With Weird Science, John Hughes dialed down the awkwardness of the teen angst and came up with what I consider to be a perfect comic fantasy. This one is less painful than any of his movies, except maybe Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. But actually, even Ferris Bueller had that long sequence where you keep thinking he’s gonna get caught, and I prefer for my perfect comedy not to leave me tense. Plus, Weird Science has the supernatural element going for it. So I’m going to come right out and say that this is my favorite John Hughes movie, if not my favorite teen comedy period. I mean, the blue kitchen, the greasy pork sandwich line, the people from the bar showing up at the party, the clothes, the hair, the grandparents frozen in the closet, the half naked girl flying out through the chimney…I love every second of this movie.
Although I never thought of this as a Frankenstein movie, probably because I never was a fan of Frankenstein movies until just a few weeks before I started doing this on Fridays, it obviously is one. However, even though it does count as part of the genre, I can’t find any comparisons beyond the most superficial. I mean, I guess you could say that both Gary and Wyatt have the issues with their fathers not accepting them that the monster had with Dr. Frankenstein in the novel, but that’s about it.
Before re-watching this tonight, I had not seen it in about 15 years! I still loved all the classic lines, but of course I noticed some things through my late thirties, Looking Too Deeply Into Movies eyes too. I was trying to remember in preparation for watching it if there was any explanation for Lisa and her powers, and wondering if I would care. There wasn’t, but I didn’t. I mean, when you think about it, there’s never any real rational explanation for the Frankenstein story, and in the case of this one, an explanation would destroy the fantasy. Better to let the movie just wash over you, like a nice hot shower while wearing your jeans.
I also realized that Anthony Michael Hall seemed to me in the 80s to be playing the same character from Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club here in Weird Science, but he really wasn’t. In the other two movies, there was never a good reason why the character shouldn’t be ostracized as a geek, other than that it’s wrong to do that to people. But as Gary, he really was a likable, funny character in his moments talking alone with Wyatt at the beginning of the movie. He was more than a geek even before Lisa came along and made them cool. And that, in my adult eyes, points to the real fantasy here: if you allow yourself to be as authentic and confident with everyone as you are with your best friend, all your problems will be solved. Wouldn’t that be something? I’m still hoping that someday it might come true.
P.S. If you are from the 80s, like me, do you still have trouble accepting Anthony Michael Hall as anything but a skinny teenager? It doesn’t matter how many times I see him as a beefy adult, my mind still wants to make him into Gary/Brian/the Geek. It’s jarring to watch him now.
P.P.S. Fun fact: Weird Science was the movie I went to see on my very first date. Aww.