Now Playing: ONE CRAZY SUMMER
I had a good time on this rainy afternoon catching up with ONE CRAZY SUMMER, a barely memorable '80s movie that I saw in theaters and had a good time with. It stars John Cusack and was directed by Savage Steve Holland, who had teamed up the year before to make BETTER OFF DEAD..., which I think most people of a certain age have seen ("I want my two dollars!"). SUMMER has an oddball cast of familiar faces, including Demi Moore as the love interest, Bobcat Goldthwait (whom I hated back then), Mark Metcalf of ANIMAL HOUSE, Joe Flaherty of SCTV, Curtis Armstrong (then riding high as Booger in REVENGE OF THE NERDS and about to join the cast of MOONLIGHTING), Bill Murray's brother Joel (not to be confused with brother John Murray, who starred in MOVING VIOLATIONS about that time), impressionist Rich Little, "Sniglet" king Rich Hall from NOT NECESSARILY THE NEWS (I was a big fan of that HBO series), and Jeremy Piven, now big on ENTOURAGE.
SUMMER is marked by the same absurdist humor and colorful animation blackouts that were popular in BETTER OFF DEAD..., so it's strange that this unofficial sequel should have fallen off the map. It's nothing special, of course, but it does engender some warm memories and a bit of sympathy towards its misfit characters, and I remember the audience cheering at one shot near the end where the heavies receive their comeuppance.
I picked up the DVD awhile back in a Wal-Mart bargain bin for $5.99. It's been out for awhile, but was never anything approaching a must-buy. Now that I've seen it, I'm glad I bought it, because, in addition to the movie, the disc features a commentary track by director Holland and actors Armstrong and Goldthwait. This is a funny and entertaining commentary and a bonus I wasn't expecting. These three are obviously having a good time watching the movie together and do a lot of laughing and ribbing--of the movie and each other. They also dish a little bit of dirt; for instance, Mark Metcalf was reportedly a surly presence on set, and Murray, a novice actor, was sometimes nervous before takes.
The three seem to tread lightly on the subject of John Cusack, maybe because he still holds some power in an industry where they still work. In an online interview I once read, director Holland said he and Cusack had a falling out after the movie was completed in which the star trashed the film and its unusual comic style.
I don't know how you feel about DVD commentaries--some people never listen to them--but this one is almost like getting two movies for the price of one. It's almost as entertaining as watching the movie itself.
I hope Thanksgiving was a good time for all. I spend the afternoon in Urbana at my aunt and uncle's house with my dad, my cousins, and some of my uncle's relatives. We used to spend a lot of Thanksgivings with this part of the family when I was a kid, and it's interesting to note that some things never change. My cousin and I were, once again, relegated to the "kids' table" in the kitchen. Ah, well, at least we were closer to the food.