South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut brought us the battle of the concerned American public speaking out against two Canadian entertainers named Terrence and Phillip. The two used nothing but “foul mouths and toilet humor” in their acts in an attempt for laughs.
Who knew they were a condensed version of The Trailer Park Boys in the making?
At the very least, in their animated forms, Terrence and Phillip showed some talent. Their songs may have concerned doing awful, dirty things to their uncles and pigs, but at least there was some sense of coherency. This Canadian group, well, not so much.
It is hard to tell what in Countdown to Liquor Day is supposed to be a joke. Much of this mockumentary feels like a bunch of friends getting together over the weekend and filming themselves doing stupid stuff. The problem is the audience is not in on the joke.
Sure, some people will find an old man urinating on the camera while driving funny. Others may find the idea of a trailer trash white kid trying to become a successful rapper hysterical… until it turns out at the end (spoiler!) he actually succeeds, which then makes the entire character arc utterly pointless. Anyone who wants to state this is some kind of riff on the music industry or the listening public is looking way too deep at this material.
An adjective to describe the level of “humor” at work here is a stretch, and low brow does not even begin to cover it. The handheld digital style merely makes this production look even cheaper than it is, with puzzled onlookers always in the frame seemingly in awe that someone it wasting their time filming this. Having a few extras react to the action, not merely cover their head in shame that they are a part of this could have went a long way.
There are two more things of note before this review wastes too much of anyone’s time. All beer bottles, and there are a lot of them, are blurred. Wisely, not even an alcohol-related company wanted a piece of this. Secondly, this movie’s idea of a running gag is a screen door being torn off a trailer. Ha ha. [xrr rating=0/5 label=Movie]
Countdown to Liquor Day was shot digitally on the Sony EX1, and is hardly an endorsement for Sony’s brand of hi-def cameras. Of course the film carries a digital, smooth, clear look. That means no high fidelity detail, soft environments, pale flesh tones, and non-existent black levels. Excessive video noise dominates all nighttime scenes, and certain objects wreak havoc on the source. Look at Ricky’s shirt around 26:28, loaded with distracting digital noise.
Edge enhancement is unbearable. Every high contrast edge carries either a white or black line, apparent from the opening scenes on a beach against the trees. Power lines above the trailer park all appear to carry halos. Shirts, heads, and objects suffer from the same edging.
Certain scenes from security cameras are obviously of a low-grade, down to VHS. Those scenes are the least of this presentation’s worries. The closest this effort even comes to delivering true detail is after Jim has milk poured on his head, somewhere around 22:30. The reflection of the lights bouncing off his shirt and forehead shows minimal definition, and even that appears processed and unnatural. [xrr rating=2/5 label=Video]
The issue with this disc’s DTS-HD mix is volume. Every time music is present, the subwoofer lights up to unbearable levels. Dialogue is mixed ridiculously low, and there is no real balance. The opening conversation on a bus with Bubbles is almost unintelligible with the ambient noise of the highway (a source problem, but worth mentioning none the less).
To be fair, the bass is forceful and clean, certainly making a point to rattle the listening environment. Surrounds are generally dead. A few instances of stereo separation are noted. One moment of the rears offering anything discrete is near the opening as a bottle is thrown behind the viewing position, captured in the rear right.
The demolition of a trailer park is not only lacking any distinct rear presence, but the bass delivered from these structures being crushed is not even half of what is available from the mind-numbing soundtrack. [xrr rating=2/5 label=Audio]
Deleted scenes make you wish the entire movie were in the same state, but 18 of them run for 34:23 to kick off the extras. An alternate ending is available separately. Sunnyvale Stories is the making-of, running 17-minutes.
Randy Gets a New Look details the process of actor Patrick Roach getting his head shaved. Making of the Car Chase is actually interesting, detailing the process and how the stunts were pulled off. [xrr rating=2/5 label=Extras]