Geek Cred Across the 8th Dimension

It was 1984 and the Star Wars saga had finished up. I couldn’t get too worked up about the Star Trek films which were hit-or-miss. Indiana Jones was doused pretty quickly with the overstuffed second film. What else was there?

I was in a film class in art school, and the teacher was trying to work up the enthusiasm to talk to his class about the art of editing. He didn’t get too far; decided to phone it in and let us go early so we could catch Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope which was reissued at the time and playing in an art house theater. I knew about the film and thought it was lousy as far as learning anything about editing being that Hitchcock tried to film it all in one continuous take. There’s no editing in it! So I went to see The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension instead.

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension is not a great film, but it’s a goofy fun one. If you’re not familiar with it, the movie is about a brilliant scientist/musician played by Peter Weller who fights crime along with his fellow adventurers and band mates The Hong Kong Cavaliers. The group saves the world from an alien invasion led by a hyperactive John Lithgow who has a wonderful time chewing up the scenery. It’s like Doc Savage crash-landed in the 80s with a whole lot of hair gel and shoulder pads thrown in. It seemed like it was on the cutting edge at the time. Now it looks kind of like a Duran Duran video.

The movie was a flop. It was probably too weird for audiences at the time, and the whole thing desperately needed a big action sequence which it never delivered, but it had its fans, and I was one of them. There was a fan club that printed a newsletter and provided the sad little tin button above. It was no where near as professionally done as the Star Wars Fan Club, but it had its followers concerned about the continued adventures of Dr. Banzai. We were hoping that with enough of a following we could convince studios that sequels would be made. If we applied enough pressure, Buckaroo Banzai vs. The World Crime League – the unfilmed followup mentioned during the end credits – would see the light of day!

The fan club members were known as The Blue Blaze Irregulars. My code name was Bazooka Joe.

There were probably some valid reasons why I didn’t get married until I was in my 30s.

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