Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I too, am a Buckaroo...

...or a Blue Blaze Irregular...
On The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai across the 8th Dimension:

I've had the closing music from this film running through my head for 26 years...no joke. Finally sat down with a friend to watch it last night, and I can honestly say neither of us expected too much.
Wow, I haven't been "instantly in-love" with a movie in a long time. The Straight Story, maybe...only a few ever worked like this. I can't stop smiling but I have no idea even how to discuss this film...it is just so unique. Had a sense, going in, that I wouldn't "get" it at all, having not seen it younger and in that 80's mindset, but that's the thing about a clever movie - it doesn't matter at all when a clever movie was made - just that you found it. Casablanca was a great reminder of this.
No wonder Buckaroo's had a following since it's release in 1984 - I think you'd see more films like this...if they didn't cost money. It seems to be a direct relationship between the watering down process and the budget for most films being made these days, Avatar being a great example; the 2 billion dollar movie whose "originality" could fit into any 2 minutes of Buckaroo Banzai, which ironically made about 2 cents.
And originality is the name of the game here.

As I try to figure out why I liked this so much I realize I don't want to...not completely. It really seems the only way to enjoy this as much as we do, was to make it...cool. The whole thing has such an honest energy, as though the world already loved this guy - this adventure, and the actors knew it(believed it). It's too bad this movie is smarter than most of the people who watch movies...so were The Thing and Blade Runner, etc...unfortunate, but at least films like Bubba Ho-tep can bridge the gap while were waiting for rare moments of genius.

It had to be Buckaroo's crazy script that got that amazing group of actors so enthusiastic, and maybe a director who knew how good it was. Buuuut, unlike say Zodiac, which really seems to be a singular director's vision, this seems to be a confluence of elements creating something far better than the sum of it's parts. There's a density to this film I didn't expect either, as though the continuing saga was guaranteed, and you just needed to hop on for this adventure and subsequent films would fill in the blanks...it has an absolute confidence in itself without being pretentious or self-aware...I wish I could know more people like this film.

The scene at the end with an alien Christopher Lloyd furiously correcting the pronunciation of his name...extraordinary. This now ranks among my absolute favorite film scenes ever, standing in such company as Holy Grail and even, dare-I-say-it .. Apocalypse Now or The Godfather...because it really comes down to two great actors making a good script into a brilliant scene. Does it work?..does it entertain??

My thanks to all the boys and girls who made Buckaroo happen...
I honestly can't remember the last time I enjoyed any 2 hours this much.


Allana said...

"I wish I could know more people like this film." Well said.

For the record: I loved Bubba Ho-Tep.

arthurmacarthur said...

Oh, me too..