Today’s vault selection has two very excellent reasons behind its choosing. I will soon be headed to yet another convention, and for any must-meet guests in attendance, I always like to watch a few choice films to get amped. Anthony Michael Hall is an actor I’ve enjoyed for decades on both the big screen and television. As Dylan recently attested in his post, Top 5 Stars Deserving Of a Comeback, Hall is long overdue for a role more substantial than an occasional guest spot on television, although his appearance on Community was cool, cool, cool.
Gary Wallace (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt Donnelly (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) fantasize about being the cool kids; the guys wooing the ladies, throwing the parties, and being envied by the masses. In reality, they are repeatedly beaten and ridiculed by their classmates Ian (Robert Downey, Jr.) and Max (Robert Rusler) and relentlessly antagonized by Wyatt’s freakish asshole of a brother, Chet (Bill Paxton). With another lonely, depressing weekend ahead of them, Gary convinces Wyatt to use his computer to simulate an ideal girl, one that will teach them the secret to coolness. They surpass their wildest dreams when, through some sort of weird science, they create living, breathing perfection… Lisa (Kelly LeBrock).
The premise, concocted by John Hughes in just two days, is based on a story from the EC Comics series, Weird Science. Adept at capturing teenaged emotions, Hughes once again succeeds, which seems unlikely considering the far-fetched concept. Going into Weird Science, set aside the absolutely ridiculous notion that these two kids, armed with a 5-1/4″ floppy drive and a receiver-connected dial-up modem, could whip up a program that would transfer the intelligence of Einstein and the beauty of Playboy models (contained on paper images) into a plastic doll. Ignore the entirely laughable 8-bit imagery of the boys’ hacking skills and overlook the fact that this doll inexplicably transforms into an intelligent, hot ass twenty-three year old. This isn’t the point of Weird Science.
Gary and Wyatt find more in Lisa than just the woman of their dreams; she has the keys to the candy store. Her unique abilities grant them fancy clothes and fast cars. She takes them bar hopping, throws the biggest high school party ever, and gets them into trouble with rogue Road Warrior-style bikers. These moments are off-the-charts outrageous, with their effects ranging from laugh-out-loud hilarious to groan-inducing. The one person you can count on for a laugh throughout Weird Science is Anthony Michael Hall. Despite his outlandish hairstyle, he’s a delight as Gary and his reactions to the insane situations Lisa drags them into are priceless.
In our youth, nearly all of us have thought how cool we’d be if we scored that totally hip jacket OR if we threw the dopest birthday party at the most happening spot in town OR if we dated that super hot senior cheerleader OR if our parents bought us a shiny red Mustang just because. Though the objects of the desire vary, the whimsical notion of the confidence, the would-be power, and sheer coolness such items would bestow upon us is all too familiar. John Hughes’ technological mumbo-jumbo gives Gary and Wyatt everything their hearts desire. Buried beneath all the glitz and wild effects is that the point of their ludicrous experiment isn’t to create life, it’s that the creation of Lisa reminds them their lives are what they make it.