Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The 80s Movie Library: Weird Science


Not being a teenage boy, I didn’t understand the appeal of making the perfect woman, but I certainly enjoyed watching a film about it!  I just love the film Weird Science.  Its premise is completely outlandish, but it is carried off with so much humour and bizarre entertainment that it works on every level. John Hughes took the Frankenstein story, replaced the mad scientist with two nerdy computer geniuses and had them create a hot woman instead of a monster.

Gary and Wyatt write a special output program with specifications for what they want in a perfect woman.  They scan centerfold pictures and magazine covers of beautiful woman into the system; they input specific physical measurements and data and they hack into a government mainframe for more processing power.  What results is absolute chaos in Wyatt’s room.  Gale force winds and bolts of lightning erupt for several minutes and then a huge explosion occurs.  From out of the smoke and debris that remains, Lisa emerges, Gary and Wyatt’s dream creation.  Her first words are “So, what would you little maniacs like to do first?”

Lisa is much more than Gary and Wyatt bargained for.  She’s not just sensual and sexual; she’s intelligent and sensitive and she recognizes that these two teenage boys need help building self-confidence.  She also possesses superhuman abilities such as memory and molecular manipulation and she can conjure up fake people and fake events. Rather than become a mere outlet for Gary and Wyatt’s male teenage lusts and fantasies, Lisa develops a maternal affection for them and becomes a valuable asset for boosting the boys’ self-esteem and status in high school.

They have a wild party where more than half the people who show up are complete strangers.  Too intimidated to socialize, Gary and Wyatt lock themselves in the bathroom.  Irritated by the boys’ persistent dejection, Lisa conjures up a group of crazy bikers to disrupt the party, hoping to provoke a confrontation that will force Gary and Wyatt to stand up for themselves.  Initially intimidated and humiliated by the biker gang, Gary and Wyatt stand up to them when they accost Deb and Hilly, two girls that Gary and Wyatt have crushes, and the bikers slink away, meekly and apologetically.  Everyone is impressed with Gary and Wyatt’s display of bravery and heroism, especially Deb and Hilly.  
One of my favourite scenes in the film is when Wyatt’s overbearing, brash and abusive older brother, Chet, returns home after the party to find the house in shambles and Lisa living there.  He terrorizes Gary and Wyatt and Deb and Hilly.  Lisa confronts him and informs him that he will no longer threaten, torment, terrorize or abuse Gary and Wyatt, which totally amuses Chet.  Lisa then transforms Chet, with her inexplicable molecular manipulating capabilities, into a giant grotesque and foul-smelling creature that oozes slime and pus.  Terrified of remaining in this state and humbled by his grotesque transformation, Chet apologizes to Wyatt and promises to be kinder to him and Gary.  

In the end, Gary and Wyatt tell Lisa that they found girlfriends.  They feel as though they’ve betrayed her a little, but Lisa is thrilled and explains that that is all she ever wanted for them.  Just as she appeared, Lisa disappears into a cloud of smoke and when we see her again before the closing credits roll, she’s dressed in a skintight leotard and cut-off t-shirt working as a gym teacher to a class full of young, hot-blooded teenage boys.   

The film is another gem from John Hughes’ wonderful 80s filmography about teenage life complete with fun special effects, funny dialogue and loveable characters.  Be careful what you wish for because you might just get what you want is just one thoughtful insight the film imparts.  Gary and Wyatt learn this and end up living the lives they always dreamed of, with a few bumps and wacky adventures along the way.

7 comments:

  1. Ahh... back in a time when computers where mysterious devices and people thought they had magical powers! I still enjoy watching this, although that picture of Chet transformed into a creature still gives me the creeps. Robert Dwoney Jr. was already very charming back then! And any young boy growing up in the 80s probably had a crush on Lisa back then.

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    1. It's such a great, fun film that is still enjoyable to watch no matter how old it gets.

      It's fun watching Robert Downey Jr. in his early stuff where, you're right, he exuded the same charisma he does on screen today years later.

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  2. Being honest, at the time I was old enough to watch it hoping to see some female nudity, but the film disappointed on that front. It did have its amusing moments otherwise, though.

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    1. I guess they wanted to keep it PG-rated.

      I still laugh when watching the film.

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  3. As I've aged I've lost appreciation for the film's humor a little bit, but this was always one I was willing to defend for many years. All of MAH one-liners were always hilarious to me as a younger man and you're spot on about Chet. It might be Paxton's finest hour.

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    1. I can't help but to continue to defend it. It still tickles my funny bone every time I watch it, but I'm a sucker for 80s films.

      Paxton was so good as despicable Chet.

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  4. Anonymous9:50 am

    how about a nice greasy pork sandwich served in a dirty ashtray.

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