Written by Warren C. Bennett
This is another piece of mine I wrote for a now defunct website called Retro Guava. It was an Australian site that sold retro themed shirts. I did a series of retro movie reviews for the site that focused on films coming out between 1980 and 1995. Weird Science was released in August of 1985. This review has been extensively edited for style and substance from the original review. – WCB
First an explanation of the 1985 Science Trilogy:
The trials and temptations of teenagers in High School and College are widely documented. The details of school life during the era of Reagan are no secret. The battles between Jocks versus Nerds ranged far and wide with casualties to numerous to count. Before the advent of computers, Jocks more often than not won these battles, for the Nerds just did not have the muscle and man-power. Ultimately, the Nerds won this titanic struggle for School dominance in the 1980′s. Unlike the previous decades, the 1980′s brought forth a true era of technological superiority which only the Nerds had the upper hand. Many movies prove this point but three movies in 1985 show the truth of this idea. I dub them the 1985 Science Trilogy, three movies made by different studios that show how science helps stereotypical nerds overcome their life situations. All three were released within two weeks of each other, between August 2 and August 9 in 1985. Two of them are well-known while the third is less so. Weird Science was the first of this trilogy released and focused on two teenagers trying to create the perfect woman.
On to the review!
For most men, Kelly LeBroc is one of the big reasons to Weird Science. She plays the ultimate in teen-age boy fantasies and a fine example of eighties era sexiness. She is created by loud mouth Gary and to shy Wyatt using an old computer, some fancy graphics, and a hack in to the local power grid. After offering herself with no strings attached to the two young men, Lisa realizes that the boys need some training in social graces. She proceeds to take them to different places and teach them all the good moral choices that any mid 80s sex-pot should know. How to drink, how to party and ultimately how to live life as themselves while standing up to one bad tempered big brother named Chet. While LeBroc plays the very sexy Lisa, Gary is played by 80′s teen nerd staple Anthony Michael Hall while Wyatt is played by Ilan Mitchell Smith. Chet, the antagonist of the movie, is played by a really young Bill Paxton.
This is a great movie. There is a level of fun in the film I always forget about until I sit down to watch. I also forgot how many common phrases that I still use are peppered throughout this film. Although the story isn’t complicated, the actors involved do a great job in making this unbelievable situation realistic. This is a hallmark of every John Hughes movie and it is no less so in this film. I also love how animated the actors are while doing their parts. One reason Kelly LeBroc appeals to so many is because she has a very expressive face and uses that talent well in her role. Bill Paxton does a great job of reminding me of the more annoying points of my big brother in my childhood, while Ilan Mitchell-Smith and Anthony Michael Hall could be my best friend when we were all teens. It is also interesting to see Robert Downing Jr. pop up, once again, in an 80s movie. It is obvious he was type cast during much of the decade, popping up as a witless Jock in many of these movies. I had no idea that he appeared in so many movies from this decade until I sat down to write these reviews.
As with the rest of the 1985 Science Trilogy, I love looking at the technology in this movie. The computer used to ‘create’ Lisa is a blast to see in action. While I’m not sure any home computer at that time could do half of what it does, the futuristic graphics put out by the machine are fun. It is fun to see what the computers at the time were like even if the premise is a tad unrealistic in the power of home computers in that era. Weird Science is by no means a documentary of technology in the 1980′s but seeing this equipment used is a real treat.
I also love how fashion and music are used in the movie. Lisa has a great sense of taste and dresses her boys accordingly. She has a sense of style that goes beyond the flashy decade in which they are living. More often than not the style the two boys wear could be part of decades in the past or at home in the present Her own styles are unique and, for the most part, utterly part of that era. She looks good in her clothing and seems to be sexy and graceful in all her outfits. A woman like her wearing these clothes now would start another retro revolution. The music pulls from many different eras and does a great job of emphasizing the scenes in which they play. Songs featured include the classic opening song from Oingo Boingo to Pretty Woman by always popular Roy Orbison.
The comedic timing in this film really shows how far modern comedies have fallen. This is a movie that wasn’t considered the greatest film for the time. Yet it is full of well written jokes with a comedic timing that is impeccable. It isn’t hard to argue that comedies in the last 5 to 10 years have not had well written jokes or had a good sense of timing I think Scriptwriters should go back to movies like Weird Science and dissect them, learning how to write a script that actually can stand the test of time. John Hughes did a great job with the comedy and pacing of this movie and it shows. Although this film is obviously set in the 1980′s, the comedy bits are timeless and are funny well beyond that decade.
I have to say that this movie is a great addition to any movie collection. It combines comedy with great acting and a well written script. As a plus, it features Kelly LeBroc in her prime. Take some time, remember what it was like to be a teen, and watch this movie with some popcorn. You won’t be disappointed.