Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Weird Science (1985)

Gary and Wyatt are two incredibly geeky and unpopular teens who fail time and time again at being accepted by their own peers.  So desperate to be liked, they get on Wyatt's computer one night and "create" the ideal woman.  The result: Lisa, a gorgeous adult woman with a bodacious bod' who is not only living and breathing, but is sure to turn heads wherever she goes.  To get noticed, Gary and Wyatt have to be with her.  This boosts their confidence level and makes them act as though they're older, but it also puts them in tricky and sticky situations.  Their "creation" is about to lead them through and adventure they never dreamed of encountering!

Premeiring on August 2, 1985, "Weird Science" was yet another film written and directed by John Hughes who previously brought us teen flicks like "Sixteen Candles" and "The Breakfast Club."  Starring Anthony Michael Hall (Gary), Ilan Mitchell-Smith (Wyatt), Kelly LeBrock (Lisa), and Bill Paxton (Chet), it was also one of the first films for, then, Robert Downey (without the Jr.).  Two other co-stars were Suzanne Snyder (Deb) and Judie Aronson (Hilly).  All of them went on to further their acting careers except Ilan Mitchell-Smith (a teenager myself at the the time, I had a crush on him when I saw this movie, especially in the scene where he's wearing LeBrock's underwear!... *ahem!*...more on him later). 

A Universal Picture, the PG-13 film faired only average as it grossed $16.3 million, his second lowest grossing film as a director.  Still, it's a cult classic and even today young people find it entertaining.

Here is some more behind-the-scenes information regarding "Weird Science"...

1.  John Hughes wrote this film in two days.
2.  The film is titled after the anthology comic book series, published in the 1950s by the legendary William M. Gaines and his company EC Comics, which also published Tales from the Crypt and Mad Magazine. The plot of the film is loosely based on the story "Made of the Future" by Al Feldstein, from the fifth issue. Producer Joel Silver had acquired all EC film rights in the early 1980s.
3.  Having previously acted the role of Rusty in the film, "National Lampoon's Vacation," Anthony Michael Hall passed on starring in its sequel, "European Vacation" to be in "Weird Science."
4.  Kelly LeBrock initially turned down the role of Lisa, as she was vacationing in France at the time and was "having too much fun riding horses on the beach."
5.  Anthony Michael Hall makes a reference to a girlfriend from Canada. His character "Brian" from "The Breakfast Club" also makes a reference to an imaginary girlfriend from Canada.
6.  High-tech for it's time, Wyatt's computer is a Memotech MTX512 with an FDX add-on.
7.  One of the pictures Gary & Wyatt feed into the scanner to create Lisa is of David Lee Roth. The version of "Pretty Woman" that plays later when Lisa is in the mall was recorded by Van Halen when Roth was the lead singer.
8.  In the John Hughes documentary, "Don't You Forget About Me," Kelly LeBrock describes her character Lisa as "Mary Poppins with breasts."
9.  Kelly LeBrock's character name was inspired by Apple Computer's first GUI computer, the Apple Lisa.
10.  In an interview at Comic-Con, Kelly LeBrock said when she did the kissing scene with 14-year-old Ilan Mitchell-Smith he got carried away and stuck his tongue down her throat. Afterwards she told him, "If you ever do that again I'm going to kick your ass!"

11.  According to Bill Paxton, Chet's line "How about a nice greasy pork sandwich served in a dirty ashtray?" was based on something his father John Paxton used to say to him when Bill was hungover from a night of drinking.

12.  The piano girl (Kym Malin) actually performed her own stunts.

13.  The Time magazine that Gary and Wyatt accidentally create a nuclear missile from is the January 31, 1983 issue.   

14.  Vernon Wells, who plays the Lord General (lead biker) reprises nearly the same character he played in 1981's "Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior."  He essentially wears the same makeup, mohawk, mesh tank top, and lots of studded leather.

15.  The goodbye scene between Anthony Michael Hall, Ilan Mitchell-Smith and Kelly LeBrock moved John Hughes to tears.

16.  According to Robert Downey, Jr. in a 1997 interview with Playboy, he defecated in Kelly LeBrock's trailer.  Why?  He said he did it because he was angry at director John Hughes.

17.  The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films (yes, there is such a thing) nominated the Saturn Award for Best Performance by a Young Actor to Ilan Mitchell-Smith for his role as Wyatt in "Weird Science."

18.  Before "Weird Science," Ilan Mitchell-Smith was studying ballet and was noticed at a ballet by a talent agent working for director Sidney Lumet. After "Weird Science," he went on to do a few other movies and TV shows on up through the year 1991. He then decided to pursue and study the medieval culture, having gained both a B.A. and M.A. in that field. The last known bit of information on him is that in 2009 he was the Assistant Professor in the English department at California State University, Long Beach specializing in Medieval English Literature. On leaving acting to pursue a career in academia, he said, "Choosing to do something I love, even if it's about knights and chivalry, is a valid choice. I'm happy doing what I'm doing."

And now you know.

This was Hall's 5th major motion picture, Mitchell-Smith's 3rd, and LeBrock's 2nd.  Was the movie a bit corny?  Perhaps in parts.  But there were many memorable scenes in it which helps make it a Totally Awesome Movie of the 80s!  If you haven't already, rent or buy this film and sit down and watch it (bra on your head or no bra on your head, I'll leave that up to you).

Here are some pictures from the film...

Lisa: So, what would you little maniacs like to do first?

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