8 August 2004 | vertigo_14
Funky Teen Sci-Fi (spoilers)
80s! I'm living in the 80s! If you love 80s teen movies, then Weird Science ought to be in your catalogue. It is one of director John Hughes most memorable, and one of the 80s most original.
Written in two days, this is a teen science fiction film, the story of two teenage loners, Wyatt (the always grimacing Ilan-Mitchell Smith) and Gary (Anthony Michael Hall before he went deadpan) and their weird way of discovering girls. A variation on Frankenstein, the teenagers create a beautiful woman (the super cool Kelly LeBrock) using their computer and some clever hacking skills (of course, it's exaggerated). Their creation is Lisa, the chic English accent woman who brings a little life to the subtle Illinois suburb. As the antithesis of both Wyatt and Gary's personalities, she's going to show these boys a little adventure, get them to loosen up, and for crying out loud, gain some self-esteem.
Because Lisa is a lady with some supernatural power like freezing grandparents in time, erasing the memory of a bad first impression with Gary's parents, turning Wyatt's obnoxious military school brother Chet (Bill Paxton in his funniest, most arrogant role yet) into a giant pus maggot, or even having a gang of mutant bikers storming a house party. And Lisa's greatest gift to the boys: showing them true love by helping them along to meet the two girls they've been after all along, their high school classmates, Deb and Hilly, who are unfortunately hung up on the dweeb bullies, Max (Robert Russler) and Ian (Robert Downey, Jr.). So essentially, it deals with many aspects of teen angst (but more like just teen self-esteem or self-consciousness issues) within one story. Parents, class status (done subtly here as opposed to Some Kind of Wonderful or Pretty in Pink), relationships, etc. It works well, and is done quite humorously.
One of my favorite scenes is when the trio (Lisa, Gary, and Wyatt) go to the night club looking pretty out of place (they're not only the only white people there, but probably the only ones under thirty). Once Anthony Michael Hall's character, Gary, gets drunk and starts with his slang, it's hilarious. Reminds me a little of Adventures in Babysitting when the gang drops in on the club and they're not allowed to leave until they sing. So eventually, they loosen up and have a little fun.
It's a wonderful movie with a classic John Hughes comic touch (says the mutant biker to Gary and Wyatt after they threaten to kill them if they don't leave, "Please don't tell anyone about this. I'd hate to lose my teaching job.). Plus, it's got a great soundtrack, featuring Killing Joke, Lords of the New Church, and Oingo Boingo doing the title song. The music video for it was fantastic, and not only features clips from the movie, but Kelly LeBrock herself in Oingo Boingo's own rendition of creating the woman via technology.
Although not one of John Hughes' best (I think Sixteen Candles is still his greatest), it is certainly one of his most memorable and one that I will love no matter how old I get. So have yourself a lazy Saturday, pop in the movie, and enjoy.