What's The Watermelon For ?
I was watching the baby play the other day with his trains. I had been upstairs changing out of my work clothes and into my “play clothes” and when I came downstairs he was sitting in the middle of the living room, playing. I came up behind him quietly and watched him as he drove the trains around in wild circles. Then the two trains came together, meeting in the middle of the carpet and he started doing voices for each of them. One told the other about the “track” (it was the only word I could understand) and the other started telling the first about peas and fruit. They talked for a little bit and then he noticed that I was there and ran over to give me a hug.
Watching him like that kind of took me back. Being a kid and having something that just seemed so cool and fantastic to you. And I remembered what I wanted to be when I grew up when I was twelve. I wanted to be a Blue Blazer Regular. I wanted to be a neurosurgeon/particle physicist/comic book hero/race car driver/rock star. I wanted to be Buckaroo Banzai.
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across The Eighth Dimension sent me spinning the first time I saw it…. Words almost fail me when I try to describe to other people how cool this movie is. “See, there’s this really hot car,” is usually how I start, “and this guy drives it through a mountain, immediately after performing brain surgery and just before he has a show at the hottest rock club in Jersey City… And then the good aliens come to contact him because the evil aliens are trying to destroy the world, but he’s all wrapped up in his newly found dead wife’s twin and….” And I usally come off like a blathering idiot. Which isn’t unusual when I’m trying to describe the convoluted plot of one of my favorite sci-fi movies.
Buckaroo Banzai was born to a Japanese physicist and an American mathematician. He’s a neurosurgeon and a race car driver. He’s a particle physicist and a Bujitsu disciple. He speaks a dozen languages and is the ultimate renaissance man. He travels with a group, called the Hong Kong Cavaliers who are mostly comprised of other scientists and all have code names like Jersey, Reno and Perfect Tommy. Did I mention that they were his band as well ? They, along with Buckaroo’s surrogate father Professor Hikita, succeed in sending a man and a hot ass car through a solid mountain and inadvertently start an intergalactic war in the process.
Peter Weller is the essence of cool in this flick and John Lithgow makes for a delicious, over the top villain. The battle sequences haven’t aged as well as I remember them, but the dialogue is sharp, the in jokes are brilliant and all in all it makes for a incredible ride. It's also a fantastic first date movie.
So, how about you ? When’s the last time you were taken in and became completely engrossed in a movie ?
thefinn was originally going to write about Jonny Quest, but got sidetracked. Archives