It’s Presidents Day. I’m off work. The sun, which has shone brightly for the previous two days hides behind clouds. I’ve just started a big crock pot full of chili that won’t be ready for several hours. I need something to do…
For the past month or so, my neighbor, a WGA member, has been gracious enough to send over all the awards screeners she’s received. I’ve watched a variety of movies of various quality, from the comfort of my couch. No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood, Juno, The Kite Runner, Into The Wild, American Gangster, Once. One highly recommended movie, “The Diving Bell & The Butterfly” remains, but I feel like like I’ve had an overdose of quality the past few weeks, (aside from various work-related excursions into brain melting idiocy.) Yes folks, I need some crap in my life.
So I’m going to watch Daddy Day Camp and keep a live blog of my thoughts. Yes Daddy Day Camp, five time Razzie nominee, owner of a 1% Fresh Rating on the tomato meter (The sole “positive” review: “Well, what did anyone expect Daddy Day Camp to be?“) We’ve made fun of it enough at work based solely on the trailer, so I think it is my duty to experience the real thing. If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, I invite you to take a look below to get all caught up, and we’ll start the real movie in just a few minutes.
all 12:49 The door to my apartment is closed, I’m wearing sweat pants and slippers and I haven’t showered. I imagine the average Daddy Day Camp viewer has at least three of those four things in common with me. Let’s get started.
12:51 In the interest of full disclosure, I lent this movie to Mike a few days ago. He gave it the big “not as bad as he hoped” endorsement, but then again, he only watched it halfway thru.
12:52 The movie begins with an adorable girl trying to fish a Daddy Day Care cake off a counter. The movie has done her a great service. By ensuring that she never works in hollywood again, she will not follow in the footsteps of the Olsen Twins or Britney. The little girl has been saved.
12:53 A three year old pees into a potted plant. Daddy Day Camp has begun.
12:54 I’ve never seen Daddy Day Care, so my not following the plot right away is understandable. Let’s hope that director Fred Savage includes enough backstory to ensure that those of us who jump right in in the middle of the series are not lost.
12:56 Cuba Gooding does not want his son to go to camp because he had a bad time at camp and his father did not support him. The Guy Who Replaced Jeff from Curb Your Enthusiasm, hereafter TGWRJFCYE, was there at camp with him. At this point in time the “Directed by Fred Savage” credit flashes across the screen.
12:59 We pass by Camp Canola on the way Camp Driftwood. This is evidently Camp Driftwood’s rival camp. But we’re going to Camp Driftwood, so it appears this is the last time we will hear about this rival camp.
1:00 My prediction proves false, as the director of Camp Canola is actually at Camp Driftwood, calling the owner of Camp Driftwood a “butthead”
1:02 And believe it or not, he has a history with Cuba!
1:03 9 minutes in and nobody has been hit in the crotch. What’s going on?
1:05 So we have generic Saturday Night Live movie plot devices 2, 3, 5 and 11, all combined into one. We need X amount of $ by Z or else Villain with a history will take over. Billy Madison meets Dirty Work meets Happy Gilmore meets Waynes World.
1:07 Aside from the falling down sign, the main problem the camp faces? An expensive to fix Methane leak in the latrine. That was the main conflict in The Godfather Part II as I recall.
1:08 Let’s meet our cast of characters! Know it all girl, obnoxious boy who appears to be the fat kid from The Sandlots brother and the nerd who gets carsick!
1:09 The thought crosses my mind how vastly this movie would be improved by that fat cook and the skinny one that doesn’t talk from Ernest Goes to Camp
1:11 TGWRJFCYE leads a nature walk, which somehow does not come across a skunk. Maybe a skunk will show up and kick someone in the crotch, killing two birds with one stone.
1:13 The nature walk continues. Maybe critics hated the movie because the kids get lost in the woods and have to eat each other in a hideous Lord of the Flies style display of the dark side of human nature!
1:15 The villains want to raze Camp Driftwood in order to build a Go Kart Track. They seem to have a better business model, provide more fun and better accomodations for the children…
1:17 One of the most charming imps, known as Mullet, breaks into the snack bar. The movie looks like it would have been a blast to film for the children, as long as they didn’t mind forgoing the Ritalin for the week it took to film.
1:18 Cuba gets hit with a stick…but in the butt. Someone really didn’t know what they were doing.
1:19 A skunk gets set off on the bus by a kid who was “born without a sense of smell” causing the nerd to puke, while TGWRJFCYE sits on the toilet wearing a snorkel. This was to be the scene for the Oscar Montage if it were nominated.
1:20 Cuba’s wife suggests that he contact his father, who is a military man they just now mention, to help him run the camp. I am giddy with anticipation to find out who plays the dad. The Coz? The dad who helps ben stiller with his zipper in “Something About Mary”? Both seem likely…
1:21 “We’ll show them adventure Charlie and Phil style” So the characters do have names, not that they needed them. Phil is the guy who’s not Cuba.
1:22 So after SkunkPukeToiletexploded gate, all the parents but seven have demanded refunds. The other seven are presumably also the ones who took their kids to see Daddy Day Camp.
1:24 During a raid by Camp Canola, TGWRJFCYE gets punched in the crotch by a seven year old. It’s a good crotch hit, eyes crossed and everything, but it somes 30:40 into the movie! What was Fred thinking!?
1:27 Canola has raided Driftwood, tied up their counselor and founder and driven the campers up their tree in a mob assault in order to challenge them to a
Academic Decathlon Olympiad
1:29 The “hot girl” is named Juliet, and she is eleven. She’s been filmed tossing her hair in slow motion and applying lotion, much to the delight of the nerd who plays video games and talks about World of Warcraft. It’s disturbing.
1:30 Cuba’s dad, who is evidently some sort of high ranking Marine, has time in his schedule to come and help plan a camp raid. He is not played by The Coz unfortunately.
1:32 The Canola crew interrupt a meditation session on ATV’s and Cuba’s Marine Dad shoots one of the rival campers point blank in an effort to stop the raid. I’m just kidding of course, but that would have been fun.
1:34 TGWRJFCYE hasn’t been onscreen in at least 7 minutes. The producers were evidently hoping that the less you saw him, the more you might forget that it wasn’t John Goodman.
1:35 The evil Canola counselor pores over a stack of newspaper headlines, discovering one that says “Canola wins 1977 Camp Olympiad”. Ignoring the fact that there was likely some sort of international hostage crisis going on in the world at this time, it was nice of the newspaper to remind their readers what year it was, in case they forget during their day to day life.
1:37 A massive raid is perpetrated on Camp Canola, leaving the evil counselor depantsed, covered in paint and chasing after several children between the ages of 6 to 11. It’s uncannily similar to the rest of my three day weekend.
1:39 “GI Joe is turning blue, there are peanuts in his poo” goes the marching chant. I need to check and see if that is on the IMDB page for “memorable quotes”
1:40 The page does not exist.
1:42 Where does this movie take place? There is a massive expanse of woods within driving distance, since it’s a day camp, and its evidently big enough to support two seasonal camps, and there is a nearby Marine base.
1:43 I’m calling part three of the trilogy now: Doggy Day Camp, February 2009
1:44 Winning the Olympiad has now shifted from something Cuba must do for personal satisfaction to something he must also do to win the approval of his father, win the respect of the community in terms of who they should send their children to, and convince a group of investors that he has a worthwile business model. It’s going to be one hell of an Olympiad
1:45 A training montage. Would never have expected that. It ends with the Marine general being defeated in arm wrestling by the ten year old who may actually BE the fat kid from The Sandlot
1:47 Juliette applies bug spray in seductive slow-mo. Another child actor is saved from the downward spiral of success
1:48 A characters secret weakness is revealed when they decide to have a sleep over at camp driftwood. It’s not fear of public speaking, or an aversion to logic problems, or not being able to remember what fork to use first at a fine dining restaurant. Get this – he sometimes wets the bed
1:49 We’re setting the stage for the Olympiad. 12 events. Details emerge slowly. If there’s no three legged race, I will be stunned.
1:50 After a belching contest around the campfire, Cuba emerges from the tent. Evidently he still has standards and refused to be on camera during the scene. Get over yourself Cuba
1:51 Charlie Murphy and Horatio Sanz – “But you hate dogs!” Doggy Day Camp, February 19, 2009
1:53 The kid who puked on the bus pukes in Cuba’s tent. But in a trademark Savage flourish, puke drips down onto Cuba’s head as he inspects the damage. Glorious
1:55 As the general delivers a pep talk, I’m struck that the same parents who didn’t pull their kids out of camp after the day one skunk incident, also permitted them to come on an overnight camping outing with the same people. The level of negligence is astounding. Perhaps the local paper ought to be writing MORE about local day camps. The parents need to know the truth!
1:57 Cuba’s son, evidently named Ben, is missing, and they find him up in a tree. It worked for the first two kids to play Ben, I bet the kid thought he could get out of the movie just like they did, but unfortunately they track him down.
1:58 So far pep talks about “being yourself” and “trying no matter what” outnumber crotch hits by a two to one margin. I’m weeping inside.
1:59 As I type that, TGWRJFCYE kills a mosquito in his tent with a fart. Once again, just like the Godfather, just when I thought I was out…
2:01 It’s the 45th annual intercamp olympiad. We should check the microfilm at the local library to find out the results of the other 44.
2:02 Cuba’s dad has disappeared. He had become the heart and soul of the camp and inspired the children. I guess I forgot to mention that. But it happened.
2:04 The kids look discouraged. Perhaps they just left a screening of Daddy Day Camp. Wait, am I allowed to do that?
2:06 Since there hasn’t been a single recognizable song in the entire movie, I don’t think it’s gonna happen, but if the Olympiad happens without Chumbawumba or “Who Let the Dogs Out” playing, I’m going to be very disappointed.
2:07 Unless it means that they’re saving “Who Let the Dogs Out” for the Doggy Day Camp trailer
2:08 Cuba confronts his dad at the train station. Evidently he is retired, they talk about how they love each other, are proud of each other. The dad refuses to address what he has done with Cuba’s mom.
2:09 The first event is evidently “Fire Starting”. That hadn’t been addressed in the training. And now a three legged race! But camp Canola is cheating, utilizing trip wires and gasoline to rig the two events. Hopefully Bob Woodward is there reporting on this scandal for the local paper.
2:10 It’s gonna take a lot of crotch kicks in the last fifteen minutes to even out the motivational speech to crotch kick ratio. I do not doubt for a second that this is impossible
2:12 Other events include wrestling, tug of war, marshmallow eating, archery and a trivia quiz about the Santeria religion. A shower of vomit secures them victory in the tug of war.
2:15 The marshmallow contest is won by the fat kid, the egg carrying contest the nerd, the archery contest the redneck. So far the girls have yet to participate in the contest, and they’re quickly running out of stereotypes, so they had better get on it.
2:17 A balloon toss. The girls cheer from the sidelines, awaiting the sewing bee.
2:18 “I”m not filling it with water. I’ve been holding this in all night.” Get ready to rewrite that 100 greatest quotes list AFI. Very similar to a scene another Fred Savage movie, “The Boy Who Could Fly.” I remember that from age seven. God knows how many children Daddy Day Camp will haunt for the next two decades.
2:20 The final contest is a wall climbing contest. Mullet, who is just now identified as Driftwood’s “Best Athlete” has a twisted ankle, leaving the two sons of the heads of the camps to compete. I don’t have the 1977 paper in front of me, but presumably, this is how the final happened back then. Maybe its covered in a back issue of Newsweek somewhere…nope, no time.
2:21 If I had to bet right now who wins, I’d still say it’s about fifty fifty. I’m on the edge of my seat.
2:22 The bad guy is exposed by a cheater. The crowd demands vengeance! Preferably in the nut-kicking style!
2:23 Cuba’s son wins the competition for Driftwood. Everyone loves each other. The Canola son looks angry! He kicks his dad!
2:24 In the shin.
2:25 Every parent wants their kid to attend Camp Driftwood as soon as possible. By which they of course mean, in time for the direct to video sequel. Someone should let them know that it’s closing up in favor of a pet care center to be named later…
2:26 Let’s go get the trophy, proclaims Cuba. Where does the trophy come from? Don’t they have a post game press conference with the media? Where is Cuba’s mom? Why did TGWRJFCYE’s wife never speak? Why didn’t the girls get to participate in the events? None of these events are to be answered though, as “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5 inexplicably plays and the credits start to roll.
I can’t believe I just watched Daddy Day Camp. My brain aches. I wonder who this Fred Savage thinks he is, holing back on the nut shots like that. I wonder how Eddie Murphy would have handled the situation. I wonder how a bear attack never took place. I wonder who in gods name was expected to see and enjoy this too-crude for children, too dumb for anyone else dreck. But then I remember that the chili I’ve been slow cooking the entire time required half a can of beer, and the remainder of that can of beer is still in the fridge. Thanks for reading along with me this fine President’s Day!
Remember our nations leaders, with Daddy Day Camp – The most presidential tradition of them all!