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305 (DVD)

By Georgia Menides | November 17, 2008

You have a choice.

The choice that lies before you could help someone, or maybe several people, or maybe even yourself in the future. But it isn’t an easy choice. Maybe you’re scared, lazy, or just not in the mood. Physically or mentally, you aren’t sure you’re up for it. Maybe you’ve even tried something similar in the past and totally screwed it up. The easiest thing would be to just back away. But then something inside you says “F**k it! I’m just going to try this and see what happens.”

This is heroism. That voice that says, “What the hell, let’s give this a shot.” is coming from the hero we all have inside of us. It’s a beautiful part of being human, this altruistic call that comes out of hiding every once in a while, forcing us to be better people. Even if the choice is just helping a stranger jump their battery in a parking lot, everyone has their heroic moments. You don’t need to be tall, strong, or even smart to find your inner hero. You just need to be human.

Unlikely heroism is the theme of The Holechek Brothers’ “305,” a story of five total buffoons in the Spartan Army, who, against all odds and expectations, try to save Sparta from a Persian invasion. The heroism in these characters, despite their total douche-bag-ery, is what drives this film and makes it such a pleasure to watch.

These five guys are the laughing stock of the entire Spartan army… with good reason. Their leader, Claudius, is a fat beer guzzling space cadet who loses all will power at the slightest mention of junk food. Darryl is simply not smart. He is the kind of guy who thinks it’s wise to ditch his weapons because they are heavy and slowing him down. Demetrius the blind is… well… blind. In battle, he usually ends up accidentally attacking one of his friends. He is emotionally naked without Zeus, his Seeing Eye dog who mysteriously disappears one day. Shazaam is more interested in his make up and jewelry than in fighting. And Testicleese is an unmotivated drunk with a bad attitude and, despite the name, no testicles. Who wouldn’t want these guys to succeed?

The films opens around 450 BC in a goat path, miles away from the real battle the rest of the Spartans are fighting. A camera crew is documenting the tension between Sparta and Persia, and has decided to focus their piece on Claudius and his gang, soliciting interviews and confessionals as the story plays out.

Why there’s a camera crew in 450 BC is never explained, but it doesn’t really matter. Amidst the primitive setting, The Holechek Brothers’ depiction of ancient Sparta is full of modern conventions, such as pizza, sundaes, telephones, a printing press, and hemorrhoid cream to name a few But this juxtaposition between ancient and modern is so funny you don’t question. You just go with it. In fact, the primary reason “305” is so freakin hilarious is this juxtaposition. Like after a dark and threatening shot of the bleak Spartan landscape, the gang b*****s about the lack of pop tarts in their packs. Or a sinister scan of the Persian prison cuts to the leader giving a slide show presentation to his army titled “how to kill a Spartan.”

Claudius and his gang have been assigned to guard the goat path. Although insulted, they understand that they are not fit for real battle. But when they successfully ward off a small band of stray Persians, they are inspired to leave their post and join the real fight. Unfortunately, the goat path is also an alternative entrance to the city. The Persians sneak through and kill thousands of Greeks when the path is abandoned. Our heroes are devastated, humiliated, and shamed into hiding… even from the camera crew.

But 2 years later the camera crew finally discovers the whereabouts of all five men. Claudius has opened a restaurant and Shazaam works under him. Darryl is touring with his new book. Demetrius the blind is playing piano in a bar where Testicleese hangs out, drinking 24-7. In the bar, we meet Aurilla, an idealistic and drop dead gorgeous childhood friend who has tracked Testicleese down. She begs her man to get off his a*s, seek the oracle, discover his destiny, and become the hero he was meant to be, but Testiclees is not in the mood.

But when the Persian army captures Claudius, takes him prisoner, and tortures him into revealing “the key to Sparta,” suddenly it’s up to these four to save their leader and the future of their city.

The losers’ journey from utter failure to bravery became a YouTube sensation. According to the DVD, it generated over 4 million fans. It is easy to see why. Everything about this movie is funny. The sets are funny. The effects are funny. The costumes are funny. The characters are funny. The gags are funny. Hell, even the Persian army is funny. Despite a somewhat predictable outcome, surprises come at every turn. They get weirder and weirder, and you never know what you are going to get hit with next.

If you watched “300” (like the friend I watched “305” with) and liked it, you have to see this movie. If you watched “300” and hated it, you have to see this movie. Even if you (like myself) never saw “300” because you avoid most action films, you have to see this movie.

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