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Continuing My Film Education: Buckaroo Banzai

Hey Everybody, Rick here.

There are a great many movies that I have seen.  There are an even greater many movies that I have NOT seen.  Friday the 13th was one of them to be certain.  But another one is one that is quite beloved by several of the USG family, reviled by others, and yet, no one has an opinion about this movie that reflects any semblance of ambivalence.

And I am not about to start now...

The movie that I am referring to is The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the 8th Dimension.  Please understand, I don't hate the movie, far from it, I enjoyed it quite a bit. However, I didn't think it was the greatest piece of cinema since Raiders of the Lost Ark (my all time favorite movie).   That being said, perhaps it gets better on repeat viewings. In fact, according to Cole, it does get better with repeat viewings.   I have attempted to watch the movie four times prior to finally sitting down and watching it in its entirety.  I can't exactly pinpoint the issue I had with watching the movie beforehand.  I think that it was too much distraction going on.  I finally had the opportunity arise where I was able to see it without interruption. 

The concept is utterly ridiculous and I think that is the charm to the flick because it revels in its sheer insanity.  Peter Weller plays Buckaroo Banzai, a physicist, neurosurgeon, and rock musician who opens a portal to the 8th dimension and starts a war with some aliens from Planet 10 known as Red Lectroids, and played by Christopher Lloyd and Vincent Schiavelli.  As if that was not enough, the evil Dr. Lizardo (played with gleeful zeal by John Lithgow) escapes from a mental institution and is determined to extract his vengeance on Banzai and his team called the Hong Kong Cavaliers.

As you can tell from that alone, this movie is not just bizarre, it is incredibly bizarre. So much so in that it feels like The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the 8th Dimension is an inside joke that no one else is in on except the filmmakers themselves. That aspect of the movie tends to be the reason why so many people don't like it I think.  It tends to isolate the viewers and make them feel like they should be laughing at a joke that everyone else is laughing at but they are not.  Kind of like Cole's opinion of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.  But that is another story for another time.   That being said, should you seek this particular movie out? Absolutely.  There is nothing like it now and likely to be nothing like it in the future.  I found myself screaming at the screen when I saw the tagline for the proposed sequel Bockaroo Banzai Against The World Crime League because I would have loved to see that sequel happen but it seems more and more it will likely not happen.  That being said, this is cult cinema at its finest and definitely worth a look.  

Something that is important to point out is that this is a two-off movie. What I mean by this is that for me, and I am told for many others, you have to watch this movie (all the way through) twice.

My brother Clay introduced me toit back in the 80s with the stipulation that I watch it two times. The first viewing I hated it. I felt like Rick did, except I found no redeeming qaualities. Then, under protest but fulfilling my promise, I sat through a second screening. Then it hit! That is how this particular film made it into my top 100. Clay had the same experience which is why he knew to watch it twice before you could love it. This is probably why it truly does get better with each new screening.

So Rick, watch it again and see what happens. Clay and I are not the only ones for whom this has been the case!

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