First up in this summer’s pre-scheduled semi hiatus posting endeavor is “Buckaroo Banzai.” I’d summarize the plot of “Buckaroo Banzai” but I don’t have a clue what the plot is about, Phil. Not a fucking clue. I have a shell the size of a fist in my head.
Guys, I’m serious. I paused probably a dozen times through this movie to figure things out — and this wasn’t even my first viewing! Of course, the only thing I remembered about the movie was this, which I could only get a pretty cruddy screencap of, sorry:
Also that Peter Weller is so fucking hot I could just die, I mean goddamn. I rarely care what people look like, it’s a strange quirk and it gets a bit awkward when people talk about the latest sexy celebrity and I’m all “Brad Pitt is cute? Since when?” — you get the side-eye and the slow backing away when you say that, by the way — but with Peter Weller, man, I dunno. It’s insane. Any movie, any interview, any era, no matter what he’s wearing or how he looks. If I was within 20 miles of the man I would fall to pieces. Pieces.
The set is crammed to the ceiling with lots of hose, wires, neon and the occasional Sterno can. It’s glorious. I could look at this movie all day.
And yet, there are so many questions. Why do outfits change in the middle of scenes? Why is Buckaroo out of breath after what moments earlier looked like a leisurely motorcycle ride? And why isn’t Yakov Smirnoff’s flubbed line redubbed to correct it? See, Yakov plays an aide to the president and stumbles on a line. They didn’t bother to dub in a correction, even though he’s facing away from the camera and the president’s voice in the scene is already dubbed in.
Yeah, you’ll notice I’m not talking about the film. I don’t know what to say! I don’t even know what happened! But I will try to explain: Buckaroo is a physicist, surgeon, and rock star who finds himself fighting creatures from the 8th dimension. Apparently these creatures are Red Lectroids, defeated by the good guys on their planet, the Black Lectroids, and banished to Earth’s 8th dimension. Back in the 1930s, Dr. Lizardo (Lithgow) tried to go into the 8th dimension and schmutzed it up, only succeeding in getting one of these Red Lectroids inhabiting his body. I assume other Red Lectroids escaped at the time as well. People see the Lectroids as humans, so no one realized he was possessed but rather assumed Lizardo had simply gone off his chum. He was institutionalized. Fifty years later, he escapes the institution when he hears Buckaroo has gone into the 8th dimension successfully. Other Red Lectroids (Christopher Lloyd, Vincent Sciavelli, and Dan Hedaya) sort of assist Lizardo but basically wander around doing things that I don’t understand, like breaking car windows and killing people with their spit.
OK, at this point, things are hazy. I don’t know what those Red Lectroids have been doing since the 1930s. I think trying to build a spaceship, but that’s pretty sad if they’ve been doing it for 50 years and still haven’t finished. A Black Lectroid named John Emdall tells Buckaroo through interstellar message that if he doesn’t stop the Red Lectroids in 27 minutes or something, the Black Lectroids will trick the US and USSR (1980s!) into nuking each other into oblivion. Sure, makes sense. Buckaroo and his sidekicks-slash-bandmates warn the president, who is supposed to be a disabled Orson Welles, but he’s ineffectual and just wants to nuke Russia even after being told that’s the exact wrong thing to do. Buckaroo et al. go on their own to the Red Lectroids’ hideout to stop them, thus saving the world. Also, Buckaroo’s late wife — formerly the Queen of the Netherlands — had a long lost twin sister who Buckaroo finds through crazy coincidence and who gets kidnapped, as dames are wont to do, and must be rescued from the hideout. Because romance or something, I dunno.
The thing is, I like this movie. Lord help me, I like it, and I don’t know why. And no, not just because of Peter Weller. P.S. Sorry about the screencaps, they turned out grainy because I saved them as gifs. Let this be a lesson to you all.