Weird Science

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The film takes place in the fictitious Chicago suburb of Shermer, Illinois. Two high school nerds, Gary Wallace (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt Donnelly (Ilan Mitchell-Smith), are pantsed by school bullies Ian (Robert Downey, Jr.) and Max (Robert Rusler).

Later on, at Wyatt’s house, the boys have the house to themselves for the weekend. Inspired by the 1931 version of Frankenstein, which the boys watch on TV, they decide to create a “perfect” woman on their home computer (a Memotech MTX512). When their computer reaches its computing capacity, the boys decide to hack into a government mainframe for more processing power and data storage capacity. As a finishing touch they connect a Barbie doll to Wyatt’s computer through a series of wires and electrodes. At the exact moment they hit “enter” to execute the computer program, a lightning bolt strikes the house leading to a series of supernatural occurrences. When the smoke clears a beautiful woman (Kelly LeBrock) emerges from Wyatt’s bathroom. Her first words are “So, what would you little maniacs like to do first?”

In addition to being totally devoted to them, the woman has superhuman abilities, such as memory manipulation, molecular manipulation, and reality warping. The boys are too intimidated to take advantage of the obvious opportunities presented, as is shown when they keep their jeans on while showering with her. Realizing the boys need to lower their inhibitions, she transforms their outfits and then takes them out in a pink 1959 Cadillac convertible that she conjured up. The boys name her Lisa. Lisa takes them to a blues club. The trio end up ingratiating themselves to the staff and some of the regulars, in part with the help of alcohol.

As they head home, Lisa asks Wyatt about his older brother, Chet (Bill Paxton), who extorts blackmail money from him in exchange for withholding information from their parents, as shown when he brings a drunk Gary home past Wyatt’s curfew. After putting Gary to bed, Wyatt shares a series of increasingly passionate kisses with Lisa. At a shopping mall, Gary and Wyatt, finally feeling secure after their time with Lisa, are humiliated once again by Ian and Max, who dump an Icee onto them in front of the whole mall, upsetting their own girlfriends, Deb (Suzanne Snyder) and Hilly (Judie Aronson). Ian and Max then spot Lisa on the escalator and abandon the girls to run after her. When they catch up with her, she invites them to a party at Wyatt’s. Gary then pulls up in a black Porsche 928 and he, Wyatt, and Lisa leave together, to Ian and Max’s chagrin.

The milquetoast Wyatt begs Lisa to cancel a planned party, but she refuses, pointing out that it will lead to the popularity that he and Gary want. She then picks up Gary at his house, but when Gary’s parents, Al (Britt Leach) and Lucy (Barbara Lang), object to Gary going out with a woman Lisa’s age, Lisa manipulates their memories so that Lucy forgets the incident and Al forgets he has a son. Back at the house the party begins. Gary and Wyatt, too intimidated to socialize at first, lock themselves in the bathroom. Deb and Hilly meet Gary and Wyatt in the bathroom and are surprised to discover that they, not Lisa, are the party hosts. Max and Ian encounter Lisa and make a pass at her. She refuses, explaining that she “belongs” to Gary and Wyatt.

Ian and Max then scheme to offer Gary and Wyatt permission to date their own girlfriends in exchange for dating Lisa, leading Gary and Wyatt to explain how they created her and an attempt to recreate the process in Wyatt’s bedroom with the computer follows. They forget, however, to connect the computer to the Barbie doll, instead leaving it clamped to a Time magazine on whose cover is a Pershing medium-range ballistic missile. As soon as the machine starts up, the kitchen turns blue, a picture of Wyatt’s parents starts dancing, the chimney proceeds to suck up all the furniture in the living room and launch it into a lake out back, and the “Weird Science” song starts playing. The missile, like Lisa, becomes real and ends up emerging in the middle of Wyatt’s bedroom from underground. When Gary and Wyatt are dejected by this, Lisa decides to provoke a confrontation in order to spur them to stand up for themselves. She conjures a group of mutant bikers to disrupt the party. At first the bikers intimidate and humiliate Gary and Wyatt, but after they accost Deb and Hilly, Gary and Wyatt stand up to the mutants, mainly because they realize they are Lisa’s creation. Everyone present, including Deb and Hilly, are impressed by the boys. After the mutant bikers apologize and leave the house, the boys and girls end up pairing off, Gary with Deb and Wyatt with Hilly.

Early the next morning, Chet returns from spending the night out and is angry at the state of the house. Lisa tells Gary and Wyatt to take Deb and Hilly home. Gary and Wyatt take the girls home, each guy sharing a kiss with his new girlfriend. Lisa confronts Chet, telling him that he will no longer threaten or extort money from Wyatt. Lisa then transforms Chet into a squat, grotesque creature, humbling him enough to apologize to Wyatt. Gary and Wyatt talk to Lisa, who understands that the boys now have girlfriends, which is all what she wanted for them. After saying goodbye, Lisa disappears in a puff of smoke and the damage to the house and Chet’s transformation is reversed just in time for the return of Wyatt’s parents from Cincinnati, Ohio.

In the epilogue, a group of high school students hear their new gym teacher’s whistle. When their teacher turns out to be Lisa, the entire class of boys faint and Lisa winks to the viewer.

REVIEW:

Arguably one of the most popular films on the 80s, Weird Science ranks up there with the likes of Back to the Future, The Breakfast Club, Fast Times at Ridgemont Highand others that immediately come to mind when you think of this period of time. The question everyone asks is what was so weird about the science? Was it too much for the 80s? What about today? Well, you just have to watch if you want to know the answer to those questions. In the meantime, I hope I can give you a little insight into this light comedy from the late, great John Hughes.

What is this about?

When teen geeks Gary and Wyatt use a computer to create Lisa, a gorgeous woman with a genius IQ, they enlist her help to boost their seemingly pathetic social status. But she thinks the boys just need a lesson in courage.

What did I like?

Bullies never prosper. It may seem like a distant memory, but there was a time when us nerds, geeks, and dweebs were nothing but the object of ridicule by bullies. In the case of this film, those bullies do everything they can to make life a living hell for our stars, and it seems like they aren’t going to get any repercussions from this, but their girls nearly leave them and, by film’s end, they have dumped the girls for a shot with Lisa, the perfect girl, or an attempt to create their own piece of perfection, which ends up backfiring and becoming a missile.

Lisa, Lisa. After being created from so hacked military software and a Barbie doll, which Kelly LeBrock sure fit the waist definitions, at least, it seemed that once we got past her wanting to party and have sex, she became, well a character very similar to Elizabeth Hurley in Bedazzled. Thing is, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as her intentions are to be a hot chick that opens the doorway for them to become happy, which does happen, so mission accomplished.

Dated. This film was released in 1985, so in 2014, of course the technology and effects are going to look a little dated. That is part of the charm of the picture, though. This happens to be one of those films that hasn’t aged well, thanks to advances in technology, but is still worth watching in spite of that because it gives off that nostalgic vibe that takes us all back.

What didn’t I like?

Practically perfect. I won’t deny that Kelly LeBrock is a looker. She has a rocking body, and as I mentioned earlier, could quite possible pass for a living Barbie doll. That being said, is that the “perfect” woman? For me, I have to say no. I prefer some mean on my women and more curves. The next guy may prefer the opposite. Another guy may prefer that masculine body builder type. As a wise man once said, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. I guess the beholder is the casting director. Again, nothing against Kelly LeBrock, she’s just not my ideal woman.

Creature feature. In the last scenes of the film, the big brother character, played by Bill Paxton, is turned into this weird poop like creature. There is a level of supposed realism that is going on in this film (and I use that term lightly), but this sudden creature that he was turned into, especially this late in the film, didn’t quite fit with everything else in the film. It was just…odd.

Girls. Through the work of their creation, our boys finally get girlfriends, but I have to wonder why it is that these girls were chosen. Sure, they are cuties, but seems to me a couple of girls that were more along the nerdy plane of existence, if you will, would have worked better. No, I’m not talking about the kind that would have thick coke bottle glasses, braces, headgear, and a bad case of acne, just the kind that are wallflowers, but you can still tell they are a bit of a looker.

All in all, I had a good time with Weird Science. This is a film that you can have issues with, and there are plenty of things to take issue with, but it is still fun to kick back and enjoy. Do I recommend this film? Why yes I do. There is no reason to not watch this sci-fi comedy from 80s legend John Hughes, even if it isn’t his strongest work. Give it a shot sometime!

3 3/4 out of 5 stars

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