Wet Hot American Gothic
June 15, 2011 11:57 AM   Subscribe

In commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the release of Wet Hot American Summer, Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles is presenting an exhibition of artwork inspired by the movie. Gallery (2)

BONUS CONTENT: Netflix subscribers can also watch the film on demand.
posted by schmod (67 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
I just watched the film last month and then rewatched it two nights later, something I rarely ever do. Even though I love the genre, this movie somehow slipped by me for ten years.
posted by perhapses at 12:03 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

There is something indefinably 90s about Wet Hot's style of humor.
posted by The Whelk at 12:05 PM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

i need parsley
posted by nathancaswell at 12:09 PM on June 15, 2011

I saw it in the theatre and re-watched it last week for the first time since then. Later that same day I made my husband watch it with me again. The movie is a little uneven, particularly the last quarter or so, but there are enough perfect moments to more than make up for it. Paul Rudd's character in particular is just pure, unadulterated genius.
posted by something something at 12:10 PM on June 15, 2011

LOVE this movie. No other movie has so encapsulated the Jewish summer camp experience.
posted by leesh at 12:16 PM on June 15, 2011

The trip to town montage is masterful.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:18 PM on June 15, 2011 [13 favorites]

Wait for me Abby Bernstein!
posted by sswiller at 12:22 PM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

When I was in college, a friend and I who had both grown up going to summer camp (I was a counselor at one for a couple summers as well) watched this movie and absolutely loved it. It's very rare for a movie to make me laugh as hard as I did the first time I saw it.

Naturally we wanted to show all our other friends this hilarious movie. We didn't really think about the fact that none of them had ever gone to summer camp. At all. So we put it on to watch it and....they just...didn't laugh. Deathly silence. Awkwardness. My friend and I are looking at each with a growing sense of uncertainty; "This movie is funny, right?" And honestly - it just didn't seem as funny, the second time around. There were a few "heh" moments but not the gut-busting laughter it had induced the first time around. Some of the stuff that was funny the first time just seemed cringe-worthy the second time. It didn't help, I'm sure, that we had surrounded ourselves with all these people who just...didn't get it...at all.

Since then I've been a little afraid to watch it. But maybe I'll have to wait until I'm feeling good and nostalgic for summer camp and try again. But I will have to make sure everyone I watch it with went to summer camp, this time.
posted by mstokes650 at 12:27 PM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

No other movie has so encapsulated the Jewish summer camp experience.

The following campers need to put their trunks out so the early bus to Boston can pick them up at 7:30 am.

Amanda Klein... Jessica Azaria...Ira Stevenberg... Saul Zimmer.... stein....uh, David Ben-Gurion
posted by nathancaswell at 12:29 PM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

Two words:

Fart track.
posted by stenseng at 12:37 PM on June 15, 2011 [3 favorites]

Wow - I never knew there were other people who loved this movie as much as I do.
posted by slackdog at 12:44 PM on June 15, 2011

One of the greatest comedies in recent memory, to be sure. Thanks for pointing these pieces out.

Fonduuuuuuue cheddar!
posted by heatvision at 12:51 PM on June 15, 2011

Five words:

You know, for my pussy.
posted by perhapses at 12:52 PM on June 15, 2011 [7 favorites]

Didn't like it.
posted by saucygit at 12:54 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Jon Benjamin has always been awesome.
posted by Twicketface at 1:02 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

1980 was the first year I went to summer camp. The amazing thing about Wet Hot American Summer is not how fantastic it is, but how realistic it looks.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go hump the fridge.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:04 PM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

Two words:

Fart track.

The fart track is great, and many a film would be improved with one. The best part about the fart track (aside from the farts) is that about 3/4 of the way into the movie, right around the talent show, they start adding cowbell and other sound effects, and then they just start laughing.
posted by cottoncandybeard at 1:21 PM on June 15, 2011

posted by cashman at 1:43 PM on June 15, 2011

I think my man-crush on Paul Rudd really became in earnest with that scene where Beth makes Andy clean up the mess he makes in the dining hall. "Oh yeah, I will. I just got- Idon'thavetime right now."
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 1:45 PM on June 15, 2011 [6 favorites]

We said nine so that we could be here by nine thirty.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:51 PM on June 15, 2011 [6 favorites]

"It's not about the girl, Coop."

"It isn't?"

"Well, it is. But -- see if you can follow me here -- it...


"Oh. So it is and it isn't."

"You are ready to be taught a new way."

"Will you help teach me...about this... what is it? A new way?"

posted by Errant at 1:52 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

We said nine so that we could be here by nine thirty.

Well, no, why don't we say 9:30, and then make it your beeswax to be here at 9:30.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:57 PM on June 15, 2011 [3 favorites]

Also when watching the Deleted Scenes I was sad to see that they removed the interactions between Gary/Gene and the Cure Girl, constantly asking about hot house corn. Especially the kicker at the barbecue where Gene whispers "hey kid" before bellowing "SHUT THE FUCK UP AND EAT THE FUCKING CORN" with kernels of the corn flying out of his mouth into her face
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 2:05 PM on June 15, 2011

It's one of my favorite comedies ever. Every montage is a winner.
posted by codacorolla at 2:13 PM on June 15, 2011

I hated camp, but I loved the movie Meatballs, so for me this movie is awesome partly because it lets me revisit Camp North Star.

This is one of those movies I love that I wholeheartedly recommend to people, but they never actually rent. I gush about it and they say "yeah, okay," and then three or four years later they stumble on it by accident and then recommend it to me. Maybe it's the title.
posted by Mchelly at 2:25 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

This post tastes like a burger.
posted by Mrs.Spiffy at 2:26 PM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Quite simply one of the best sequences of physical comedy that I've ever some across. Completely nonsensical, but has me rolling on the floor each time I see it.
posted by schmod at 2:26 PM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

I vaguely remember when this was out but had never heard any raves about it. Bonus: available on Netflix streaming!

Disappointment: the 1985 made for TV summer camp movie Poison Ivy (starring Michael J. Fox and Nancy McKeon) is nowhere to be found.
posted by usonian at 2:30 PM on June 15, 2011

He's actually doing it!
posted by nathancaswell at 2:34 PM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

You're _saving_ them!
posted by Earthtopus at 2:57 PM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

Janeane Garofalo's line inquiring about what to wear to look sexy for a man ("A clean pair of pants? No, I'm just kidding. So, really: slacks? Pants?") is the funniest goddamn thing ever.
posted by tetralix at 3:25 PM on June 15, 2011 [4 favorites]

I really loved this movie. I'd even say I love it more for the fact that up until the going-into-town montage, it's a relatively restrained movie; that is to say, for the most part it's content to get its laughs from the way it adheres to, and slightly teases, summer-camp-movie cliches. And then the montage happens and all of a sudden the movie just goes hog fucking wild and never calms back down. I love it!
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 3:25 PM on June 15, 2011

"Also, McKinley, four lower campers are stuck in the ropes course. I meant to tell you about that yesterday, but could you get to it now?"
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 3:27 PM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

I'm gonna go fondle my sweaters
posted by dr_dank at 3:47 PM on June 15, 2011

You know, I totally retract my statement I made earlier today. These artists totally should be using their art to protest the war. A war. Any war. Anywhere.
posted by happyroach at 3:47 PM on June 15, 2011

*Rolls 20-sided die*
posted by cazoo at 3:53 PM on June 15, 2011

I had no idea this movie had a following.

A few years back I rented it on a recommendation of the store rental clerk (remember those?). I thought it had a couple laughs but mostly I thought it was amateurish, trying waaay too hard and worst of all, boring.

Not a terrible movie, but I can't see the cult status. Shrug.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 3:56 PM on June 15, 2011

the sneaky-funniest thing in the whole movie is the throwaway line about how bunk 8 wants to watch the china syndrome over and over again

what can i say, they love it?
posted by nathancaswell at 3:57 PM on June 15, 2011

So the fact that I cringed my way through (what I thought was) obvious, pitiful comedy can be explained by the fact that I never went to jewish summer camp? Admittedly the guy responsible for showing me this film is a dude I hate a lot, but even a second loathsome person-free viewing did little to improve it. I don't enjoy hating films, so if someone can redeem it, I'm all ears.
posted by serif at 4:01 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm a goy who didn't go to summer camp and I (clearly) love the shit out of this movie... give it another shot, it's one of those movies that gets funnier the more you watch it.
posted by nathancaswell at 4:06 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Anyone else just blow a bunch of favorites in this thread? Hell yes.
posted by sarahsynonymous at 4:06 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Just to add- I'm not a hater -- I like Janeane Garofalo. I'm about the same age as her so this would be aimed at me. I like Paul Rud. I love the idea of a sendup of teen sex summer-camp movies.

But this movie was so entirely forgettable. I had never heard of it prior to my vid-store recco and have not heard of it again until reading this post. I have never even thought about it. I can only remember that some of the outfits/wardrobe was funny, and there was a scene where people were shooting heroin.

I'm scratching my head over this, but I'll stand in the corner and get out of the way...
posted by jeff-o-matic at 4:07 PM on June 15, 2011

C'mon when Jean Garrafalo askes David Hyde Pierce what time it is and he looks at the sun and says "two, two-thirty"? That's great.
posted by nathancaswell at 4:09 PM on June 15, 2011 [3 favorites]

Gonna write in my gournal about this.
posted by sarahsynonymous at 4:10 PM on June 15, 2011 [7 favorites]

I grew up in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, where Wet Hot American Summer was filmed, although I was long gone before the movie came out. I saw it in New York, where I was the only person in the audience who hooted and applauded when the "Blue Jeans courtesy of Sullum's, Honesdale, Pa." credit showed up in the closing credits.

No, I am NOT a twit. Sullum's was where everybody in the county bought their blue jeans, flannel shirts and general rough-weather/farming gear. Sullum's was the business. I loved Sullum's to death. What the hell are you looking at?
posted by bakerina at 4:15 PM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

For further reading (including camp anecdotes by David Wain himself), I highly recommend Camp Camp
posted by dr_dank at 4:15 PM on June 15, 2011

"You might say that each and every one of us is a crewmember, here on Spaceship Earth."


"When would we say that?"

"*shrugs* Anytime. Dinner? Literally, anytime."
posted by Errant at 4:27 PM on June 15, 2011 [13 favorites]

This is one of those movies in the absurdist realm like Run, Ronnie, Run. The actors and writers are all improv and sketch comedy veterans, and when they are allowed to be absurd as possible, WHAS is as funny as movies get.

But like Run, Ronnie, Run, the studios (or somebody) felt the need to ground the film with a linear plot and a sprinkling of drama and sentimentality. The love story between David Hyde Pierce and Janeane Garofalo stops the film's momentum--and laughs--completely. Those scenes should've been at least trimmed down considerably.
posted by zardoz at 4:33 PM on June 15, 2011

*pushes glasses up on nose* Douchebags are hygenic, I take that as a compliment!
posted by sarahsynonymous at 4:53 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh, fuck my cock.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:54 PM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

I went to camp so long ago that fucking Jesus Christ was my counselor! And my best friend hadn't fully evolved yet! His name was Ug and he walked on all fours!
posted by Thoth at 5:39 PM on June 15, 2011 [4 favorites]

Metafilter: you know, the indoor kids.

One of these days I'll edit the deleted scenes into the movie; the corn/goth bits and the FRIGGING END OF THE MOVIE THAT THEY SET UP IN SCENES INCLUDED IN THE THEATRICAL CUT would make it stronger. That might be tonight's project...
posted by jtron at 5:56 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Thank you, Thorh. The whole idea of Michael Showalter playing that nonsense character, for absolutely no reason, telling terrible jokes, and making the audience cry from laughter perfectly encapsulated why this is a great film.
posted by graphnerd at 5:57 PM on June 15, 2011

Not jewish, didn't go to summer camp, friggin love this movie. Bought the DVD ages ago and lent it to a friend. He returned it the next day with a peculiar look on his face. He liked it, but there was too much farting... Had to tell him to turn the track OFF. It just makes my experience of that movie so much better.
posted by Constant Reader at 6:30 PM on June 15, 2011

"Beth, now is not the time or the place to speak of it. Meet me at the picnic table in 10 seconds and I'll tell you all about it."
posted by namewithoutwords at 6:33 PM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

So I am coming, not as your buddy, and not as a co-counselor, but for the first time as a man - a man who loves a woman, and who wants to hold her and provide for her and, yes, have sex with her; but no, seriously, Katie, I love the way you laugh and I love the way your hair smells and I love it that sometimes for no reason you're late for shul, and I don't care that you're bowlegged and I don't care that you're bilingual - all I know is that I would have said no to every single person on your list because I've always wanted you.
posted by cottoncandybeard at 6:33 PM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

Thoth: "I went to camp so long ago that fucking Jesus Christ was my counselor! And my best friend hadn't fully evolved yet! His name was Ug and he walked on all fours!"

So my absolute favorite part about this bit is that Alan Shemper (the jewish comedian, played by Michael Showalter) gets introduced as coming all the way from Kutsher's in the Catskill Mountains.

I've been to Kutsher's - twice! - and it is so quintessentially the right reference for that joke. (as Eugene Mirman put it when I was there the second time "it's the place where homeless ghosts have their bar mitzvahs."
posted by namewithoutwords at 6:41 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

uhhh can we talk about the art you guys???

jk lets talk about the movie some more!

IS FOR YOU!!!!!!!!

Best Character, go.

my vote: can.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:22 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

I love you guys. Anyone want some gum?
posted by en forme de poire at 5:31 AM on June 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

*random quote from the movie to show that I love it too*
posted by ktoad at 5:06 PM on June 16, 2011

Whatever, ktoad, I guess I'm not all smart like you.
posted by Errant at 7:41 PM on June 16, 2011

Greatest romantic-comedy movie ending ever:

Listen, Coop. Last night was really great. You were incredibly romantic and heroic, no doubt about it. And that's great. But I've thought about it, and my thing is this. Andy's really hot. And don't get me wrong, you're cute too, but Andy is like, cut. From marble. He's gorgeous. He's like this beautiful face and this incredible body, and I genuinely don't care that he's kinda lame.
posted by moorooka at 8:06 PM on June 16, 2011

I'm going to start using "X is like, cut, from marble" as my go to explanation for bad decisions based purely on aesthetics.

FRIEND: Holy shit I can't believe you just spent $22,000 on a 1977 Pontiac Trans Am. It wasn't even a good car... in 1977. This is a financial disaster. You've ruined yourself.

ME: My thing is this. This car is like, cut. From marble.

posted by nathancaswell at 8:46 PM on June 16, 2011 [5 favorites]

If you liked the movie, I highly HIGHLY recommend grabbing the Stella DVDs off of Netflix or iTunes, which to this day I will quote at people who have never seen the show and refuse to stop even after people have politely asked me to.

i'm david, fart noise
posted by shadytrees at 10:21 PM on June 19, 2011

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