When it comes to listing some of Mike Myers' greatest creations a few names come easily to mind. Wayne Campbell, Austin Powers, Dr. Evil. But what about Charlie and Stuart Mackenzie?
That's the question that the film "So I Married An Axe Murderer" raises. It is about 85 minutes of pure fun, and as it has been raised in conversation (not to mention, imitation) with friends recently I think it deserves a one-person discussion here (with the one person being me, sorry about that).
IS STUART MACKENZIE THE GREATEST SCOTTISH CHARACTER IN MOVIE HISTORY?
In my opinion, yes. For those Scots who wish to ask, "What about William Wallace in Braveheart?" let me ask in return, "Who has the more universal appeal?" Hmm, a real character who was involved in a lot of violence, or one with thick-rimmed spectacles and numerous cans of McEwan's Export. It isn't a contest.
Stuart Mackenzie isn't just the greatest Scottish character in movie history, he is also one of the most quotable:
"Give your Mother a kiss or I'll kick your teeth in!"
"May, shut it!"
"... known as 'The Pentavaret'."
"I hated the Colonel with his wee beady eyes, and the smug look on his face, 'oh, you're gonnae buy my chicken, oh'..."
"William move your heed! Look at the size of that boy's heed, I'm not kidding its like an orange on a toothpick... Well that's a huge noggin! Its a virtual planetoid, has its own weather system!"
"I'm not kidding that boy's heed's like Sputnik, spherical but quite pointy in parts... That was offside, wasn't it? He'll be crying himself to sleep tonight on his huge pilla'!"
"You okay in there Charlie, you didn't fall in now did ya?"
"We have a piper doon. I repeat, a piper is doon!"
And there's his singing at the wedding reception, which I can't tell you about in case you've never seen the film before. Just one of the most unexpected twists I've ever seen in a film, it still cracks me up.
Then again, he does refer to Football as "Soccer", something no self-respecting Scottish male would ever do.
ARE THERE ANY OTHER WORTHWHILE LINES?
How about this one?
"Do you actually like Haggis?"
"No, I think it's repellent in every way. In fact I think most Scottish food is based on a dare."
(As Homer Simpson once said, that's funny because its true.)
And the one I know a lot of my friends love.
"Have you ever stood at the edge of a cliff, or a subway platform with someone, and you thought just for a split-second, what if I pushed them?"
"No, not really, usually I follow the Judeo-Christian ethic of 'thou shalt not kill', but that's just me."
IS HEED PLAYED BY ART GARFUNKEL'S SON?
No, apparently he was played by Matt Doherty. By the way, I love the fact that in the title's the character is listed as "Heed", not by his Christian name of William.
IS THE SOUNDTRACK ROTTEN?
What? The film starts with "There She Goes", moves onto "Saturday Night" and carries onto "Two Princes". Not so much quantity but quality, but you'd probably be better off looking for a number of compilation albums rather than the film's soundtrack CD.
IS THERE ANYONE CALLED TONY TO ADMIRE?
Shucks, I never get asked this question!
Yes, there is. He is Charlie's best friend Tony Giardino (played by Anthony LaPaglia) and he is hysterical. Charlie's Mum fancies him, his boss wants to console him ("Hey, somebody needs a hug!"), and he has a complete obsession with Starsky & Hutch. Do I really need to tell you what an inept cop he is? Just watch the film and watch him try and break down a door, you'll see for yourself.
And as for friendly advice, how about this? "Charlie, two words. Therapy."
NOTHING IS PERFECT - WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE FILM?
Here it is easier to make a list: Charlie Mackenzie's haircut, one Haggis costs nearly $20, Stuart watching "World Series of Soccer" on TV, Harriet working in what appears to be a butchers but not wearing a hairnet, people using San Francisco cable cars for everyday use (I had to wait 45 minutes to get on one of those things!), Brenda Fricker's Scottish accent (although being Irish, she could have helped Nicole Kidman out before filming began on "Far and Away"), and how does Charlie maintain his lifestyle when all he does is perform every so often as a Beat Poet?
WE SEE LOTS OF PLACES AROUND SAN FRANCISCO IN THE FILM. ARE ANY OF THEM WORTH VISITING?
The Fog City Diner and Alcatraz (although "The main cell block" wasn't open to visitors when I visited there) are well worth visiting. However in real life Jack Kerouac Alley is a tiny little road which only features a dumpster. Further more it is in a grimy little area of a beautiful city. And "Roads" doesn't exist (or at least it didn't six years ago - okay, I can't lie, I want to go back!). "Hello, I believe I asked for a large cappuccino? Hello!"
ARE MALTESERS THE GREATEST EDIBLE CREATION OF THE LAST ONE-HUNDRED YEARS?
Sorry, I got a bit distracted there. Hang on a moment, I'll ask our dog, Cookie. His nose appears to be answering "yes". Mmm, a vastly mutated one!
WOULD YOU MARRY HARRIET?
No comment, for obvious reasons. Let's just say that Nancy Travis is really good actress. (And I've never swayed so much on whether someone is attractive or not in my whole life. There, I said it.)
IS IT A GOOD FILM TO GET OUT FOR A DATE?
On the whole, yes. Just try and leave the room when Harriet asks Charlie what he looks for in a woman he dates.
ANY MISCELLEANOUS POINTS?
Fantastic comedic use of a Thighmaster, and a collapsing shelf.
"This poem... sucks."
"Did they mention the wife? Did-did-did they mention the wife?!"
("Okay, I'm a bad person!")
ANY INTERESTING CAMEOS?
The weird guy from "Seinfeld", Greg Germann from "Ally McBeal", Charles Grodin from the "Beethoven" films ("No, its one of my favourite things."), stand-up genius Steven Wright ("Actually I have no concept of time.") and the late, great Phil Hartman.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO MENTION?
On the Internet Movie Database (see, I can do research!) "So I Married An Axe Murderer" almost gets lost amid all the Mike Myers films. Thrown in amid the Austin Powers trilogy, Shrek and the Wayne's World films you could easily miss it. However you shouldn't do. A lot of shops are daft enough to put this film in bargain bins, in which case it truly becomes a bargain. For those of us who already have a well-worn VHS copy what we'd like is a comprehensive DVD, featuring lots of behind the scenes clips... including the incredible transformation from Mike Myers to Charlie Mackenzie.
Have a good week!