Triumphant geeks have always been a common theme of writer/director John Hughes, but that triumph was never achieved as raucously as it was in 1985’s Weird Science – a screenplay which took the high school movie guru just two days to write.
Among the feats of sex-starved no-hope geek boys Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith): vanquishing a psycho older brother, gaining popularity and acceptance at school, and best of all, getting the girls – both the computer-generated kind and the real kind.
With a little Frankenstein-type mission on the brain, Gary convinces Wyatt to sit down at his souped-up computer and go to work on an interactive onscreen lady friend.
But with the lightning brewing outside, the bras atop their heads and the Barbie doll hooked up to the hardware, it’s inevitable the boys take things a little too far . . .
Behold Lisa (Kelly LeBrock). Named after the computer (the Apple Lisa) on which she was designed, she is beautiful, brilliant and capable of some treacherous hocus-pocus. She also does their washing, cleaning and cooking – feminists will loathe this film.
Lisa fast becomes the boys’ well-needed mentor of cool. She brings them to a steamy nightclub, where they’re instant hits with the regulars; she hosts a whopper of a party at Wyatt’s house, where her duties include freezing Wyatt’s absurd grandparents and dealing with the gang of killer mutants who crash the festivities.
But most importantly, she teaches Wyatt and Gary how to stand up for themselves – which in this case, means facing off against the gun-toting, wedgie-bestowing older brother Chet (Bill Paxton), and, as if that’s not bad enough, a beastly biker type (played by Vernon Wells, reprising his Mad Max 2 role).
It’s enough to say that in the end, everyone gets what they deserve.
With that geek-dream-come-true premise and a quirky, catchy theme song from Oingo Boingo, Weird Science quickly became a favourite of the timid and nerdy.
The movie spawned a spin-off television series in 1994, of which 48 episodes were made, but more importantly, it inspired legions of lonely computer club members to fire up the old Apple IIe, Commodore 64 or Atari 130XE and pray for a lightning storm.
Anthony Michael Hall
Robert Downey Jr
Anne Bernadette Coyle