Ballast Point Sculpin

June 8, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | Filed under Brewer: Ballast Point, Country: America, Grade: A regular, Style: IPA.

7% ABV from a bomber


Note:  This review contains spoilers for “The Hangover,” though if you’ve seen the trailer even once I can’t imagine what there would be to spoil.

It probably went down something like this…the esteemed writing team behind such celluloid masterworks as “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” and “Four Christmases,” two blokes that look like this, had a few beers one evening–the most they’ve ever had!  Like seven bro!–and something absolutely batshit crazy happened like they got a pepperoni slice at 2 AM, or ran from a $7 cab fare, or heard the next day that they had made out with some uuuuuuuuuugly chick in the corner of the bar and tthey thought, “Ow, my head hurts this morning.  I’m never gonna drink again.”  But then they had a genius brainstorm and thought, “Hey, we’re just some pasty nerds, but what if some really cool guys got more drunk than ever before–in Vegas no less (Vegas, baby, Vegas!)–and they couldn’t even remember what happened the night before!”

I’ve been unable to get “The Hangover” off my mind since I saw it hungover just Sunday morning.  And I know I’m going to step on some toes here and be in the minority when I say what I’m about to say, considering my theater was laughing their collective asses off (I’ve dated some gals with a collective ass, zing!), rolling in the aisles, and they even applauded when it was over; my friends have called it everything from a rave of “best movie EVER!” to a pan of “sooooo funny”; it currently ranks at #168 in imdb’s top 250 movies of all fucking time; and even critics are lauding it at a rate of 77%, remarkable for a R-rated comedy–but I really had issues with this picture.

I’ve spent the last twenty-four hours trying to figure out exactly why I didn’t like “The Hangover.”  I’m not saying it’s terrible or anything.  It’s not one of those movies like “Vantage Point” or “P.S. I Love You” or the “_____ Movie” spoof franchise where you spend every second you’re watching the screen just wanting to gouge your eyes out and plug them into your ears.  Nor is it one of those ineptly executed pictures like “Jumper” or “Battlefield Earth” that are so bad even someone with no comedy chops could find things to goof on and by the midway point of the movie the entire theater has become a peanut gallery shouting out insults.

No, “The Hangover” is simply not funny. I didn’t LOL even once. (Which, I guess if it’s a comedy and it’s not funny then maybe that means it IS “terrible,” but I digress). If you’ve seen the trailer, you literally know everything about the movie. Good comedy should be shocking and surprising and yet there’s not a single shock or surprise in this entire movie. Compare that to the great “Up” which surprised me every few minutes with its wonderful ideas and hilarious scenes.

I think the concept of three dudes trying to piece together a crazy hungover night is a pretty good one. We’ve ALL been there.  But their lost night–and the movie doesn’t even have the balls to allow them to attain that lost night via actual legitimate means, ya know, hardcore drinking; the characters are accidentally roofied–is nothing but a lame, paint-by-numbers pastiche of non sequitur bullshit that uber-hack director Todd Phillips must have thought would play well in trailers*.  Ohmigod, badass Mike Tyson singing a lame Phil Collins song! A tiger in the bathroom! And a baby in the closet.  Hey, how’d a chicken get in the room?! (Actually, come to think of it, I’m not sure we ever learned that. We never learned why the room was completely trashed either for that matter.)

Seriously, what is funny about any of those things?  To step on even more toes, it’s the same brand of over-the-top, out-of-left-field, nonsensical “humor” that made Seth McFarlane rich enough to own his own jet (A taser in the face!  A nude effete Asian gangster!  A stolen cop car!).  And I’m not exactly Mr. PC Morality but mining a lost and neglected baby for comedy? Perhaps I wouldn’t be offended if that was actually a funny gag.  But of course it isn’t.  It’s just as trite as having a hooker with a heart of gold played by Heather Graham who of course shows an aging tit.  Look, if you read my blog you know I’m about as far from having a stiff upper lip as they come.  I thrive on puerile, sophomoric, scatological comedy as much as the next guy and even at age 30 a well-crafted dick or fart joke can still have me in hysterics.  (For instance, the “Bruno” trailer would be the funniest thing I saw on Sunday as the great Sacha Baron Cohen continues to amaze us with the new and clever ways he can incorporate dildos, masturbation, and bare ass into a storyline.)

Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms and even Bradley Cooper are winning and likable and I hope those three continue to headline movies, but there’s not much they can accomplish when they’re reading words written by such trite scripters and stuck in such a lame plot.  Casted with less-skilled and innately humorous actors and I think “The Hangover” would have been a straight bomb and the general population would have noticed all the flaws and the shear boringness of the movie.  Galifianakis’s character of Alan especially deserved to be in a better movie where his character–one of the most creepy/funny since Christopher Walken in “Annie Hall”–could have been iconic.  And Ed Helm’s skills are incredibly neutered, the only time he gets to shine when he out-of-nowhere sits down at the piano to sing a plot-discussing song, one of the few inspired parts in the flick, and a part I assume was either written or straight improvised by the musically gifted funnyman.

As I was watching the movie it wasn’t like it was cringe worthy or anything, nor was I begging for it to be over. And it’s not a deplorable “dumb” pratfalls comedy like Adam Sandler garbage or anything, it’s just flaccid and predictable and easily watchable.  Which, unfortunately, still will allow it to probably go down as the best mainstream Hollywood comedy of the year.  (Yeesh!  Think about that for a second.) I would have much rather just gone to You Tube and entered “Zach Galifianakis” and watched any of his criminally underrated stand-up bits for an hour and a half.  Hell, I would have rather watched Galifianakis, et al actually get wasted and then actually go do caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-razy things in Vegas.

And that brings me to why guess I most disliked “The Hangover”:  it’s insulting to drinkers.  Insulting to people like you and I that actually have had a lost night or two in our lives and had a crazy story to tell.  I could have called up any of my besotted friends on Sunday morning and I guarantee at least one of them would have told me a story about the decadence and depravity they got into on Saturday night that would have been ten times as funny as “The Hangover.”  I don’t see how any one that actually drinks, and actually parties, can think “The Hangover” anything more than an unfunny non-verisimilitudinous imagining of the circumstances.

But perhaps I’m wrong.  If you saw it, I’d love to hear why you loved it–cause I know you did–in specific scenes and moments and lines.  Truly curious.  Do share.


Another IPA sent to me from the left coast from Jesse the Hutt.  And it’s just like all those other “famous” California IPAs…fantastic.  It truly is India Pale Ale Elysian out there, perhaps I’ll have witness protection place me in San Diego next.  Smell is out of this world, an intense fragrance of grapefruitiness.  The taste is a mild letdown considering the smell, but it is still wonderful.  So fresh and piney.  Like drinking a goddamn Christmas tree.  Straight from the West Coast, no question, with additional tastes of grapefruit, apricots, mangoes, and sour citrus, minimal maltiness.  A nice stinging bitterness–just like the sculpin fish itself, says Ballast Point!–but incredibly drinkable.  Top-notch my friends, this deserve it’s top 20 BA ranking.


*If you’ve seen Todd Phillips in his wonderful documentary “Frat House” then you know he’s not exactly a cool guy either.

10 Responses to “Ballast Point Sculpin”

  1. Tom says:

    Yeeesh. Normally I’m the guy who hates movies you’re not allowed to hate, but I had a good time watching this movie.

    Galifianakis was the draw for me, before this movie he’d been confined to youtube. You asked for specific scenes: when ZG was talking about Dustin Hoffman being a re-TARD and then they cut to that Kanye West song which was also a ZG music video, it felt like a nice little hat tip. I was able to forgive some of the other more predictable shit after that.

  2. Think of how shitty the movie would have been if ZG was replaced by, say, Horatio Sanz or someone (perhaps not a fair choice).

    Yes, ZG is a comic genius, and he could figure out a way to be hilarious just silently standing in front of us…but the movie was lackluster.

    The re-TARD line was a highlight, the Caesar’s Palace line was pretty funny, him masturbating the baby was decent, and his confusion about the Holocaust ring was pretty funny too. (His facial expression as he got blown in the end credits was hilarious too). But let’s be serious, these aren’t going to be legendary comic moments ingrained in our heads 20 years from now like any of a billion lines in “Groundhog Day” or “Office Space” or “Lebowski”…truly great comedies.

  3. Tom says:

    No, it’s not a legendary comedy. But what’s with the entire entry devoted to bashing a comedy which pretty much lived up to/slightly exceeded its billing? Did you get passed over for the role of the naked asian guy?

    How bout some parity. Where’s your Juno entry?

    Also, the gradual crush that ZG developed on Bradley Cooper by the end? And when he was in the backseat improvising the “We’re 3 very best friends” song? Those were lol moments for me.

  4. Tom says:

    To be fair, I cringed at a few parts, like when they did the slow pan across the trashed vegas hotel suite & the couch was smoldering. That just pissed all over the tribute/theft line. Terry Gilliam & HST (estate of) should get royalties from every Vegas movie from here on out.

  5. But it’s getting TREATED like a legendary comedy. $45 million opening weekend for an R-rated comedy with no stars?! INSANE. In fact, the third highest opening ever behind franchise pics in “Sex and the City” and “American Pie 2.” Critics hailing it as revolutionary? How?! I just don’t get it. And it’s really somewhat chapped my hide and I can’t get it out of my mind. I’ve had countless people in the last few days just out and start raving to me about this flick–something I can’t recall happening for a mainstream comedy in years. This is a drinking blog and I was insulted by how boring “the greatest party movie evah!” was. What is it about this movie that has so captured the minds of everyone? That is what I want to know, what I want to figure out. Is it simply the fact that Hollywood makes such piece of shit comedies that when a halfway decent one comes along people freak out?

    Love or hate “Juno,” at least it was original and sui generis. Which is the very reason it was either loved or hated.

    OK, you liked the ZG show portions of the movie. Fair enough, I did too to a certain extent. Now tell me a funny non-ZG part of the movie.

  6. Now you’re just embarrassing the movie when we have to compare it to “Fear and Loathing,” a book, a movie, and a man that humiliates “The Hangover.”

  7. And just read what strangers think about it.

    I read about 200 in a row, not a single person didn’t rave about it. It’s getting the legendary treatment. Next discussion point…how freaking terrible will the sequel be?

  8. Tom says:

    Oh my good ness I cannot believe that twitterers would ever dispense the vaunted legendary treatment unless they really meant it.

    On an unrelated note I am going to stop disagreeing with you and remember my frustration at being the only person in the world unmoved by the dark knight last summer.

  9. omg dark knite was the best movie evr!!!!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *