“They’re the last bunch in the world you’d expect to win anything … But with this crowd anything can happen!” Let’s face it – you either enjoy the wacky, absurd humor of Savage Steve Holland in such 80’s classics as Better Off Dead (1985) and One Crazy Summer or you hate it – there’s simply no middle ground! I for one wish he had made more films in the 1980s. In fact, just about everyone I chat with who was around when these flicks came out has fond memories of them. John Cusack portrays recent high school graduate and aspiring artist “Hoops McCann,” who is persuaded by his buddy “George Calamari” (Joel Murray, Bill’s little brother) to join him for the summer on Nantucket Island. Of course, some crazy shit goes down as Hoops falls for rock singer “Cassandra” (Demi Moore), who is fighting to keep the family homestead out of the clutches of greedy land developer “Aquilla Beckersted” (Mark “Neidermeyer” Metcalf) and his moronic son “Teddy” (Matt Mulhern). It all boils down to a winner-take-all sailing regatta. Forget about the story and just enjoy the zany antics of Hoops and his posse, which includes “Ack Ack Raymond” (Curtis Armstrong) and idiotic twin brothers “Egg and Clay Stork” (Bobcat Goldthwait and Tom Villard). One of my favorite scenes is when Goldthwait dons a Godzilla costume, catches fire and wreaks havoc on a model development. Meanwhile, Moore takes the proceedings so seriously you would think she’s auditioning for a role in Ibsen’s A Doll House. Also look for William Hickey as “Old Man Beckerstead,” Joe Flaherty as “General Raymond,” Kimberly Foster as “Cookie Campbell,” Rich Hall as “Wilbur,” Taylor Negron as “Taylor,” Billie Bird as “Grandma Calamari,” John Matuszak as “Stan,” Jeremy Piven as “Ty,” Bruce Wagner as “Uncle Frank” and Rich Little as “Radio Contest DJ.” The excellent soundtrack includes “Easy Street” (David Lee Roth), “Be Chrool to Your Scuel” (Twisted Sister), “Dirty Dog” (ZZ Top), “Would I Lie to You” (Eurythmics), “Born to be Wild” (Steppenwolf) and “In My Room” (The Beach Boys). Check out the two Siskel and Ebert bunnies that get blown up in the animated sketch at the end of the movie (the two critics has reportedly given a “Thumbs Down” to Better Off Dead!
Useless Trivia: The name “Hoops McCann” was taken from “Glamour Profession,” a Steely Dan song: “He’s a crowd pleasing man/One on one/He’s schoolyard superman/Crashing the backboard/He’s Jungle Jim again …”
Also Recommended: Better Off Dead , Summer Rental