FOR THE LOVE OF FILM: Idle Hands

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For The Love Of Film is a weekly column from film nerd and lover of all movies Justin Proper. Sometimes you need some help to figure out how to enjoy movies, and we are here to help! No longer will you need to fear movie night because your friends have no taste in film. With this column you will be able to love even the worst gems to ever grace the silver screen.

We have passed the halfway mark of the month of April and that means there is a counterculture (is that even still a thing?) holiday fast approaching. On the 20th of April the date will be 4/20, provided you do dates the same way as we do in the U.S., and that means that all the stoners of North America will collectively get off their couches long enough to group up and show some support for the green herb they love so much. I am not kidding, this happens every year and the scale of it always amazes me.

Shortly after this photo was taken a Funyuns truck was tipped and ransacked.

With such a large number of people identifying with the marijuana counterculture movement it would be silly to assume there would not be a genre of movies made specifically for stoners. There have been great stoner films over the years including Cheech & Chong’s Up In Smoke, Dazed And Confused, Half Baked, and Pineapple Express, but like any other genre of movie there will also be awful stoner films. When I was a kid (well before I even knew what pot was) I rented Idle Hands and I thought it was hilarious. Now that I am older (and more familiar with pot) I watched it again and discovered while it may not be the great movie I remember it is still worth watching, especially if you are stoned.

Who would have guessed he would go on to star in such classics as Final Destination, Slackers, and Extreme Ops?

Idle Hands is your run of the mill possessed hand that kills people movie. The difference from all the other ones (which I am sure you are remembering fondly) is that the person that owns the possessed hand happens to be a stoner kid named Anton. After he realizes that he is responsible for the murders happening around him his hand starts to get really out of control and kills his friends (played by Seth Green and Eldon Henson). Instead of going to heaven his friends come back as undead creatures because “…fuck it, I mean, it was really far!”

Clearly this was a better option than eternal happiness or whatever.

Anton decides to cut his hand off to save himself which leads to a possessed hand running (crawling?) around killing people at the high school Halloween dance. This has something to do with Jessica Alba who lives across the street and is sort of dating Anton. The plot is kind of hazy, as I imagine the creators were more concerned with taking care of their munchies than writing something that made a lot of sense. It does not matter, a logical plot is not why you watch horror movies, and especially not stoner horror comedies.

Smart money is on this being why most people saw Idle Hands.

If you are looking for a good scary movie with some laughs this is not it. That being said there are some great horror moments. While it is lacking in scares or surprises, Idle Hands does have a decent amount of gore. One of the main characters is a decapitated head and there is a severed hand causing all sorts of mayhem. It definitely earned it’s R rating before any dialogue or drug use. Even the lead singer for The Offspring manages to have his scalp ripped right off, revealing the genius brain that came up with “Self Esteem” and “The Kids Aren’t Alright”.

Now as far as comedy goes this film is going to be hit or miss. Most of the laughs come from zany physical comedy or stoner jokes. However, if that kind of humor is not your cup of tea you do not need to worry, Seth Green is there to make it all better. His character says some of the funniest things in the entire movie, including a line at the end that had me laughing so hard I almost threw up. Do I really even need to sell you on this? You know Seth Green is hilarious, quit acting like you are above his humor. Plus, he is dead throughout nearly the whole movie so you get some great zombie jokes too.

From goggles to bottles Seth Green’s headwear from the late 90’s never disappoints.

Idle Hands definitely does not get the recognition it deserves. It may live on as a “cult” movie, but as far as comedy/horror goes it is near the top. Everyone remembers the last few Scary Movie entries (which I wrote about last week) but not enough people remember Idle Hands. Make sure you celebrate 4/20 right and give this movie a play sometime this weekend. Have fun kids, and remember, no one dies from too much weed.

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