Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Fun with Buckaroo Banzai

I’d recently told my blogging friend Mikey over at Wolfmans Cult Film Club that, being a fan of science fiction, he might get a kick out of the The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, a sci-fi/comedy/adventure released in 1984 that, at the time, went nowhere, but which now has a fervent cult following. I’ve already seen it a bazillion times, but chatting with him about it got me interested in watching it yet again this past week (which I did, twice in one night!), and when he posted an enthusiastic review a few days ago, I was thrilled that someone else had become fan, and that in some way I’d help recruit him into this select group of followers. I suddenly wanted to post something Banzai as well, and wanted to convey to those uninitiated just how much fun it really is.

And what better way to do that than with another ‘Fun with…’ entry, where everyone involved in making the film—from the director, screenwriter, and actors down to the set decorators and prop department—truly had a great time doing so. So, if you’re a dyed-in-the-wool Blue Blaze Irregular or just an everyday monkey boy, join me now as I have some fun with one of my favorite comedies, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai.

“Damn John Whorfin and the horse he rode in on!”
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
Christopher Lloyd, as John Bigbooté
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Watching ‘The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai’ from beginning to end is like coming into the
middle chapters of some hilariously overplotted, spaced-out 1930’s adventure serial,
neither the beginning nor the end of which ever comes into sight. At its best,
which it frequently is, it’s a lunatic ball, an extremely genial,
witty example of what is
becoming a movie genre all its own. That is, the science-fiction farce…
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
– Vincent Canby, The New York Times, 1984
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“We were laughing ourselves silly ALL THE TIME…”
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
– John Lithgow
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“‘Buckaroo Banzai’ was one of my total favorites. I think that movie was way
ahead of its time, and it should have been a movie that had three sequels.
If you watch that movie now, it’s just brilliant.”

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa – Ellen Barkin
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Ranked #43 on Entertainment Weekly’s list
of the Top 50 cult movies of all time.
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“I had no idea what that movie was about, I still don’t, but I had a ball making it…”
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaxaaaaa
Peter Weller
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The most important thing I did in Hollywood was make ‘Buckaroo Banzai’, and the fact that
it’s excited so many generations of people, well, that’s what art should be doing all the time.
If you like ‘Buckaroo Banzai’, I suspect you’re gonna do good things, because it’s
a good-hearted movie and it advocates cooperation, fearless exploration, crazy possibilities,
and has a strange sense of humor about the way this planet works. We might as well
be able to laugh at it as well as take it seriously.
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
– W.D. Richter, director
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“So what, big deal.”

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaxxxxxxxxaaaaa– Black Lectroid Commander
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4 comments on “Fun with Buckaroo Banzai

  1. You know it Todd, it’s the film that keeps giving. I can rest soundly at night now knowing that the cult in my blog title is truly worthy of its name now that Buckaroo as been included.

    haha You crazy bro, I can’t believe you watched it twice in one night! Now that’s love. Thanks for the linkage and thanks for adding these fun quotes about the film. What a shame the sequel wasn’t made as they all sound like they had the time of their lives on set.

    That Vincent Canby review of the film is completely spot on and hilarious. And Peter Weller’s “I had no idea what that movie was about, I still don’t, but I had a ball making it…” too funny.

    • Todd Benefiel
      5/27/19

      Yes, you are now definitely a ‘cult film club’ with Buckaroo Banzai under your belt! And it was funny to search for those quotes, and find an interview with Ellen Barkin, where she discussed nearly (if not all) of her roles, and with many said some no-so-complimentary things about the experience…but as you saw with her comments on BB, she was nothing but thrilled to have worked on it.

      I think it’s so cool that, even though a sequel was never made, the end of the film has a promise of one…as if it will always be a possibility! And normally I don’t agree with Canby’s reviews, but with this one I made an exception!

      • I’m fired up that I’m now a fully fledged bonanza member of the Buckaroo Banzai club. TBH I could hang up my mitts and walk off into the distance like David Banner with a sad piano music playing as my soundtrack. But how could I leave when I learn titbits of information like Ellen Barkin have the time of her movie career on BB. That’s so good to hear.

      • Todd Benefiel
        6/2/19

        You are indeed fully-fledged, fully-indoctrinated, and fully-converted! There are all kinds of cool things to track down and learn about BB; in fact, I think I’ll be posting something along those lines in August. In the meantime…watch it again!

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