Ever since Milwaukee Record‘s movie screenings at Avalon Theater became a recurring event back in 2018, the fine folks at Lakefront Brewery have partnered with us to help bring you a different classic comedy each and every month. The brewery’s involvement with the series is largely thanks to Mitch DeSantis. The Lakefront Brewery regional sales representative is a huge film buff who has an impressive knowledge of obscure comedies.
Earlier this month, Lakefront released My Turn: DeSantis, the latest installment in the brewery’s “My Turn” series and—as you could probably guess—a limited-run beer that Mitch helped develop and brew. Since it was Mitch’s turn to make a beer, we figured it should also be his turn to select a film for us to screen. His pick? Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. With the special screening of this amazing and incredibly underrated 2007 movie coming up Wednesday, January 22 at Avalon Theater, we asked Mr. DeSantis to give us a few reasons why you should watch Walk Hard with us. Here’s what he had to say.
The year 2007 was an interesting one. For example, did you know that on July 21 of that year, Dick Cheney served as acting President for two and a half hours while George W. Bush underwent a colonoscopy? I didn’t! I was too busy picking out what band’s T-shirt would go with my rad puka shell necklace. (Hint: it was Red Hot Chili Peppers.)
When I wasn’t putting that Hot Topic classic on display, I was sporting a deep purple paisley clip-on bow tie and a matching cummerbund. Such a look was essential to a show choir or a teenage dream job at Marcus Theater’s Cedar Creek Cinema. Yep, I never did a whole lot of tap dancing, but I sure did eat enough counter popcorn, Mountain Dew slushies, and—if I was really lucky—a roller hot dog that was left out long enough to reach the point of having no “resale-ability.” Those were the best of times, those were the worst of times. I gained 30 pounds that year, but I also saw a lot of movies in the process. My favorite of that cinematic cavalcade by far was Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.
These days, I have a pretty sweet gig at Lakefront Brewery where, in short, I sell beer and help promote it all around the greater Milwaukee area. I’ve been fortunate these past few years to have been able to partner with the Avalon Theater and this wonderful publication you’re reading right now. To start of our season in 2020, we hearkened back to 2007 for one of the films that has defined me most. Here are the top five reasons to join us for Walk Hard on Wednesday.
5. The musician and comedian cameos
Apart from John C. Reilly, we get star-studded chuckles from the likes of SNL alums Tim Meadows, Kristen Wiig, and Chris Parnell. Joining them are folks you might recognize from The Office, such as Jenna Fischer, Craig Robinson, and Ed Helms. Need more? Okay, well, there’s the late genius Harold Ramis, Upright Citizens Brigade co-founding father Matt Besser, and you’re sure to recognize the people playing The Beatles. I’m partial to Jack Black as Paul McCartney. In terms of musician cameos, we got Lyle Lovett, Eddie Vedder, Jackson Browne, Jewel, Ghostface Killah, and of course, Jack White as Elvis Presley.
4. The music in this movie is genuinely great
Look, it’s a musical. But unlike most musicals, this one has frequent drug use and coarse language (“You don’t want no part of this shit!”). You may know Reilly from Talladega Nights or as Channel 5’s special news correspondent Dr. Steve Brule, but make no mistake, Reilly has a fantastic set of vocal pipes. He was in Chicago, after all.
3. Walk Hard was directed by Jake Kasdan
The son of Lawrence Kasdan?! Yes, he’s the offspring of the guy who wrote The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders Of The Lost Ark. That’s got to mean something, right? Come on, take a friend by the hand—you know who else has hands? The devil, and he uses them for holding—and head on over to the Avalon for this Judd Apatow-written and Kasdan-directed comic masterpiece.
2. It’s a perfect satire of the rock star biopic genre
Though Walk Hard is most often considered to be a satire of such contemporaries as Johnny Cash biopic Walk The Line and Ray Charles biopic, Ray, this film is actully a satire of the genre as a whole. This rings true today, with recent releases like Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman. In the same way Blazing Saddles did to the classic westerns of yesteryear, Walk Hard kicks the genre squarely and hilariously in the groin.
1. Who wouldn’t want to laugh with their community and enjoy an adult beverage in the process?
I used to have to kick people out of the theater for boozing. These days, the sippin’ is not only welcome, it’s legal. Avalon Theater also has an extensive food menu, and why not try this month’s featured beer from Lakefront Brewery, My Turn” DeSantis. At 8 percent ABV, the Italian Grape Ale is moderately sweet, yet pleasantly dry. It manages to bring beer-forward flavors of clover honey as well as fresh biscuits together with wine-like notes of white grapes and nectarine. Though I do have to apologize for the shameless self-promotion, I do reckon the libation could help you work up the courage to sing along to “Let’s Duet.”
Whether you still quote this movie every week like I do or have never seen it before. I promise you will have a good time. Laughter is always more contagious in a packed theater. Hope to see you there!