Saturday, 12 March 2011

One Crazy Summer (1986)

John Cusack, Demi Moore and - perhaps inevitably - Bobcat Goldthwait are 'out of school, out on Nantucket and out of their minds!’ Nurse - the codeine!

One Crazy Summer 
(1986 ‘Savage’ Steve Holland)

Starring: John Cusack, Demi Moore, Bobcat Goldthwait, Curtis Armstrong, Rich Hall

Box Markings: Warner ‘Clamshell II’ Prototype.

Tagline: ‘They’re out of school, out on Nantucket and out of their minds!’

Trailers: The Mission (eh?), Little Shop of Horrors, Heartbreak Ridge, Castaway

After witnessing Bobcat Goldthwait in a Godzilla costume screaming “Oh, the humanity!” into a starry Nantucket sky, there is a calm that envelopes the soul which frees it from all desire, delusion and ignorance and one glimpses the earthly Nirvana of the Arhat, or Holy One, of Buddhist philosophy. Like a shooting star, it is a thing precious not only for itself, but for bejewelling the very face of heaven. We have experienced what is undoubtedly a moment of true filmic perfection but, like any form of enlightenment, such rewards are hard won.
'I am Godzilla - You are Japan!'
Hot off the back of teen suicide romp Better Off Dead - and recently released on probation after a sixty day stretch for his part in the botched kidnapping of DJ out of ‘Rosanne’ - director ‘Savage’ Steve Holland once again has the wearisome vagaries of High School romance in his beady sights. However, instead of viewing it through the darkling lens of self-assisted euthanasia, he has this time opted for the - ironically more challenging - genre coming to be known as the ‘Spring Break!’ comedy.
'Dem-EEE..? You're sure?'
At the tender age of fifteen, John Cusack’s ‘Hoops’ McCann is already a burnt out case; a failed basketball player-slash-garbage man and unreconstituted Cheez-Wiz addict turned talentless animator, whose deranged, sub-Animalympics doodlings all culminate in his crudely scrawled alter-ego - a mysteriously Beirut bound rhino - mowing down families of fluffy bunny rabbits with an Israeli sub-machine gun. Disney have slapped a restraining order on him, he has no girlfriend and his Mom has lined him up with a summer job at ‘Wiiild Emmett’s Gator Bait’. What’s a guy to do?
Rhino What You Did Last Summer (Honk!)
This time, fortunately, his answer is not at the end of a noose but at the start of a road trip with his fat-faced friend to the fictional island of Nantucket in a souped-up hearse with a Christmas tree on the roof and a case of Colt .45 in the footwell. Fling an electric guitar-slinging Demi Moore into the back seat and we’re all set for crazy!

Nantucket itself is a broadly drawn mix of out-of-season Klan themepark and unregistered mental hospital. Representing one, both or either of these various sides is Bobcat, playing an unemployed tugboat mechanic called Egg Stork (‘nuff said), and a splenetic property developer resembling the reanimated corpse of Bruce Dern. Within mere minutes of docking, Cusack and Moore are embroiled in dealings that were far too fast-forwarded to recount here – but suffice it to say that Demi is soon strumming her way to the three thousand bucks she needs to save her Grandad’s house (which, for budgetary reasons, we never see) from the machinations of the evil Dern-alike, while Hoops, for some tantalizingly underexplored reason, needs to triumph in that shamelessly trotted out Deus ex Machina of the VHS years - the apropos-of-nothing, last-act, must-win boat-race…
Jaws 5: The Universal Tour Years
It would be refreshing to be able to say that we’re getting ahead of ourselves here, but it simply wouldn’t be the case. Yes, further events unfold, but other than, perhaps, the Dali-esque apparition of a dog in a nurse’s uniform pushing a hospital bed through a cornfield, you, reader, can assuredly predict them all with despicable accuracy. Does friendship triumph? Check. Does Bobcat wrestle with a small, deformed child in a bowl of punch? Affirmative. Does ‘Savage’ Steve’s probation officer turn up with a court order? Roger that. And is Hoops’ reward for winning the most incident packed boat race in American sailing history (a crossbow exchange, two deaths, sundry explosions and a mechanical shark attack) to get to slam Demi in an upturned children’s paddling pool? Well, what do you think?

“The humanity”?  Maybe next summer, Bobcat. Maybe next summer…

Originally published in Little White Lies#23


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