movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] I’d been meaning to watch this movie for… years? I may have seen it as a kid, but have no recollection. My parents got me a VHS for Christmas recently, but this was years after I stopped using VHS. Finally, I snagged a copy and Mark convinced us to watch it with him, which definitely enhanced the experience. IMDB rating = 5.9.

PEOPLE: I was not familiar with main actor Peter Weller, but it was nice to see John Lithgow, Christopher Lloyd, Jeff Goldblum, and Clancy Brown.

QUIRKS: This movie is ALL OVER THE PLACE, and quite ridiculous. This is good. It’s important to remind us that this is entertainment, not deep, meaningful, profound art. Buckaroo Banzai is a brain surgeon. He’s a rock star in a band. He test-drives experimental vehicles for NASA/DARPA/the govt/science. He’s a samurai. He has a group of sidekicks. He’s just… EVERYTHING. They’re ALL everything. It’s a ridiculous combination that can only be explained by the huge amounts of cocaine everyone was doing in 1984.

BAD STUFF: First and foremost: NOT ENOUGH 8th Dimension! They say IN THE TITLE “Across The 8th Dimension”. Bad implication. You actually see about 10 seconds of the 8th dimension in the entire movie. I’m a bit disappointed. Also, the studio that made the film went out of business right afterwards (too much coke?), so the sequel alluded to in the end credits was never made. Finally, since the movie is ALL OVER THE PLACE, sometimes it’s not clear that the movie knows where it is going. Sometimes it seems to lose focus a bit. But that’s okay, because those are forgivable traits for a movie that is supposed to be zany. The ridiculously-long title should immediately tell the viewer: “This is not to be taken seriously.”

CONCLUSION: As ridiculous cocaine-induced 1980s sci-fi adventures go, this is a cult classic that should not be missed. While not a great film (it was a box office dud), I think it would be a mistake for any movie buff to pass over this one. I gave it 3 stars on Netflix, my “generic pass”, though I’m tempted to give it 4 stars for uniqueness. On IMDB, I’d probably rate it in the 6.75 – 7 range.

RECOMMENDATION: This movie goes really well back-to-back with Howard The Duck, a similarly ridiculous interdimensional box office dud. The 2 movies are about as similar as the band Gwar is to the virtual band Dethklok (and about 5 people are going to understand that statement.) But anyway — if you like sci-fi, ridiculosity, and cheesy 1980s flicks — this is a must see!

MOVIE QUOTE: Buckaroo Banzai, while performing brain surgery: “You can check your anatomy all you want, and even though there may be normal variation, when it comes right down to it, this far inside the head it all looks the same. No, no, no, don’t tug on that. You never know what it might be attached to.”

COINCIDENCES: Buckaroo Banzai & Howard The Duck – 2 movies that we watched with Mark that were both ridiculous, and involved beings coming from another dimension to mess up the Earth. Also, I could have SWORN that we watched TWO movies that had aliens hiding on earth, with all of them named “John”…. But I can’t remember what the other movie was, so it might not have existed.

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Ian really liked it. Benj liked it.

Mood: naps are good
Music: Dethklok – Go Forth And Die