If Strange Brew wasn't based, loosely, on Hamlet then I'll eat my shorts (eh?) Here's what we've got:
  • "Elsinore" Brewery--Founded and owned by John Elsinore who is killed, via electrocution, by his brother "Claude" Elsinore. Claude then quickly marries John's wife--taking 49% of the brewery with the marriage. John is clearly Hamlet's "ghost" of the King (who, incidentally, tells his secrets via a "Galactic Border Patrol" arcade game in the snackroom instead of appearing in ghostly form to the watch) while "Claude" is our Claudius--uncle to Hamlet and usurper of the throne. Mrs. Gertude Elsinore--a small part in Strange Brew--fulfills the role of Gertude, our Queen.
  • John's daughter, Pamela, inherits 51% control of the brewery--here we have our Hamlet.
  • The resident hockey player (this is Canada, remember) is "Jean LaRose" (Rosey) who would seem to be our "sometimes sister" friend "Ophelia". He plays Pamela's love interest and even has a "drowning" scene. He doesn't die, however, as this is a comedy--not a tragedy.
  • Henry Green, the original brewmeister (the "well meaning but helpless" one), would seem to be our word-burdened advisor Polonius.
  • Brewmeister Smith, the evil genius behind Claudius, is a bit of a stumper--we don't see his like in Hamlet. He could represent (and this is a stretch) Claudius' darker side--the side with no regret--but more likely the creative process up in The Great White North sort of fell apart at this point. To make it fit the mold we'll have to say Smith is Laertes. He's evil, for sure, but not manipulated like Laertes would seem to have been.
  • Bob and Doug McKenzie--our hosts and unwitting narrators are history's own Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Similar to the Shakespeare characters they wander the "castle" unawares of all that goes on around them. (For another adventure of these two please read or see the film Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead--a play by Tom Stoppard)
A side note: Mel Blanc supplied the voice-over for Mr. McKenzie (Bob and Doug's father). What does Mr. McKenzie appear to do all day? Watch WB cartoons and drink beer, hoser!!

Of course, it's the language that a "film" brings us that keeps it lingering...Strange Brew brought us almost as many catch-lines and cliche' as Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead;

      "Lawyers are for sucks."

      "The power of the force has stopped you, you hosers!"

      "He saw Jedi seventeen times, eh..."

      "Take off, eh?!"

      "If I didn't have puke breath, I'd kiss you."

      "Let me try, I'm a genius."

      "It's my last one...it's a jelly"

Now, who can tell me how My Own Private Idaho (1991, directed by Gus Van Sant) is actually a retelling of Shakespeare's King Henry V???