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Friday, April 13, 2012

Double Feature Friday: 80's Nerd Edition

Let's say that you have some buddies coming over to hang out, have a few drinks, and just relax this Friday night. Sure, you could challenge their tastes with a little Jodorowsky (and trust me, I often do), but I have a sneaking suspicion that an 80's nostalgia night would go over a little better. These movies are lighthearted and silly while celebrating the brainiac in all of us. So put on your glasses, smartypants, and queue up these movies. (Watch Jodorowsky afterward if you're feeling particularly brilliant.)

Perhaps the best 80's theme song goes to Revenge of the Nerds (1984, Jeff Kanew). A handful of nerds attend college hoping for a new beginning, but they discover that the bullying doesn't stop when high school ends. This movie has become a classic for its ridiculous laughs and cheap thrills. Of course, it doesn't hurt that nerds get revenge on jocks the old fashioned way: by taking their women and beating them at their own frat games. It's like Animal House for geeks. And, as everyone knows, nerds make better music, so the film has to culminate in a fabulous electronic musical number.

Revenge of the Nerds

Now, the feminist in me has to disclose that there is a panty raid in this film. When I recently watched this, I thought about how all of the nerds would certainly be on the sex offender registry. There's also the fact that [SPOILER ALERT] head-geek Lewis (Robert Carradine) disguises himself as a jock and has sex with the jock's cheerleader girlfriend. Instead of being alarmed at her rape, the cheerleader is thrilled at Lewis's sexual prowess and becomes HIS girlfriend. Now that I've gotten that bit of feminism out of the way, I'll say that it's a delightful, ridiculous (if problematic) movie that has all of the farting, belching, beer-drinking, innuendo, and childish behavior that a Friday night film should include. Sidebar: my 7th grade science teacher had a test bonus question asking the name of the nerds' frat, and I'm happy to report that my 12 year old self knew it was Lambda Lambda Lambda.

After that, you'll probably want something even more lighthearted. I turn to 1985's Real Genius (Martha Coolidge). Long before Val Kilmer donned the Batsuit or was a member of the Doors, he was a teenage genius helping to develop laser technology. When I think of all of the "cool" tech startup dudes out there today, I can honestly say that they have modeled themselves after this role. Kilmer's Chris Knight is edgy, fun, rebellious, and of course, boyishly handsome.

Okay, I admit it: there's only one thing I want to see from an 80's movie, and it's nerdy revenge on The Man. I think that filling an entire with popcorn and cooking it with a laser is a pretty great revenge idea. How many movies can you think of where a house explodes with popcorn? Not nearly enough for my taste.

Real Genius

Now go forth and nerd it up for humanity's sake. Nerd power!

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