but it probably doesn’t help that the main characters are all pretty stupid. Despite that, they do sometimes come up with creative solutions to their problems, which is, appropriately, what they were sent on the walk to do.

Not great on the map reading, though.

Eddie Izzard, the biggest star in the film, doesn’t get a ton of focused screen time, but when he does it is used to the utmost. He plays his character, who the boys believe to actually be the Duke of Edinburgh, as the perfect blend of upperclass twit and raging sociopath. He never breaks his calm and happy demeanor, even when the boys do manage to successfully counterattack. Instead, he and his “wife” just continue to joke about the situation. 

The masks are creepy as hell.

One of the funniest parts of the film is how it represents the local police officers who get caught up in the events. They’re so rural that their biggest concern at the beginning is the local bread thief. As they get more involved with the case, they continually misunderstand the already ridiculous events and it just keeps getting funnier every single time until it finally comes to an insanely satisfying conclusion. 

Same with DJ Beatroot’s attempts to become successful.

Overall, I really recommend this film. It’s pretty hilarious.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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Netflix Review – Green Eggs and Ham: Wait, How Does This Exist and Why Is It GOOD?

I don’t know what to say except that somehow this show is actually pretty good. 

SUMMARY

Animal rescuer Sam-I-Am (Adam DeVine) steals a priceless Chickeraffe (half-chicken, half-giraffe, all Seuss). However, while at a diner, his bag gets mixed up with failed inventor Guy-Am-I (Michael “Yes, that Michael Douglas” Douglas). From there, the two get mixed up in wacky adventures trying to return the Chickeraffe while pursued by BADGUY agents McWinkle (Jeffrey Wright) and Gluntz (Jillian Bell). Along the way there’s a billionaire with fake hair (Eddie Izzard), an overprotective mom, Michellee (Diane “Yes, the one from Annie Hall” Keaton) and her wild daughter, E.B. (Ilana Glazer), a Goat (John Turturro), a Fox (Tracy Morgan), and a Mouse (Daveed Diggs), all under the Narrator’s (Keegan-Michael Key) watchful gaze.

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No pants anywhere. Very Seuss.

END SUMMARY

There’s a show of Green Eggs and Ham. Let me write that again: There is a show, a television show featuring 13 half-hour episodes, based on a book that famously only has 50 words in it. In the most recent season of BoJack Horseman there’s a gag about a TV show being made based on a “Happy Birthday, Love Dad” greeting card and apparently it’s well received. That was supposed to be a commentary on the fact that we’ve adapted all the books and Hollywood has had to move on to cards. This show is apparently presented completely unironically on the same streaming service and… well, it’s impressively good. 

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It’s cause for celebration, I guess.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t going to be heralded as a revolution in animation, but I genuinely enjoyed watching it. The main characters have a surprising amount of depth, the world that it takes place in is probably the most Seuss-ian of any that’s been put on screen (and yes, I’m including the animated How the Grinch Stole Christmas), and the show actually ties into the original story of Green Eggs and Ham. Each of the episodes is focused on one of the things that Sam-I-Am tries to pitch in the book (“Fox,” “Train,” “Box,” “Rain,” etc.) and in each one of them he pitches eating Green Eggs and Ham to Guy-Am-I based on that particular thing, just like in the book. That’s actually an example of what this show nails: It manages to be true to the spirit of the original book while also expanding and explaining it. 

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And the added characters are amazing.

The theme of the original story of Green Eggs and Ham was that you should not be afraid to try new things, however, the persistence with which Sam-I-Am tried to pitch the foodstuffs to the character now called Guy-Am-I led to the story being accused of telling kids never to take no for an answer. Naturally, not obeying someone’s wishes about not wanting to do something is not a great lesson. The show manages to subtly change this. Rather than not accepting Guy-Am-I’s wishes, each time Sam accepts the rejection, then brings up the eggs in a different context in the next episode, but always allowing Guy an out. It makes the message clear that you can respect someone’s wishes and still try to convince them to step out of their comfort zone once in a while. It’s a tough balance, but I think they pulled it off.

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Super hard to stay mad at him.

The show’s writing is unbelievably creative, somehow managing to have the slapstick and inane feel of Dr. Seuss while also being clever and, at times, genuinely touching. There are some very sad and pensive moments in this show, something that you would never expect from a show involving green eggs and ham. In fact, the reveal of exactly what the food represents is an unbelievably touching moment. Still, the humor, particularly the commentary by Key as the Narrator, is pretty funny and works on a similar multi-generational level to things like The Muppet Show, encouraging parents to watch it with their kids. 

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I somehow laughed at “We’re the BADGUYS!!!”

Honestly, though, this show almost single-handedly restores my faith in human creativity, because even if we are, in fact, reduced to the point of claiming to be inspired by greeting cards in order to get a show greenlit, someone can still add and adapt it enough to make it work as a solid narrative. I recommend this to anyone with kids, and anyone who is a kid at heart.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.