Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Dude of the Week: Bruce Campbell

Welcome to the last "of the week" featurette: Dude or Dudette of the Week. Each week I'll pick someone who doesn't fall into the hockey player category to focus on. I'll try and alternate between guys and girls as best as I can. For the first option, I don't think I had a choice. The Dude of the Week:

Bruce Campbell

Bruce Campbell is the ultimate B-movie actor. Star of the cult Evil Dead movies by Sam Raimi, Campbell has been interested in making movies since he was a child. One of Raimi's friends growing up, Campbell was involved with any number of early home movies made with Sam & Ted Raimi, as well as Rob Tapert and other friends who entered Hollywood the hard way. The group made "The Evil Dead", a horror film that eventually made money after being debuted overseas and getting Stephen King's thumbs up.

Sam and Bruce stuck together for awhile, but eventually they went their separate ways. Bruce ended up as supporting actors in gigs like Congo, Escape from LA, and McHale's Navy, whereas Sam went on to direct the Spider-Man movies. Bruce, however, has persevered.

I was first introduced to Bruce Campbell when my friends in high school made me watch Army of Darkness, a beautifully arranged over-the-top horror/adventure movie where Ash, the star of the Evil Dead movies, was blasted back in time to battle the undead a thousand years ago...and somehow in England. That's not important.

What is important is that the movie is loaded with the sort of catchphrases that stood out in my mind. "Yo, she-bitch! Let's go." "It's a trap. Get an axe." "Good, bad...I'm the guy with the gun." It goes on from there, but doesn't stop being awesome. They're the sorts of lines only Bruce Campbell can deliver.

I haven't gotten me a copy of the full Bruce library yet, but he has given good performances in drama too. "Brisco County" was apparently quite good, if had low ratings and was sadly canceled. But Bruce is getting his best reviews yet for his appearance as series regular and supporting co-star in Burn Notice as Sam Axe.

Sam Axe is an ex-Navy SEAL who did covert ops for awhile. He's a boozing man who romances older divorcees on the Miami beaches for favours, but has a seemingly unlimited supply of buddies in the various services he can tap for information. He occasionally gets Bruce Campbell-esque lines, too. "Okay, Mikey, I'll help you out, but next time there's a tour of rich divorcees stuck in a burning brewery, you better be there for me!"

Bruce also played the recurring character of Autolycus in Hercules and Xena; directing several episodes of both series (including the last episode of Herc). Autolycus was the Prince of Thieves, and the episodes with Bruce were best known for their comedy and physical humour. His buddy Rob Tapert was the producer of both shows (and husband to the gorgeous Lucy Lawless, who would have a guest appearance in Burn Notice), and gave Bruce a pretty good gig he writes highly of.

Bruce's autobiography "If Chins Could Kill" is a hell of a read. It's the story of a guy who tried to make it in Hollywood and almost pulled it off, having some interesting adventures along the way. It makes me laugh every time I pull it off the shelf and open to a random page. I really respect Bruce Campbell, not just for the roles he's done, but for still seeming to be the same guy after all the hell he's been through just to get a bit role in Spiderman IV.

"Oh look, a quarter!" -Bruce Campbell playing Bruce Campbell in "My Name Is Bruce", written, directed, and produced by Bruce Campbell.

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