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Scarecrow on Seattle: THE OUTDOORSMEN: BLOOD, SWEAT AND BEERS

In appreciation and recognition of Seattle's long and illustrious film history, we are proud to partner with the Seattle Office of Film + Music to bring you reviews of movies made in the Pacific Northwest with an emphasis on how these films showcase the region's many filmable locations.

The Outdoorsmen: Blood, Sweat, and Beers (2005)

With the 2012 Olympics rolling along over in England, let us not forget about a home grown sporting competition, albeit one that features ten beer-soaked participants who freely admit they are "not great athletes." Originally started by some guys who graduated from the same Everett high school, the annual event was in its fourteenth year when this 2005 documentary was made. Looked at as a break from the 9 to 5 world, the tournament is an escape into "Mother Nature's playground" coupled with heavy doses of testosterone, bacon, and-the great equalizer-beer. Needless to say, there is an abundance of cussing and smoking with some minor injuries and quite a bit of puking. The competition takes place in the beautiful Cascade foothills just a couple hours east of Everett and consists of 15 challenges with numerous timed "bonus beers" and the occasional "recreational beer." Objects are tossed (rocks, eggs, tires, hatchets), some things are carried (logs, other dudes, etc.) and cases of Budweiser are consumed. Notable trials include Death Race 3000 (which involves a run through a chilly creek with several beers to guzzle along the way), an obstacle course, a tug-of-war, and (my favorite) Blind Man's Beer, where blindfolded competitors crawl on the ground feeling around for beer cans which they then have to chug. Though some time is devoted to the gentlemen's individual backgrounds, most of the film is dedicated to the sudsy shenanigans. The Outdoorsmen occasionally touches on some deeper thoughts like what it means to be a man and why somebody would want to engage in such a crazy activity but, for the most part, the film is good for some laughs and offers up a unique look at offbeat sports competitors.

The majority of the movie's running time takes place around the campsite and the surrounding forest. As usual, the Pacific Northwest woods are a beauty to behold, even with a bunch of drunken guys stumbling around barfing and chucking rocks. Early on, as we meet the participants, we are shown their home and work lives. A couple of the guys chat as they stroll along the Everett waterfront and they eventually go for a boat ride in Possession Sound. The competition's founder works at a local casino and favorably compares Everett to Las Vegas. They all seem to be fairly responsible family men who condense a year's worth of partying into one over-the-top concentration of binge drinking and physical self-abuse. As one of the participants delicately puts it, this is "one weekend in your life that you dedicate to balls out s**t."

-Spenser Hoyt

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