Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Stripperland! (2011)

Directed by Sean Skelding
Starring Ben Sheppard, Jamison Challeen, Maren McGuire, and Ileana Herrin
Guest appearances by Lloyd Kaufman, Linnea Quigley, Boyd Banks and Daniel Baldwin

"Pre-made bullshit! Everywhere I go: bad eggs, no milk, and only flour. Fuckin' dude."

Portland, Oregon based filmmaker Sean Skelding's shamelessly transparent parody of the Hollywood blockbuster, Zombieland ( the strikingly similarly titled, Stripperland!), manages to take the idea set forth by its predecessor, copy it almost whole-cloth, and still overwhelmingly come off a winner. And I'm not only saying that because it also happened to be filmed all over my stomping grounds in the "Great Northwest", but also because its entertaining, funny, well-shot, well-acted, and has a bountiful bevy of gore drenched hotties traipsing about in their under-panties eating helpless hornballs.

To be honest, I have never seen Zombieland, but I have talked to people who have and listened to 10s upon 10s of podcasts featuring people who have, and with such intense and backbreaking labor put into my research, I feel completely competent in pretending that I know what I'm talking about. So, here we go...

Stripperland! begins with main character Idaho (Ben Sheppard) taking a late night shopping trip at Lamb's Thriftway (which is located in Wilsonville, Oregon), dodging scantily clad, flesh-craving dancers (dancers for money) and narrating over said events with the details of his current plight and the "rules" of which he has created to survive in this post-apocalyptic wasteland (you know, like in Zombieland).

A few of the aforementioned rules set forth by Idaho are as such: Rule #1: Strippers never tell the truth (which by the end of the film is changed to "Strippers dance for tips and tips alone." for no apparent reason), Rule #8: Strippers love heels (which again, is changed to "Strippers love Hip Hop." later in the film - again for no apparent reason), and Rule #11: Never eat at a strip club."; the last being a great rule to live by, even sans a zombie apocalypse, I'd say.

While hanging out at Lamb's, a H3 Hummer comes barreling into the parking lot and out hops a cowboy hat, shotgun wielding bad-ass named Frisco (Jamison Challeen) whose current personal mission is to locate fresh-baked goods such as cakes, cookies and muffins (its what his now deceased "partner" used to make for him in the good old days, before the outbreak). Not finding any at the Thriftway, Idaho and Frisco decide to team up and go on a road trip for baked goodness.

Along the way, Idaho and Frisco stop at Camp 18 (which is a popular restaurant/camping spot on Highway 26 in Elsie, Oregon) and run into what appears to be the only 2 uninfected females left: Virginia (Maren McGuire) and her sister West (Ileana Herrin).

They end up joining the road trip, mostly because Idaho has a boner for Virginia and because the ladies promise Frisco a never-ending supply of yummies if he takes them to see their Grandbo (a tough-as-nails Linnea Quigley in a sweet cameo as the leader of the vigilante group G.A.S., which I believe stands for Grandparents Against Strippers) who resides with her posse on the Oregon Coast (actual location: Rockaway Beach).

On the way to their ultimate destination (which is made all the more deadly due to them needing to go through Portland, Oregon - also called "Stripper Alley" - which has the highest number, per capita, of strip clubs in the U.S. Go Portland!) they run across a Hip Hop star named Double D (Daniel Baldwin, in a (thankfully) short role) who has found a fan base by rapping to the zombies, effectively turning them into mindless, dancing groupies.

Then they eventually make it to the now abandoned Jantzen Beach Mall (which is quite near me in Portland, Oregon - please don't stalk me) where they run into a sweet pimp named Maestro (Boyd Banks) who has taken refuge inside. Some unfortunate stuff happens, and the Troupo De Quatro (that's "The Group of Four" in some language I just made up) has to move on.

And, in the penultimate showdown, they run across a casino owner/mad scientist named Dr. Logan (played by Thom Bray) who has been experimenting with the zombies in order to create "Retro-Housewives": women who only live to serve their male counterparts. Needless to say, stuff happens and they move on.

Also making an appearance is Lloyd Kaufman (playing Idaho's dad), who gives his son a briefcase to open "when everything's fucked".

No, Stripperland! will not change the world, but as someone who rarely finds a movie interesting enough to watch all the way through in one sitting (it could also be the ADD), I can totally vouch for this film and without reserve recommend you give this a view. If you're an Oregon local, you might even want to give it a few more.

Get Stripperland! from Cheezy Flicks or MVD; they're both great.

- Jeremy Vaca

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