Thursday, February 10, 2011

So Bad It's Good

Last week, I was dying to veg out and watch a "so bad it's good" classic -- The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension . If you are not familiar with this gem, please allow me to illuminate you. Made in 1984, this film stars Peter Weller as a neurosurgeon/ particle physicist named Buckaroo Banzai, who along with his scientist rock band the Hong Kong Cavaliers, save the world from aliens.

After changing the world of science by passing through solid rock unharmed, Buckaroo ignites an alien uprising and gains the ability to see the aliens in their true forms. To the average human eye, the bad aliens take on the appearance of creepy characters like John Lithgow, Dan Hedaya, and Vincent Schiavelli, aka the subway ghost from Ghost. The good aliens, who aim to help Buckaroo, take the form of Rastafarians. All the aliens have the same "lets be human" name: John, with last names ranging from Parker to Smallberries. Christopher Lloyd is particularly good as the evil John Bigboote (pronounced big-booty). Did I mention that this all takes place in my beloved motherland, New Jersey? Need I say more? No, but I will.

Equally as awesome as the plot of Buckaroo Banzai are the characters. Key members of Buckaroo's squad/rock band are his number two man, tough guy Rawhide, Jeff Goldblum as a cowboy called New Jersey (Why? I truly have no idea), and Billy Idol look alike Perfect Tommy, who indeed does seem perfect. Early in the movie, Buckaroo finds his love interest, played by Ellen Barkin. When they meet at his concert, she is crying in the crowd and he consoles her with the wise words, "remember, no matter where you go, there you are." Her name is Penny Priddy (yeah, sounds like Penny Pretty) and she is a bi-polar near idiot, who seems only to get in trouble. But she turns out to be Buckaroo's dead wife's long-lost twin sister. It really is a small world (with aliens).

Without doubt the best part of the movie is the end credit scene. Buckaroo is walking through some random large open space (I would describe it more, but I don't actually know what it is). As he walks, other characters, including those who'd died, join him. They basically walk and dance as the group grows and the characters magically change outfits. It's strangely heartwarming and the perfect ending to a ridiculous movie.

So, it you have the time and feel like being amazed, pick up Buckaroo Banzai and remember: "no matter where you go, there you are."

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