Tusk

Tusk nc.jpg

Release Date
November 4, 2020
Running Time
23:34
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(The Channel Awesome logo and a rather unique version of the 2020 Nostalgia-Ween title sequence play.)

NC: (singing the theme) There's a Hollywood flick, and a weary critic. It's a Nostalgia-Ween. Uh, here we go again! And here's this cartoon. They’re running into a car. The car goes and shoots ghosts. Nostalgia-Ween! These people did stuff.

(NC appears in a rather unique attire. Half of his suit jacket is normal, and the other half is Nostalgiaween-themed.)

NC: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. I'm doing something a little different this week. You see last week, I asked if people wanted me to do another Nostalgiaween episode even though it would be in November. Some people said yes, some people said no, so I'm... Doing something in between. This is... Kinda-ween! So naturally, I had to think of a movie that was kind of a horror film, kinda not; kind of a comedy, but not always funny; kind of good, kind of bad, and maybe both were intentional.

(Clip from The Big Lebowski plays)

Donny: I am the walrus.

NC: That's putting it lightly.

NC (vo): Released in 2014, Tusk's director, Kevin Smith was usually known for directing Gen X comedies and touring the world as he was in high demand for, well, just being Kevin Smith. This is one of those guys where his personality may overshadow his film career because he is so engaging and entertaining to listen to. Talking geek stuff, hockey, and yes, scientific experiments between man and walrus! The idea started out as a joke on his podcast and they liked it so much they asked if people would actually like to see a movie based on this crazy ass premise. Fans overwhelmingly said yes while the box office overwhelmingly said no. But Tusk is getting a little bit of a following and truth be told, it's not surprising. Practically a satire of exploitive mad sadist films like Human Centipede or the Saw movies, Tusk gets its biggest scares and laughs by surprisingly taking it so seriously. It's not like Jack Frost or Zombieland where the comedy comes from laughing at the genre. The comedy comes from making another one of those films in the same style, just with a ridiculous outcome. The more legit it seemed the more creepy and hilarious it was. ...for half of it, but you know, we'll get to that when we get to that.

NC: So it only figures to wrap up whatever this is with whatever this is. This is the unique combination that is Tusk.

NC (vo): Ah, A24. When Blumhouse says that shit's too crazy even for us.

(Sentence from Tusk's Wikipedia page is shown explaining how Blumhouse was originally going to produce the film.)

NC: Oh, that's really the story. How about that.

(Text that reads "Based on Actual Events" is shown)

NC: That invites no follow-up questions...

NC (vo): We open with a podcast being run by Wallace, played by Justin Long, and Teddy, played by The Mesmerizer...

NC: Sorry, I'm finally starting The Boys...

NC (vo): ...Who're hosting a podcast called the... (zooms in on the title of the podcast called the "Not-See Party", clearly a play on words of Nazi Party) Oh... You're just waving that red cape to get this demonetized aren't you?

Teddy Craft (Haley Joel Osment): This video is the greatest thing that ever happened to me.

Wallace Bryton (Justin Long): You see how many hits he has? It's up to like 30 something million.

NC (vo): They watch Josh Gad's audition for the Mulan reboot when something goes horribly wrong: Someone outsourced Neil Breen to do blood effects. Yeah, trust me when I say this is not a representation of the other effects in this film; they're actually quite good. It's just this one that for some reason looks like...

NC: ...One of my effects. (demonstrates the quality of his special effects) ...as a phone app.

NC (vo): This video apparently has over 30 million hits… Again, clearly not on YouTube. ...and Wallace is excited to be flying out to Canada to interview the kid mainly to make fun of him some more.

Boarder agent (Harley Morenstein): A man torn betwixt devils and kings.

Wallace: Oh! Hockey.

Boarder agent: You're damn right, hockey.

NC: A Kevin Smith film in Canada. I too am shocked there's talk of hockey.

Boarder agent: A Canadian doesn't get sad. Sadness was made by the USA.

NC (vo): The scene is pretty funny actually. This guy is like the Canadian version of the gas station clerk who warns you about the horrors you're about to encounter. Just you know in a Canadian way.

Boarder agent: We're not nice, we're optimistic.

Wallace: Right.

Boarder agent: And we're hung like moose.

NC: Here's your whistle and we'll get you on your way.

NC (vo): Wallace gets to the kid's house only to discover he's attending his funeral. I don't know what's darker: the fact that this poor kid killed himself or that it's such a small gathering of people. Either way it's impressively mean-spirited.

Wallace: ...fucking killed himself! You believe that shit? Shouldn't hold up for two more days, selfish little peg big piece of shit.

NC: Even if I didn't know the plot of this movie, I'd insist someone turn him into a marine mammal.

NC (vo): He sees an ad of sorts in the bathroom for someone to come to an old man's house and listen to some of his stories. It's so bizarre Wallace has to check it out after popping into the Canadian quick stop.

Wallace: How far is Bifrost from here?

Colleen McKenzie (Harley Quinn Smith): (in Canadian accent) It's about two hours from here.

Wallace: The kids here at the convenience store tell me that it's aboot two hours away.

Colleen M: I hate American guys.

NC: Oh yeah? Well we... Secretly wish we were Canadian- Yeah, we do need to update our jokes on you...

NC (vo): Wallace makes his way to the old man's house which the music confuses for an action sequence.

(intense music plays as Wallace makes his way to the front door)

NC (vo): Will he stay on the driveway and not walk over the lawn? Oh that's my fast five moment!!

(Cut to Wallace in the living room with Howard Howe, played by Michael Parks)

NC (vo): The old man is named Howard Howe, and yes that is the least strange thing about him, who's played by Michael Parks very clearly having the time of his life.

Howard: My grandma Lindsay used to tell us, "You needn't go very far to find hell in a handbasket."

NC (vo): (as Howard) Your mustache looks very walrusy. Are there other ironic traits that connect you to the flippered specimen? (as Wallace) Well, my name is Wallace. (as Howard) oh you'll do...

Howard: That's the baculum of a walrus.

Wallace: That's a walrus dick?

Howard: I'm a dirty boy, aren’t I?

NC (vo): Howard tells Wallace, big surprise, a lot of strange things. One of which being years ago, he was shipwrecked with a walrus who saved his life.

Howard: I watched the ship disappear in minutes, but I thought I was alone until something very swift and frightening moved by me.

NC (vo): I'm not gonna lie, this acting as well as writing is so good you don't even need to show flashbacks. You are hanging on his every word every minute.

Wallace: Cute.

Howard: Cute is for Chinese babies, Mr. Bryton. But my walrus companion was beautiful.

NC (vo): The way these two work off each other is also perfect. Park's quiet and creepy demeanor perfectly offsets long's loud and attention-hungry attitude.

Wallace: Holy shit. Did you find him?

Howard: No, no. We only found death off the Chelsea Peninsula.

NC (vo): It'd be so easy for Long to come across as too annoying or Parks too over-the-top, but they find the perfect balance of both suspenseful and hilarious.

Howard: Well, always do sober what you do drunk. That'll teach you to keep your mouth shut.

Wallace: Hemingway said that.

Howard: He said it to me.

NC (vo): I could see a stage play of just these two talking it's that engaging.

(Wallace starts to lose consciousness)

NC (vo): Yeah, horror movie tip number one: Never drink... Anything.

(Wallace impressively collapses)

NC: Jesus, I believe he actually drugged himself that fall was so good!

NC (vo): We flashback to his girlfriend Ally, played by Genesis Rodriguez, who was going down on him before he left. If this is what you dream about after talking to this guy your search history's going to become a Netflix documentary.

Ally: Holy shit, your eyes are brown.

Wallace: I know, I know, I'm full of shit. I'm bad, so spank me. Spank me right there.

Ally: Nope.

Wallace: What?

Ally: Not gotta do it.

NC: Are they trying to recreate having sex while your...

NC (vo): (zooms in on a dog poster in the background) ...dog is watching? Cause that's all I can focus on in this shot?

Ally: Making fun of this kid on the podcast is one thing...

NC (vo): Right? (arrow points at the same dog poster) Right?? You are too, right?!?

Wallace: Old Wallace was a fucking loser.

Ally: Old Wallace had me.

NC (vo): This isn't a bad scene as they legit have really good chemistry, but I originally was thinking it could have been cut down a bit as it didn't need to go on so long. I soon discovered this was like saying 2019 was an annoying year having (cut to a later clip of Guy Lapointe, played by Johnny Depp) no idea what was right around the corner!

Howard: Well! Look who's back.

NC (vo): Wallace wakes up with Howard telling him that the doctor took a look and said he passed out from a spider bite on his leg.

Wallace: Where's my phone?

Howard: Well, I'm afraid the doctor stepped on it and broke it. I'm afraid of lies in pieces.

NC: I'm thinking they got this guy because...

NC (vo): ...Gary Oldman demanded too much expensive makeup.

Wallace: Howard... I can't feel my legs...

NC (vo): He's told the doctor had to remove the leg to get rid of the poison, resulting in one of the best reactions in the film, which is saying a lot because there's quite a few of them in this flick.

Wallace: Oh my god…! Holy shit...! There's no leg there...!

NC: (snickers) His constant confusion to everything happening to him is odd, strangely believable, and so damn funny! Even Howard snickers at the absurdity of it.

Howard: Spider! (snickering) The spider bit you! Nature can be very red in tooth and claw.

Wallace: What??

NC (vo): (as Howard) It means kind of weak comeuppance tied to earlier scene, but you're selling it pretty good.

Howard: I am... Truly sorry for your loss.

NC (vo): At supper he discovers he can't move his arms as he starts to put together... "There was no spider, was there?"

Wallace: There was no spider, was there?

Howard: (singing) The Itsy, Bitsy Spider crawled up the water spout.

NC (vo): I'll take reasons I don't want to go to Canada for a thousand, Alex.

Wallace: Let me out of this chair, you fucking psycho!

NC (vo): (as Howard) (in German accent) Mein fuhrer! I can walk!

Howard: I've been constructing a very realistic... walrus suit.

NC: (as Howard) Will you tusk me? I tusk me.

Howard: Is man... indeed... a walrus... at heart?

NC: This movie really does ask the tough questions.

(commercial)

NC (vo): So from what I've shown so far you probably get an idea of the tone of the film. It's twisted and strange and treated 90% like a dramatic horror flick, which makes the humor all the more funny yet the fear all the more suspenseful. It's a very tricky but surprisingly well-handled balance.

NC: But there's kind of another film going on at the same time.

NC (vo): It starts with ally giving this overly dramatic monologue about how Wallace is an awful boyfriend.

Ally: 'Til I remember what he does to me with all those empty women.

NC (vo): This isn't like the other dramatic scenes where you know it's building up to something humorous. It's just a woman talking about how her relationship sucks. A woman we saw briefly for four minutes and now she's given this Anne Hathaway les mis moment.

Ally: And I hate him. I hate him...

NC (vo): It's incredibly out of nowhere and doesn't really connect to much.

NC: And yeah. Guess who this is?

NC (vo): Well there's only two other characters in the damn film but let's hold off five minutes before we give the big reveal.

(The shadow walks to the bathroom)

NC (vo): That's right! It was the one legged kid--! No, of course it's teddy.

NC: This was actually so obvious I thought maybe they were building up a fake out.

NC (vo): Like even though that hand is very clearly Haley Joel Osment, it's revealed that Howard was having the affair! What a twist that would be; no one would see it coming! It would instantly make this story more fascinating. And it'd just be freaking hilarious! But nope, it's just teddy, it amounts to pretty much nothing and honestly the biggest surprise is why the hell Howard left Wallace's phone out in the open for him to call for help.

Wallace: Ally, you got to help me. I swear to God I'm not joking.

NC (vo): Ally doesn't answer so he calls 911-- Or the guy cheating with his woman. That- that makes sense.

Wallace: Teddy, it's me! I swear to God this is no fucking joke.

NC (vo): Howard knocks him out and the next morning, they finally get the messages.

Ally: He's in trouble. Oh my god, he called you too!

NC: (as Ally) He left a third message; it just says "Arf! Arf! Arf! Arf! Arf! Arf!"

NC (vo): The two set out to find him while Howard continues his operation.

Howard: Man is a savage animal, Mr. Bryton. Better to be a walrus.

NC: Okay, Michael. I'm gonna track out after you sewed this man's limbs to flippers and you say in all seriousness, "It's better to be a walrus."

NC (vo): (as Michael) This is the best day of my life.

NC: I know I chose you for a good reason!

NC (vo): Howard completes the operation and honestly, after that leg effect, I thought maybe they weren't gonna show the transformation like perhaps they leave it in the shadow or it's left up to your imagination. But Jesus Christ!!

(Wallace, now a walrus, is seen constantly screaming)

NC: (spaces out in enlightenment, then comes back into focus) I'm sorry. I achieve enlightenment every time I see that.

NC (vo): That is one of the greatest movie monster designs of all time. I will fight you to the death on this! If you were tasked to create a man surgically transformed into a walrus, you cannot, cannot do better than this! It's hysterical, it's disturbing, it's hard to look at yet you can't possibly turn away. It's one of the most imaginative creatures made in horror history! Sometimes the suit folds in on itself when I don't think it's supposed to, but the makeup surprisingly allows him to be so expressive it doesn't take away a thing. What makes it even better is he can't talk, only make barking screams which again, is really uncomfortable but also a laugh riot!

(Wallace still screaming)

NC (vo): I especially like when he's dragged into the water and you suddenly put together who those other people who took the numbers from the ad were...

(Wallace sees various skeletons of people that shared the same fate as him)

NC: I don't use the word "magnificent" that much. But I can think of no other word to...

NC (vo): ...describe this flea market of misery! It truly is magnificent!!

NC: But then you know we have... the other movie.

NC (vo): Ally and Teddy talk to a Canadian cop for a bit and... It ends. Then they talk to a "Oh wow, I'm supposed to say I totally didn't recognize him." performance from Johnny Depp. ...it doesn't end.

Guy Lapointe: Guy Lapointe. That is my name. Guy Lapointe. And I spent 20 years as the inspector of the Surete du Quebec.

NC (vo): No joke, this conversation with this guy named... Guy. Again, gotta love the names in this. ...goes on for 15 minutes. 15 minutes!

Guy: And they bet for the last 10 years of my life I have been hunting an animal... ...sanity all in the pursuit of this... ...goddamn Gimli Slider. And that in my opinion is the only failure of the mighty people of Quebec.

(as Guy keeps talking, text that reads "15 minutes" fades in)

NC (vo): There is literally a man being turned into half a Woody Woodpecker cartoon and we are being held hostage by this scene.

Guy: He butchers them, amputates limbs, uh cuts out tongues...

NC (vo; as Johnny Depp): (A picture of one of the convenience store clerks, Colleen Collette, played by Lily-Rose Depp, is shown) My daughter better write one hell of a nice memoir about me.

Teddy: Maybe we should be talking to someone else.

Guy: I- I think that that's a very good idea for you to go and talk to someone else, Mr. Big Bear Riding a Bulldozer.

NC: Two people at this table were nominated for Oscars!

NC (vo): You can just see Haley joe Osment sitting there like "I see dead careers."

Guy: I met the son of a bitch...

NC (vo): Yay, we at least cut to a different location!

Howard: Did you come here by the spider?

Guy: You have some sort of creepy crawler thing.

NC (vo): Oh, we're stuck with these two voices for a bit. What a reward.

Guy: I- I have to regret uh regretfully inform you that I'm not the man.

Howard: You're not going to shoot the spider?

NC (vo): I feel like we're in a bad SNL sketch. You know how the other scenes felt like Kevin Smith imitating Quentin Tarantino? This feels like Adam Sandler imitating Quentin Tarantino.

Howard: Yeah he is a big old...

(Guy and Howard continue talking over each other as it fades to a clip from Raiders of the Lost Ark where one of the villains is getting their face melted by the ark)

NC: It's to a point where I'm legit wondering if smith is trolling us.

NC (vo): Could that be the idea? Like there's a man being turned into a walrus yet we're going to spend as much time as possible doing Borat 3 for absolutely no reason?

NC: I don't know, but either way, is it possible to volunteer to actually be turned into a walrus rather than...

NC (vo): ...watch the rest of the scene?

Guy: Oh, do you coach? You coach the hockey bikes?

Howard: No, no, I'm not the coach. No, no. I'm just a coach.

NC (vo): Meanwhile, these two could read out the phone book and I swear it was H.P. Lovecraft.

Howard: You must be terribly hungry by now.

NC (vo): I'm actually more interested in how they show him eat that fish than anything in the B plot. So naturally, let's cut back to the B plot.

Teddy: Where do we go first?

Guy: Now, where? Where is for the wolf. We look for the which, as in which one of you knows...

NC: I really can't wait till you're cool again...

Guy: So the spread of paper that he borrows. I would like for you to give it to me please.

Colleen M: Give him the pad.

Colleen C: You give him the pad.

Colleen M: Give him the pad!

Colleen C: One of you must give me...

NC: Oh my god.

NC (vo): They're hunting Howard and they get his address at the convenience store.

NC: (channeling Oprah Winfrey as a crowd cheers) You get five minutes back! You get five minutes back! Everyone gets five minutes back!!

Howard: There. Isn't this soothing to the soul?

(Wallace rolls his eyes)

NC: You see? You have the balls to...

NC (vo): ...cut away from this to show us...

NC: ...end credit...

NC (vo): ...bloopers that forgot the end credits...

NC: ...and bloopers.

NC (vo): Howard reveals he had to eat his walrus friend when he was stranded, either that or this is the most fascinating cut scene from Castaway, and he's doing all this to recreate the friendship they had.

Howard: Because I have hardened you just to show you...

NC (vo): I like how in movies the victim spends most of his or her time crying, but her,e he's gotten so used to it he just rolls his eyes.

NC: I honestly wouldn't be shocked if that was his reaction after they called cut.

Teddy: I don't want one.

Guy: You don't you want the gun?

Teddy: You take it.

Guy: What kind of American are you?

NC: My god, a funny joke from him! Make a wish!

NC (vo): Howard dresses up like a walrus himself, I guess I really shouldn't be surprised at this point, and he demands that Wallace take him down killing what's left of his humanity and becoming the animal he is. He happily obliges.

(Wallace loses his mind as Teddy and Ally barge in)

NC (vo): (as either Teddy or Ally) Aha! Just as I expected!

(Wallace fully gave in to his walrus tendencies)

NC (vo): Seeing how he's become a full-on animal, Guy aims the gun at him... (cut to a little later in the film) doesn't shoot...

NC: Yeah, note to self: Erase from script.

NC (vo): ...And he's visited at an animal sanctuary by Ally and teddy resulting in a flashback.

Wallace: So I don't cry. I mean big deal. I'm also a lot older.

Ally: It's good to cry. It separates us from the animals.

NC: (as Ally) That and not being a walrus. Not being a walrus separates us from the animals too.

NC (vo): Wallace of course does shed a tear, showing there's still some humanity left in him, and the film ends. I'm not gonna lie, for Silent Bob directing a horror film about a guy being turned into a walrus...

NC: It's better than it has any right to be!

NC (vo): Don't get me wrong, there are scenes that are just painful usually one is trying to be a wacky comedy. I'm not sure if they were intentionally bad or not, but whenever it's a straight up horror film, that's when the real laughs come into play. It's not only funny, but it's legit unnerving in its own twisted goofy way. Had the whole film been like that, I think we could have had a gruesome horror comedy masterpiece unlike any other. But even with the bad moments, I'm sorry, how can I not recommend a film with this much madness in it! I think it goes without saying this film won't be for everyone, but trust me when I say it's worth watching to see if it is.

NC: And that was Nostalgiaween. …and a half. I hope you liked it this year, I had a lot of fun, but I think it's time to change back into some normal clothes.

(NC pulls out his "I Donut Donuts" T-shirt as the "After These Messages" intro starts to play. It quickly cuts to black)

Channel Awesome Tagline - Howard: (singing) The Itsy, Bitsy Spider crawled up the water spout.

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