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Weird Science (film)

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Weird Science
200p
Theatrical release poster
by Tom Jung
Directed byJohn Hughes
Produced byJoel Silver
Written byJohn Hughes
Starring
Music byIra Newborn
CinematographyMatthew F. Leonetti
Edited byChris Lebenzon
Mark Warner
Scott K. Wallace
Production
company
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • August 2, 1985 (1985-08-02)
Running time
94 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$7.5 million
Box office$38.9 million

Weird Science is a 1985 American teen comic science fiction film written and directed by John Hughes and starring Anthony Michael Hall, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, and Kelly LeBrock. The title is taken from a pre-Comics Code Authority 1950s EC Comics magazine of the same name, to which rights were acquired by the film's producer Joel Silver.[1] The title song was written and performed by American new wave band Oingo Boingo.

Plot

Nerdy social outcasts Gary Wallace and Wyatt Donnelly are humiliated by Ian and Max for swooning over their girlfriends Deb and Hilly. Rejected and disappointed at their direction in life and wanting more, Gary convinces the uptight Wyatt that they need a boost of popularity in order to get their crushes away from Ian and Max. Alone for the weekend with Wyatt's parents gone, Gary is inspired by the 1931 classic Frankenstein to create a virtual woman using Wyatt's computer, infusing her with everything they can conceive to make the perfect dream woman. After hooking electrodes to a doll and hacking into a government computer system for more power, a power surge creates Lisa, a beautiful and intelligent woman with unlimited magical powers. Promptly, she conjures up a Cadillac to take the boys to a dive bar in Chicago, using her powers to manipulate people into believing Gary and Wyatt are of age.

They return home drunk and happen upon Chet, Wyatt's mean older brother, who extorts money from him to buy his silence. Lisa agrees to keep herself hidden from him, but she realizes that Gary and Wyatt, while extremely sweet, are very uptight and need to unwind. After a humiliating experience at the mall when Max and Ian pour an Icee on Gary and Wyatt in front of a crowd, Lisa tells the bullies about a party at Wyatt's house, of which Wyatt had no prior knowledge, before driving off in a Porsche 928 she conjured for Gary. Despite Wyatt's protests, Lisa insists that the party happen anyway in order to loosen the boys up. She goes to meet Gary's parents, Al and Lucy, who, to Gary's embarrassment, are shocked and dismayed at the things she says and her frank manner. After she pulls a gun on them (later revealed to Gary to be a water pistol), she alters their memories so that Lucy forgets about the conflict; however, Al forgets that they had a son altogether. At the Donnelly house, the party has spun out of control while Gary and Wyatt take refuge in the bathroom, where they resolve to have a good time, despite having embarrassed themselves in front of Deb and Hilly. In Wyatt's bedroom, Ian and Max convince Gary and Wyatt to recreate the events that created Lisa, but it fails. Lisa chides them over their misuse of the magic to impress their tormentors. She also explains that they forgot to connect the doll; thus, with the bare but live electrodes resting on a magazine page showing a Pershing II medium-range ballistic missile, a real missile appears, crashing through the house. Meanwhile, Wyatt's grandparents arrive and confront Lisa about the party, but she freezes them and hides them in a cupboard. Lisa realizes that the boys need a challenge to boost their confidence and has a gang of mutant bikers invade the party, causing chaos and sending the boys running.

When the bikers take Deb and Hilly hostage, Wyatt and Gary decide to confront the bikers, causing Deb and Hilly to fall in love with them. The bikers leave, and the next morning, Chet discovers the house in disarray, including a localized snowstorm in his room, and the missile. Lisa tells the boys to escort the girls home while she talks to Chet alone. Gary and Wyatt proclaim their feelings, and both girls reciprocate their feelings to the boys. Returning to the house, the boys discover Chet, now transformed into a talking mutant blob. He apologizes to Wyatt for his behavior. Upstairs, Lisa assures them that Chet will soon return to normal, and, realizing that her purpose is complete, hugs both Gary and Wyatt before de-materializing. As she leaves, the house is magically cleaned and everything transformed back to normal, including Chet. Wyatt's parents return home, completely unaware that anything odd has happened.

Later at the high school, Lisa turns up as the new gym teacher, thus continuing her mission by helping the other boys.

Cast

Reception

Roger Ebert called LeBrock "wonderful" in her role and thought that as a result the film was "funnier, and a little deeper, than the predictable story it might have been."[2] Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote that "Mr. Hughes shows that he can share the kind of dumb joke that only a 14-year old boy could love. There are enough moviegoing 14-year old boys to make a hit out of 'Weird Science,' of course, but for the rest of the population, its pandering is strenuous enough to be cause for alarm."[3] Variety wrote, "'Weird Science' is not nearly as weird as it should have been and, in fact, is a rather conventional kids-in-heat film, and a chaste one at that. Director-writer John Hughes squanders the opportunity to comment on the power struggle between the sexes for a few easy laughs."[4] Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune gave the film one-and-a-half stars out of four and wrote, "What a disappointment 'Weird Science' is! A wonderful writer-director has taken a cute idea about two teenage Dr. Frankensteins creating a perfect woman by computer and turned it into a vulgar, mindless, special-effects-cluttered wasteland."[5] Sheila Benson of the Los Angeles Times described LeBrock as "triumphant" and the "film's greatest asset," but thought the movie's appeal was limited to audiences of 15-year-old boys and "maybe the 16-year olds, if they aren't yet too fussy."[6] Rita Kempley of The Washington Post wrote, "Unbelievably, John Hughes, the maker of 'Sixteen Candles' and 'The Breakfast Club,' writes and directs this snickering, sordid, special effects fantasy, with Kelly LeBrock in a demeaning role as love slave to a pair of 15-year olds."[7]

On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 56% based on 32 reviews, and an average rating of 5.6/10. The consensus states: "Hardly in the same league as John Hughes' other teen movies, the resolutely goofy Weird Science nonetheless gets some laughs via its ridiculous premise and enjoyable performances."[8] The film is now regarded as a cult classic.[9][10] It was successful at the box office, with a gross of $23,834,048 in North America and $15,100,000 in other territories, totaling $38,934,048 worldwide.[11]

Soundtrack

The film's theme song, "Weird Science," was performed by Oingo Boingo and written by the band's frontman Danny Elfman. The soundtrack album was released on MCA Records:[12]

  1. "Weird Science" – Oingo Boingo
  2. "Private Joy" – Cheyne
  3. "The Circle" – Max Carl
  4. "Turn It On" – Kim Wilde
  5. "Deep in the Jungle" – Wall of Voodoo
  6. "Do Not Disturb (Knock Knock)" – The Broken Homes
  7. "Forever" – Taxxi
  8. "Why Don't Pretty Girls Look at Me" – The Wild Men Of Wonga
  9. "Method to My Madness" – The Lords of the New Church
  10. "Eighties" – Killing Joke
  11. "Weird Romance" – Ira and the Geeks

Legacy

Television series

A television series based on the film ran for 88 episodes, from 1994 to 1998. Following the same basic plot as the film, the series starred Vanessa Angel as Lisa, Michael Manasseri as Wyatt, John Mallory Asher as Gary, and Lee Tergesen as Chet.

Remake and sequel

As of 2013, Universal Studios was planning a Weird Science remake with original producer Joel Silver returning, and Michael Bacall writing the film. The film was set to attempt to distinguish itself from the original Weird Science by being an edgier comedy, in line with 21 Jump Street and The Hangover, which were R-rated; the studio stated the rating for this Weird Science remake was not certain at that stage of the movie's development.[13] However, as of mid-2019, nothing of the remake had materialized.[14] In 2017, Ilan Mitchell-Smith talked about a sequel to Weird Science starring Channing Tatum.[15]

See also

References

  1. ^ Snider, Eric (March 30, 2016). "15 Fun Facts About Weird Science". Mental Floss. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  2. ^ Ebert, Roger (August 2, 1985). "Weird Science movie review". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved January 27, 2020.
  3. ^ Maslin, Janet (August 2, 1985). "Film: 'Weird Science,' Youth Fantasy". The New York Times. C8.
  4. ^ "Film Reviews: Weird Science". Variety. August 7, 1985. 18.
  5. ^ Siskel, Gene (August 2, 1985). "'Weird Science' proves even John Hughes can short-circuit". Chicago Tribune. Section 7, Page A.
  6. ^ Benson, Sheila (August 2, 1985). "'Science' Fulfills Teen-Age Dreams". Los Angeles Times. Part VI, p. 1.
  7. ^ Kempley, Rita (August 2, 1985). "'Weird Science': Computer Garbage". The Washington Post. Weekend, p. 23.
  8. ^ "Weird Science (1985)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 10, 2010.
  9. ^ "Late Night TV, The Force & Cult Films—Oliver Grand".
  10. ^ rossmcguinness20 (9 May 2015). "Weird Science is 30: 15 weirdly great things about the '80s classic - Metro News". Metro.
  11. ^ "Weird Science (1985)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 10, 2010.
  12. ^ "Various - Weird Science - Music From The Motion Picture Soundtrack". Discogs.
  13. ^ Mike Fleming Jr. "'Weird Science' Remake—John Hughes Classic Getting Redo". Deadline Hollywood.
  14. ^ Cima, Miguel (2018-06-29). "9 Remakes Currently In Development (And 11 That Are Rumored)". ScreenRant. Retrieved 2018-10-29.
  15. ^ https://hollywoodlife.com/2017/09/27/weird-science-2-channing-tatum-sequel-ilan-mitchell-smith-the-goldbergs/

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