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#31 - The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai... (1984)

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#31 - The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai... (1984)

Postby NSpan » June 24th, 2012, 7:36 pm

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The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984)

Director:
W. D. Richter

Writer:
Earl Mac Rauch

Cast:
Peter Weller
John Lithgow
Ellen Barkin
Clancy Brown
Jeff Goldblum
Christopher Lloyd
Dan Hedaya



This ensemble gem never really found an audience--but, then again, it was never really given the chance. The film was barely promoted outside of very niche markets, and even then, nobody knew how to market it. And for good reason. This movie is hard to describe. It's incredibly ambitious, but it doesn't take itself seriously. The comedy and satire are intentional and well-placed. The adventure and sci-fi elements also greatly succeed in their own way. It doesn't all quite come together seamlessly, but it's an admirable effort to create something truly special. And it's a must-see for any film buff.

The titular physicist/neurosurgeon/pilot Buckaroo Banzai is also a rock-star. Literally. Between adventures, he and his team moonlight as a jazzy new-wave rock band. Banzai has a loyal fan-club in the film, and the fictional enthusiasm resonates well to the real world viewer. Peter Weller's character is a self-aware mix of Buck Rogers, Indiana Jones, and ... I dunno, Tony Stark?

Its box office failure actually adds to the film's charm. The film itself is littered with Buckaroo Banzai merchandise. The zeal for the character might've felt cheapened if it seeped over into the real world. For example: the fact that Team Banzai lunchboxes were a hot commodity in the film's universe but not in ours creates a unique sense of nostalgia when watching the movie. I believe this is a factor in the small-but-loyal cult following that the film has gained since its release. I mean, who doesn't want to be part of Team Zissou--I mean, Banzai--?

Speaking of which...

Aside from the great cast and the epic nature of the film, further reason to go back and watch this is its strong connection to Wes Anderson. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is an explicit homage to Buckaroo Banzai. Many people (including myself) think Life Aquatic is Anderson's weakest film. That said, I think just about anybody will discover a new-found appreciation for it after seeing The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension.

For most of you here, none of this is news. But if anyone reads this and is not already part of the Banzai fan club, do yourself a favor and get up to speed.


Double-Feature Recommendation:
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)
or
Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League (2025)
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Re: #31 - The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai... (1984)

Postby Buscemi » June 24th, 2012, 7:52 pm

Big Trouble in Little China and Earth Girls Are Easy also ideal selections for this one.
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Re: #31 - The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai... (1984)

Postby NSpan » June 24th, 2012, 8:17 pm

Buscemi wrote:Big Trouble in Little China and Earth Girls Are Easy also ideal selections for this one.

I actually didn't know about the Big Trouble connection until I was writing this up today. Pretty cool!
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Re: #31 - The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai... (1984)

Postby Chienfantome » June 25th, 2012, 3:38 am

Well I don't think I've ever heard of that film...
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Re: #31 - The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai... (1984)

Postby NSpan » June 25th, 2012, 3:40 am

Chienfantome wrote:Well I don't think I've ever heard of that film...

Oh, wow. I'm honestly kinda surprised that this wasn't a small hit in France..
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Re: #31 - The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai... (1984)

Postby Buscemi » June 25th, 2012, 4:33 am

I figured Jeff Goldblum had a following in France.
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Re: #31 - The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai... (1984)

Postby JohnErle » June 25th, 2012, 4:56 am

I had a high school English teacher who thought this was the greatest movie ever made. I can't say I share her enthusiasm, but it does have its charms. I just can't imagine a dimension where Peter Weller is a convincing rock star.

EDIT: I just realized that my rank or status or whatever you call it on this forum is Alex Murphy, aka the meat that was used to hold Robocop together, also played by Peter Weller. That makes two movies from the 80s I would have liked a lot better with almost anyone but Peter Weller in the lead role.
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Re: #31 - The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai... (1984)

Postby Buscemi » June 25th, 2012, 5:01 am

If Master P can become a platinum artist, so can Peter Weller.
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Re: #31 - The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai... (1984)

Postby Chienfantome » June 25th, 2012, 5:29 am

NSpan wrote:
Chienfantome wrote:Well I don't think I've ever heard of that film...

Oh, wow. I'm honestly kinda surprised that this wasn't a small hit in France..


If it was a hit back then, it's been stuck in the mid 80's.
And Goldblum is well known in France, but definitely not for that film Boosch.
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Re: #31 - The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai... (1984)

Postby NSpan » June 25th, 2012, 4:18 pm

Well, check it out Chien. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts!

JohnErle wrote:EDIT: I just realized that my rank or status or whatever you call it on this forum is Alex Murphy, aka the meat that was used to hold Robocop together, also played by Peter Weller. That makes two movies from the 80s I would have liked a lot better with almost anyone but Peter Weller in the lead role.

I wasn't a fan until I had seen both Of Unknown Origin and Naked Lunch (not mentioning, of course, the movie highlighted in this thread). They definitely show that Weller has an acting spectrum beyond the monotone cyborg voice from RoboCop.
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Re: #31 - The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai... (1984)

Postby JohnErle » June 26th, 2012, 2:10 am

NSpan wrote:Well, check it out Chien. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts!

JohnErle wrote:EDIT: I just realized that my rank or status or whatever you call it on this forum is Alex Murphy, aka the meat that was used to hold Robocop together, also played by Peter Weller. That makes two movies from the 80s I would have liked a lot better with almost anyone but Peter Weller in the lead role.

I wasn't a fan until I had seen both Of Unknown Origin and Naked Lunch (not mentioning, of course, the movie highlighted in this thread). They definitely show that Weller has an acting spectrum beyond the monotone cyborg voice from RoboCop.


I kinda liked his robo-voice, it was the first act where I found him so unappealing.

I never heard of Unknown Origin, and Naked Lunch is one of the few Cronenberg films after Scanners that I haven't seen, and this conversation is as good a reason as any to finally check it out.
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Re: #31 - The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai... (1984)

Postby NSpan » June 26th, 2012, 2:48 am

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Re: #31 - The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai... (1984)

Postby Buscemi » June 26th, 2012, 3:03 am

Speaking about The Simpsons and art films.

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Re: #31 - The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai... (1984)

Postby NSpan » June 26th, 2012, 3:15 am

Classic.
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Re: #31 - The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai... (1984)

Postby Buscemi » June 26th, 2012, 3:22 am

I'm assuming Milhouse chose the movie.
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