Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
In its brief life as a running Tampa Theatre series, REWIND has presented some really … challenging films. Movies that maybe didn’t find their audience in their first run. Sometimes these movies get called “cult classics;” other times, they get called “enormous failures.” But even among such company as Zardoz and The Room, no REWIND movie received as many and as aggressively negative reviews as our next one, Wet Hot American Summer. And frankly that’s astonishing. I mean, have you *seen* Zardoz?
It’s true that you have to know what you’re getting into. Wet Hot American Summer pioneered the improv-heavy, ensemble-cast situational comedy years before Will Ferrell and the Apatow/McKay crew struck gold with it, but the surreal edge of the jokes made it a lot more difficult for mainstream audiences to embrace. It stars one thousand comedians who went on to become medium-famous, the entire creative team of cult show Stella, and also Bradley Cooper. It manages to stick the comedy triple-flip landing of making fun of its topic (summer camp), its meta-topic (earlier movies about summer camp), and itself. And, despite a lot of the projects that have followed it in the Wet Hot franchise, all of its bizarre humor still kind of works. So hop in the van, pop open a can of mixed vegetables, and relive your awkward school days (and your equally awkward trying-to-introduce-new-friends-to-your-sense-of-humor days) with REWIND and Wet Hot American Summer.