Movies We Love: One Crazy Summer

Movies We LoveIn the immediate wake of high-school graduation from Generic High School, Hoops McCann, an aspiring cartoon artist, is searching for a subject for his love story. Believing he’ll never find inspiration in Generic he decides to take his best friend up on his offer to spend the summer in Nantucket.

On their way to the island Hoops helps save a small-time musician, Cassandra, from some motorcycle thugs and begins a friendship that soon develops into a romance. When his new summer love interest’s home gets threatened by a rich family looking to expand their estate, Hoops, along with his newfound nerd compatriots on the island, come up with a plan to save Cassandra’s home and exact revenge on their tormentors.

Why We Love It

“You ever notice how people die in alphabetical order?”

While probably not as well known as writer/director “Savage” Steve Holland’s other ‘80s teen comedy Better Off Dead, I will be bold and state that this follow up is funnier. It makes me laugh harder. Better Off Dead is one of the most imaginative teen comedies ever and holds up extremely well to repeat viewings without ever losing any of its potency, but if I’m going to pick one off my DVD shelf to watch seven times out of ten I’ll grab One Crazy Summer for one simple reason: Better Off Dead does not have Bobcat Goldthwait anywhere in the movie.

On the other hand, One Crazy Summer has him almost everywhere in the movie, and if he’s in the scene at all that scene will be funny – and I will laugh until I feel like I’m about to throw up. He invokes involuntary bulimia in me.

From the moment Egg (Goldthwait) and his twin brother Clay (not Goldthwait at all, but a good complement as the sensitive half of the initial zygote) step out of their tow truck and stand on the wrong side of each other to accurately display their newly bought “I’m With Stupid” and “I’m Stupid” shirts (and then declare the shirts broken), it’s apparent that the two are going to make all of their scenes memorable. All of them. Even scenes that focus solely on telling a story about a little fat boy. In fact, especially scenes which focus on telling a story about a little fat boy.

The rest of the cast is made up of a mix of actors from Holland’s first film (Cusack again as the lead and Curtis Armstrong again as a supporting friend) along with Joel Murray as the best friend and a young Demi Moore as the obviously not lip-syncing good-natured musician Cassandra. Throw in some of the odd eccentricities of Holland’s humor displayed in Better Off Dead and a similarly snobbish blond-haired egotist with accompanying cronies – including a young Jeremy Piven who looks exactly like middle-aged Jeremy Piven who looks just like youngest Jeremy Piven from Lucas which was released the same year as One Crazy Summer – and you have Better Off Dead with a slightly brighter and less isolated tone.

Moment We Fell In Love

Egg has a very unique method of greeting people. When Hoops and George arrive on the island Egg and Clay are there to meet them at the docks. Having never met Hoops before, Egg would like to formally introduce himself politely. What comes out is “Hi, it’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance” as spoken by Porky Pig if he had Tourettes as only Goldthwait can do. The script probably read “Hi, it’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance,” but what came out was something like:

“Hi! I.ii.i.iii.i.ii…..AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!” while pulling Cusack closer to his face and then politely saying the line.

Final Thoughts

I remembered first catching One Crazy Summer on television when I was relatively young. As a young adult all I remembered about the movie was the regatta at the close of the film and since I hadn’t seen Better Off Dead by that point I watched both in sequence. So, this wasn’t some instance of childhood nostalgia of why I like One Crazy Summer more. It just happens to destroy my guts.

It also goes down a little easier than Better Off Dead, which despite being very comical feels occasionally dreary and depressing. Maybe it’s the snowy weather, or the incredibly awkward family, or maybe it’s that our main character just got dumped by his girlfriend and he contemplates suicide. I really don’t know, but even though One Crazy Summer is made from the same material (almost exactly the same actually) the change of setting and the different circumstances of the hero’s plight help Summer be a more approachable film to spend the night with.

Fall in love all over again with more Movies We Love

Adam Charles has been a film fantatic and unhealthily obsessive purchaser of films he's never seen since the late '90s. He's lived in Austin, TX since 1992 and dropped out of college when he realized his full time job would better fund his dvd (now blu-ray) and movie poster addiction than his passion probably ever could. He is nearly out of financial debt, but it's gonna be another decade or so before he catches up on watching everything he's irresponsibly purhcased. He has written in the past for Collider.com and Horrorsnotdead.com, and can be found on twitter as @the_beef - a label he's had since well before Shia LeBeouf was even a sperm and therefore Adam wins.

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