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Wet Hot American Summer (It Came from the Bargain Bin!)


Welcome to this week’s installment of “It Came from the Bargain Bin!”

It is mid-Summer and I think that it is only right that we pay homage to those summer-camp movies that most of us watched and enjoyed when we were growing up. Movies like Meatballs, starring Bill Murray and Chris Makepeace (you know the kid “Rudy The Rabbit” that Bill Murray’s character “Tripper” took under his wing) and Little Darlings, starring Tatum O’Neal and Kristy McNichol as two teenage girls who have a bet on who will lose their virginity first at summer-camp. There are other summer- camp films of course but to me Meatballs and Little Darlings are timeless classics that bring you back to a time when many kids left for summer camp and arrived back home from camp a little wiser than before. This week’s selection from The Bin is actually a spoof of those summer-camp movies of the seventies and eighties so this particular comedy seemed like a must view for The Bargain Bin segment. This week’s pick from The Bargain Bin is the 2001 comedy Wet Hot American Summer!

Wet Hot American Summer

Wet Hot Summer









Director: David Wain
Written By: Michael Showalter and David Wain
Starring: Janeane Garofolo, David Hyde Pierce, and Michael Showalter
Reviewed By: Joe Sikes

It’s the last day of camp, August 18, 1981, there’s love in the air and hormones going out of control. Camp “Firewood” Director Beth (Janeane Garofolo) is having her morning coffee while watching the boy campers scramble back to their cabins fresh from an early morning kissing party in the girls’ quarters. Beth, for a second or two, shows mild concern for her campers’ blatant display of insubordination, that is until her attention is focused on new camp neighbor/astrophysics professor, Henry Newman (David Hyde Pierce). While the boys prepare for the day by torturing camp counselor Gerald Cooperburg or ‘Coop’ (Michael Showalter) by screaming the song “Juke Box Hero” and the girls are being dressed to impress the boys at the kickball game by camp counselor Katie (Marguerite Moreau) Beth decides to introduce herself to her new crush next door. After painfully awkward introductions and exchanging pleasantries Beth goes out on a limb and asks Professor Newman if he would like to teach the kids at “Camp Firewood” about space. The Professor loudly rejects Beth’s offer causing Beth to run away, visibly hurt. Professor Newman soon sees the error of his ways, heads over to the camp, and recruits a group of the less physically active campers to join his space group.








While love may be in bloom between Beth and The Professor, the counselors are forging new relationships as well: Katie, who is constantly belittled by her tough guy, super-jerk, jean suited boyfriend, Andy (Paul Rudd), is slowly gaining interest in ‘Coop’, who secretly digs her back. Victor (Ken Marino), who according to him, has “pollenated every berry bush” at the camp, all except for Abby Bernstein (Marissa Ryan) who Victor has targeted next. McKinley (Michael Ian Black) is in love with Ben (Bradley Cooper) who is producing the stage show musical “Godspell” for the Camp Firewood Talent Contest with his power hungry friend Susie (Amy Poehler) who is the director/choreographer of the show. Take all of the previously described relationship scenarios, add curiously psychotic Vietnam Vet, Gene (Christopher Merloni), a chunk of equipment from NASA’s Skylab racing towards the camp threatening to destroy everything and everyone at Camp Firewood, a  and an endless amount of, dare I say……..camp (I apologize for the horrible pun but it was practically unavoidable) and you have one “Wet Hot American Summer.”







There is no shortage of comedic star power in Wet Hot American Summer. If you were a fan of the MTV comedy sketch show The State that ran from 1993 to 1995 than you will recognize actors like Mike Showalter, Michael Ian Black, Ken Marino, and Joe Lo Truglio. Throw in Amy Poehler of Saturday Night Live fame, Bradley Cooper, and David Hyde Pierce and the cast alone can save a few jokes that don’t quite hit. But for every joke that may fall flat there’s at least a few scenes that make you laugh out loud. Wet Hot American Summer does take you back to the camp movies of your youth and it hits you in the head with some hilariously ridiculous camp comedy that hits more than it misses. I give Wet Hot American Summer 2 out of 3 disturbed camp counselors. See you next week with another pick from The Bin.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Adam August 6, 2013, 8:28 am

    Jojo I saw this for the first time last year and it certainly had me cracking up. Pretty sure I watched it streaming on Netflix if anyone else wants to check it out.

    • Joe August 11, 2013, 3:53 pm

      Hey Adam,
      This movie definitely has some laugh out loud moments and it is actually streaming on Netflix. Worth a watch for anyone who hasn’t seen it. Thanks for the post Adam and congrats on the softball championship.

  • AVM August 6, 2013, 9:13 am

    Great cast! Just loaded it on my Netflix Instant Queue! Thanks!

    • Joe August 11, 2013, 3:56 pm

      Hey AVM,
      Absolutely a great cast here. I don’t think you’ll regret checking this one out. Thanks for the post and have a great week.

  • 20SA - Mike August 6, 2013, 9:48 am

    This has become one of my favorite comedy movies in the past year or so. The “Going to town” scene is genius. Every time I watch it I find something new to laugh at. And Christopher Meloni’s character is so damn funny.

    Watch this movie if you haven’t!

    • Joe August 11, 2013, 4:01 pm

      Hey 20SA-Mike,
      I agree, the “Going to town” scene IS comedy movie genius. It’s just another scene that makes you want to watch this movie more than once. Christopher Meloni is great as the disgruntled Vietnam vet/cook. Thanks for the post and have a great week.

  • Evan Crean August 8, 2013, 4:14 am

    Wet Hot American Summer is a fun film that’s perfect for an afternoon on the couch whether the weather is actually warm or not. I always forget how quirky it is as a movie until I rewatch it. There’s an entertaining cast of characters played by talented actors and goofy hijinx to boot. My favorite person is Christopher Meloni’s fridge humping cook. For some strange reason Bradley Cooper refuses to comment about this movie in interviews. I think it’s tied to his love scene with Michael Ian Black.

    • Joe August 11, 2013, 4:08 pm

      Hey Evan,
      W.H.A.S. is definitely worth a watch no matter what the weather may be. From the cast to the campiness of this film you can’t go wrong if absolutely ridiculous comedies are up your alley. I don’t understand what Cooper’s deal is and if his refusal to comment is related to the love scene with Michael Ian Black than he’s a jackass. Thank you for your post and have a great week.

  • Shane August 8, 2013, 11:29 am

    This is a great film with a lot of great quotes, and hilarious scenes. Paul Rudd is great. It took a bit to grow on me, but now I love it.

    • Joe August 11, 2013, 4:11 pm

      Hey Shane,
      Wet Hot American Summer has a lot going for it from the cast to the writing. W.H.A.S. has all the ingredients for a cult film. If it isn’t a cult classic it should and probably will be and I agree, Paul Rudd is pretty damn funny in this. Thanks for the post and have a great week.

  • north face jacket outlet August 12, 2013, 8:21 pm

    Christopher Meloni is great as the disgruntled Vietnam vet/cook. Thanks for the post and have a great week.

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