My Name Is Bruce (2007)

Bruce Campbell has achieved a level of cult stardom that few have ever reached. If you add in the film My Name Is Bruce to his resume, then he may be in a class by himself. Campbell directs himself portraying himself in this send up of his own B-Movie fame. In the fictional mining town of Gold Lick an ancient Chinese guardian spirit named Guan-Di has been awakened by, who else, but kids fucking around in a graveyard. The only kid to make it out, just happens to be a huge Bruce Campbell fan who decides to kidnap the actor, who happens to be filming a sci-fi movie nearby, and ask for his help in saving the town. Campbell thinks the whole thing is a gag set up by his agent and falls into his fast-talking, smart-arsing, womanizing, machismo persona. When he realizes that this spirit means business, Bruce must decide if he’s a true hero or just in it for the paycheck.

Obviously, for every fan of Bruce Campbell this is a no-brainer must see movie. But, honestly I’d have a hard time recommending this one anyone but Campbellites (I just made that up, does it work? Nah I didn’t think so, I’ll stop). This film relies heavily on inside jokes relating to Campbell’s career for most of its laughs, so if you haven’t done your homework you’re getting two things out of this movie. Jack and shit, and Jack left town. Many of Campbell’s past co-stars from the Evil Dead films make humorous cameos including Ted Raimi (who actually has three different stereotypical roles), Ellen Sandweiss, Tim Quill & Dan Hicks. Grace Thorsen plays the leading lady and love interest of Mr. Campbell. She fits the bill nicely, as does most of the supporting cast in the town of Gold Lick. It’s not all comedy though, this movie does earn it’s R rating with a slew of decapitations & dismemberments, as is tradition in a Campbell horror outing.

Bruce Campbell’s directing chops pale in comparison to his on-screen presence, so don’t expect him to turn into Clint Eastwood in a few years. Though, I’d actually love to have seen Bruce in the leading role of Gran Torino. If anything, just for the whole “Get off my damn lawn” scene with the shotgun. That kind of a dramatic lead role has never been Bruce’s style. If he’s the lead, it’s gonna be corny as hell, most likely. Though his more serious work has landed him bit parts that he has handled very nicely. The Coen brothers took a shine to him, giving him ample screen time in The Hudsucker Proxy, as well as cameos in Intolerable Cruelty & Ladykillers. He plays a matinee idol in the Jim Carrey drama The Majestic, though his part is merely in the films being show at the theater. Campbell seems to be a perfect fit in period films set in the 1930’s & 40’s. It’s a shame he’s not cast this way more often. Bruce is and probably always will be stuck in this kind of role and in this kind of film. But the way he embraces his fame it looks like that’s fine with him and it’s more than fine with me and his millions of fans. Keep ’em comin’, Bruce.

-Wes Kelly