The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension
1984, Sherwood Productions
Mind-bendingly bizarre, irrationally odd, impenetrably convoluted, uniquely unclassifiable... Buckaroo Banzai has been confounding filmgoers for over three decades. And I'll confess here and now: I'm a yuuuge fan; it remains unmoved from my top five film faves of all time. This quirky, never-to-be-replicated confection carries an unwritten warning: "You either get it or you don't (and if you do, here's a cookie)." What makes it even better is it's totally self-aware, flaunting its own internal references.
My memory of seeing it for the first time remains clear. An old friend of mine joined me and my wife for our semi-regular movie night. About fifteen minutes into the video, my wife left the room. But my friend and I stuck it out, and when it was done, we found ourselves staring at one another, jaws agape. "What did we just see?" one of us muttered, whereupon we agreed to watch it again. When the next opportunity arose, I talked my wife into sticking with it, which she did—much to her delight. For years since that time, we held "save the world" night on a semi-monthly basis, where we'd chant certain lines of dialog on cue (somewhat like Rocky Horror audiences), then laugh hysterically.
Those readers who've seen it—and got it—know of what I speak. You've noticed how Buckaroo pervades every aspect of popular culture in the film's self-contained universe... how the music score always references the "oscillation overthruster" theme... how many of the sub-plot threads are never resolved—and you don't care. Kind of freaky, isn't it? If you've somehow missed this precious film, and might enjoy something vaguely akin to Americanized Monty Python (in an obscure, tangential way impossible to articulate), please see it.
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