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048: Varsity Blues vs. Hot Rod

Maximilian Rivera February 21, 2017
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By Scott Tennant | @Breakdown_Scott

Premise: Two movies enter, but only one may win. We talk 1999’s favorite high school football drama along with The Lonely Island‘s feature film debut Hot Rod
RottenTomatoes Score:​ 40%

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Wait a second, this is bullshit, TWO MOVIES? Save the double dips for the high percentages boys. Well, we just couldn’t help ourselves this week, these two movies were too good to pass up. That’s why we did our first Versus episode. We compare these two titans of film in various categories to see which stacks up. Do they both stand up to that 40% rating? We did our best to find out.
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Let’s start with Varsity Blues. A star-studded 90’s teen dramedy that tries it best to utilize it’s weirdly good cast to deliver everything: laughs, sports action, romance, and post-concussion syndrome. James Van Der Beek, Paul Walker, Scott Caan, Ali Larter, Amy Smart, Jon Voight, and more lead the way here (keep your eyes peeled for a very young Jesse Plemons too), and they all put on a dazzling array of horrific Texan accents for your viewing pleasure. In all honesty this MTV movie does very little well; the acting is cheesy, the story is bland and they don’t add too much beyond run-of-the-mill cliches. Somehow this movies is a perfect storm of bad though, and it ends up being weirdly endearing and entertaining. Those Texan accents alone kept us laughing, but so does the weird dialogue and over the top football action. Grab a few Alamo beers, grab some Hooters 2 Go, and check this one out if you want to turn that ol’ brain of yours off for a night.
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And then there’s Hot Rod, the cult classic from the guys at The Lonely Island. This is a pretty popular film thanks to it’s star power; Andy Samberg & company have been making pretty awesome YouTube and Saturday Night Live content for years now, and Hot Rod works the same brand of humor onto the big screen. So obviously these three guys have a ton of talent, and it’s easy to see that in the script and humor that it brings. The ensemble outside those three is pretty strong here as well; Bill Hader, Danny McBride, Isla Fisher, Will Arnett and more join in for the fun. Hot Rod is just as goofy as it can be. Some of the lines here are laugh out loud funny and make the film worth watching alone. The story is a silly vehicle for the stunts and comedians to have fun. This is the kind of film that you will either really love, or not care for at all, and it’s vocal audience is the big reason why it maintains it’s cult classic status.
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Max and I couldn’t really pick a true favorite. We both acknowledge that Hot Rod is the better made film, and has the overall funnier moments, but Varsity Blues is so ridiculous and accidentally funny, that we’re probably more likely to watch that one again. But it’s not up to us:

Let us know what you think! Shoot us an email at thecriticalbreakdownpodcast@gmail.com or leave a comment below!

Max is a marketing copywriter by day, filmmaker and screenwriter by night. He resides in Charlotte, NC, and loves his dogs, watching movies, building LEGO sets, and eating food. Lots of food.You can find Max at his personal website and twitter.

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