Detroiters, Lost in Summerland, and The Puck Hogs

Sam and Tim stand next to each other in Detroiters

Welcome to What’s the Buzz, where members of our staff provide you with recommendations on a weekly basis. This week, Hawk Ripjaw revisits Comedy Central’s Detroiters, and Paul Keelan recommends The Puck Hogs and Barrett Swanson’s Lost in Summerland.

The Puck Hogs

Paul: I would have probably never given The Puck Hogs a shot if it weren’t for the fact that I also host Cinematic Underdogs, a sports movie podcast. The poster alone looks a few decades dated, and not in a postmodern or witty way. That said, I was consistently surprised by how often the hit-or-miss humor of this mockumentary actually worked. Written by Eric Lunksy, directed by Warren P. Sonoda (Cooper’s Camera, episodes of Trailer Park Boys), and filled with a cast of actors you have probably never heard of, this is a film tucked away far up in the bleacher section.

To make a sweeping recommendation of The Puck Hogs would do a disservice to the film and your chances of liking it. More than anything, it is best approached with modest expectations. Tracking an atrociously bad recreational hockey team during a weekend tournament, the film wisely keeps its scope focused and confined. Obviously influenced by Christopher Guest’s excellent oeuvre of spoof documentaries (This Is Spinal Tap, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind), I found myself comparing its small-budget scrappiness to Andrew Bujalski’s brilliant mumblecore classic Computer Chess and its deadpan (sometimes dry, sometimes ribald, sometimes goofy) brand of comedy to The Office.

Please take these lofty comparisons with a grain of salt. The Puck Hogs is admittedly amateurish, but lovably so. For those willing to forgive its flaws, it can be good fun if you adopt its silly, absurdist mindset. Its eclectic ensemble is raft with stereotypes, but the screenplay offers enough quirk, subtle sarcasm, and witty ribaldry to elevate the characters’ comedic value and credibility. From the milquetoast Eddy Monday (the bane of the team who can barely skate) to the youngblood Terry Binder (a fresh-faced star eager for debauchery despite his coddling mother shadowing him everywhere) to Jeremy Jeffy (the captain who finds himself constantly cuckolded by the same guy), the idiosyncratic personalities offer more than a few chuckles.

Perhaps the funniest bit entails two boorish brothers on the team. Both auto mechanics, they decide to self-publish hilariously albeit accidentally inappropriate children’s books (filled with riotously uncouth innuendos) on the side. Another winning gag involves a smelly hockey bag and dead animals. I managed to catch it on Amazon Prime. Now it is playing on Tubi.  You will have to search it up, I’m sure. But if you are craving a giggle, you could do worse.

Written by TV Obsessive

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