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It Came From the Bargain Bin (The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension)

Welcome to this week’s installment of “It Came from the Bargain Bin”. As you can imagine there are many forgettable movies that you may come across while digging through The Bargain Bin. By forgettable I mean movies that didn’t make an impression upon you due to their very “vanilla” content AND the movies that you’ve just forgotten about due to time, your age, and possibly your lack of brain cells as a result of years of numerous abuses or a combination of all three (time, age, and substance abuse).  Some movies you’ve chosen to forget, or at least have tried to forget, and some you’ve just plain forgotten all about. Well, sometimes that’s what The Bin serves as, a reminder of all those forgettable movies, which is a good and, more often than not, a bad thing. This week’s selection is one of those movies, for me anyways. This movie is a movie that more likely than not you probably watched on cable T.V. unless you actually paid to see this and I know there are some of you out there that shelled out cash to see this one. I, for one, vaguely remember seeing this on HBO years ago and decided to give it another watch. Whether or not this was a good decision I guess that you’ll have to read on to find out. This week’s pick from The Bin is the 1984 film The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension.

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension

Starring: Peter Weller, John Lithgow, and Ellen Barkin

Director: W.D. Richter

Writer: Earl Mac Rauch

Reviewed by: Joe Sikes

Buckaroo Banzai (Peter Weller) is a succesful neuroscientist/physicist/ who also studies martial arts and, not to mention, rocks out in his popular band known as “The Hong Kong Cavaliers”. You could say that Buckaroo is a modern-day Renaissance Man of sorts. After completing a groundbreaking surgery Banzai is off to his specialized sound-barrier breaking super-craft that triumphantly travels through solid matter, into the eighth dimension, and back again. What makes this incredible feat possible you ask?

Well, the “oscillation overthruster” of course. Many years ago another scientist by the name of Dr. Emilio Lazardo (John Lithgow) attempted to perfect the oscillation overthruster but was only successful enough to become possessed by an evil alien being known as Lord John Whorfin and end up institutionalized in a psychiatric ward. When Lazardo/Whorfin sees the press conference on T.V. celebrating Buckaroo’s success he knows that he must acquire the overthruster to free the rest of his evil clan, who is trapped in the eighth dimension, and the evil Lord will do anything, including vaporizing the planet Earth, to achieve his goal. Not only must Banzai prevent this horrific occurrence but the superhero must also solve the mystery of “Penny Priddy” (Ellen Barkin) whom Buckaroo spotted at one of his gigs due to her eerily similar appearance to the love of his life who passed away in the not so distant past. Save the world and solve the mystery of a past and possibly future love? Yes, Buckaroo Banzai has a lot on his plate but with the help of his faithful friends anything is possible.

I have to be honest with you, I can’t say that I particularly enjoyed this selection. At about the halfway point of this sci-fi adventure I was coming up with ways to describe how much I detested this movie. One description that I came up with was, a convoluted nightmare of a movie composed of numerous scenarios that come together to form a pile of alien fecal matter, and I have to be honest with you, I’m still not far from that particular conclusion. I didn’t find “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension” to be funny nor did it instill in me the hope of seeing the long anticipated by some sequel “Buckaroo Banzai Against the Crime League”. Apparently “Crime League” still might happen but I am not going to be ponying up the cash to see this particular possible sequel. I know there are big fans of Buckaroo Banzai out there, but unfortunately, I am not one of them. I give ABBA8D one and a half guys. I am looking forward to receiving any arguments from disgruntled fans of Buckaroo. See you next week from The Bin.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Erin December 17, 2012, 4:49 am

    Super 80′s cheese. So bad that it’s good!

  • Joe December 17, 2012, 8:48 am

    Hey Erin,
    More like so bad that it hurts:) but thank you for your response. I’m sure that I’ll probably check this one out again and who knows, maybe the third time is a charm but I am doubting this at the moment. Have a great week.

  • wordschat December 17, 2012, 9:03 am

    I’d watch the use of the term “vanilla” plain movie then talk about “oscillating over thrusters” as the former has different meaning in some circles and the latter is suggestive. That said yes it was a dumb dud.

    • Joe December 17, 2012, 11:46 am

      Hey wordschat,
      I don’t recall describing the movie as “vanilla”, just convoluted which can be interpreted as vanilla I guess but really it’s just saying that there were way too many unnecessary bells, horns, and whistles to describe something that really could have been described with one honk but I guess that I do get a kick out of the term “oscillating overthruster”. Either way, we seem to have met at the same conclusion so cheers for that. Thank you for your post and have a great week.

    • Joe December 20, 2012, 4:58 am

      Hey wordschat,
      I guess that I should read my own reviews a little closer. Apparently I did use the term “Vanilla” in the opening paragraph. Sorry for the misunderstanding on my part but thank you for the Christmas gift idea :)

  • Fogs December 17, 2012, 10:46 am

    Wow. That’s a shame. This movie has an offbeat sense of humor and a quirky charm to it that make it a cult favorite. Sad to see you didnt get the appeal :(

    I’m a big fan… its been awhile since I watched it though… maybe I need to get back to it.

    • Joe December 17, 2012, 11:50 am

      Hi Fogs,
      I know it. Believe me, I wish that I felt differently about this one but unfortunately it just didn’t do it for me. But hey, to each his/her own, right. You might as well check it out again and have a laugh for me. Thanks for the post and have a great week. I’ll be sure to check out Fogs’ Movie Reviews.

  • Morgan R. Lewis December 20, 2012, 2:38 pm

    Well… I’m disappointed, but I can’t say I’m surprised. Buckaroo Banzai is a very off-beat film, and I think it’s apt to be a “love it or hate it” kind of thing (which is why it wound up being a cult classic instead of a box office success or total bomb.)

    • Joe December 20, 2012, 3:10 pm

      Hey Morgan,
      Sorry I’ve disappointed you but I agree that this BB is definitely a “love it or hate” film which is why I should at least respect it for not playing it safe like so many movies do. Thanks for the post and have a great week.

  • markuswelby1 December 21, 2012, 12:16 pm

    you must have been brainwashed by aliens from the 8th dimension. Clearly Buckaroo is Weller’s best work next to Robocop. Plus his main music theme just sticks in your head and never goes away……..and there’s also Jeff Goldblum. Holy cow, how did this not work for you?

    • Joe December 21, 2012, 8:37 pm

      Hi markuswelby1,
      I hear you. I’m surprised that this movie didn’t suit my fancy as well, especially seeing as though Goldblum is an actor that I will always appreciate,. I mean The Fly remake with JG is one of my all time favorites. I’m sure that I will be giving BB numerous chances in the future but I just found this particular film to be much less than what it could have been. Wait until my next review. I’m sure that I will bombed with more speculation than I’ve been with this particular review. But don’t the criticisms just make it more fun? Thanks for the post and hope to hear from you again soon.

  • Adam December 28, 2012, 9:51 am

    To think you could have watched Hudson Hawk instead of this film brings a tear to my eye.

    • Joe December 28, 2012, 1:10 pm

      Seriously. We can only learn from our mistakes my friend…….and I am sure that I will not. Hope you had a holly jolly Christmas and hope your new years is full of beer and cheer.

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