Movies & TV / Columns

Misunderstood Masterpieces: Weird Science

April 12, 2005 | Posted by Will Helm

Yes, dear readers . . . you might actually learn something from this one.

In the 1790s, an Italian professor of anatomy, Luigi Galvani, discovered something quite interesting: an electrical charge, channeled through a steel scalpel, could make a dissected frog’s legs twitch when applied to a major nerve. This led him to hypothesize that all animals possessed a type of innate electricity, which was the power source of life. When thought of in relative terms – that all matter is made up of atoms and, therefore, subatomic, charged particles, this makes sense. To Galvani’s contemporary, Italian physicist Alessandro Volta, this didn’t make much sense at all. Volta, a major figure in the dawning study of electricity, took Galvani’s experiments and turned them on their respective ears. Volta found the notion of “animal electricity” absurd and, through painstaking experimentation, created electricity from purely inorganic means. How was it done? Volta, in or around 1800, stacked alternating plates of silver and zinc in a haphazard column. Sandwiched between each plate were pieces of absorbent material impregnated with salt water, which is – as we know from Gatorade commercials – a fairly efficient electrolyte. Unsurprisingly, Volta’s so-called “voltaic pile” produced electricity and great lauds and praises were foisted in his direction.

Galvani, meanwhile, faded away into obscurity, dying a penniless exile in 1798. That is not to say that his experiments in the field of bio-electricity were forgotten thanks to Volta’s knack of upstaging him. You see, around the same time, the worldly, exiled couple of Percy and Mary Shelley were gallivanting around Italy; the two Britons caught wind of Galvani’s experiments and the ingenious, mysterious, and – in some ways – atheistic nature of it all inspired Mary to compose her legendary novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, published in 1818. Frankenstein, which could easily be considered one of the earliest novels of science fiction, would serve as the antecedent for many, many works of stage, screen, and – perhaps most significantly – film. Beginning as early as 1910, there are scores of films based directly and indirectly from Shelley’s masterwork; there’s been quite a few Frankenstein films, The Bride of Frankenstein, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, The Evil of Frankenstein, Frankenstein Created Woman, Andy Warhol’s Flesh for Frankenstein, the always-awesome Young Frankenstein . . . just to name a few. Whew.

So, what does all of this have to do with today’s picture? Well, I’ll tell you. He’s going to tell! He’s going to tell! He’s going to . . . STOP THAT! It’s silly. Thank you, lord of Swamp Castle. Anyway, for some reason, John Hughes – purveyor of the quasi-legendary ‘80s teen films Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and the like (one of those sounds familiar) – decided to write and direct a retelling of Frankenstein for the computer age. And, perhaps to make the task even more difficult, said film was also to be yet another teenage comedy! The result, released in 1985, is Weird Science; now, I won’t say whether it’s good or bad just yet, but it certainly is a Misunderstood Masterpiece. Don’t believe me? Read on, true believers . . .

In the wonderfully fictitious town of Shermer, Illinois, two teenaged dorks, Wyatt Donnelly (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) and Gary Wallace (Anthony Michael Hall, legendary member of the John Hughes Repertory Theater) watch a girls’ gym class. Instead of imagining doing very distasteful things to these nubile young virgins, Wyatt and Gary simply dream of showering with them and then partying with them. Wow. That’s . . . tame. Then again, it could be a golden shower they’re referring to, so I could be wrong. Gary, since he’s the “crazier” of the two, gets quite out of control with his fantasies. Luckily, Wyatt has the decency to calm him down before he goes off on a monologue about his love of scat play. After things settle down, Gary and Wyatt focus their attention on two random chicks on the other side of the gym. Just as they begin to concentrate on the youthful hotties, two cool guys, Max (Robert Rusler) and Ian (Robert Downey, Jr.), pants them, much to Gary’s and Wyatt’s collective chagrins.

After the public humiliation – for now, we cut to the opening credits and OINGO BOINGO! Ah . . . there’s nothing like the dulcet tones of 411Movies Lifetime Achievement Award-winner Danny Elfman. It’s too bad the score was actually written by Ira Newborn, though. I guess the world wasn’t ready for the awesomeness that is Elfman in 1985 . . . even though he had already scored Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. Well, maybe they were slightly ready. After the credits cease, we shift our scene to the stately home of Mr. and Mrs. Donnelly, wherein Wyatt and Gary are hanging out while the lord and lady of the manor are . . . elsewhere. Actually, it’s just a dull, suburban home where Wyatt watches television on his bed and Gary plays with shaving cream in the bathroom. Ah, there’s nothing like bizarre outlets for sexual frustration. It seems that Wyatt and Gary are not to be alone that night as Wyatt’s elder brother Chet is coming back from military school to watch over the young men. Ah, they need a little direction in their lives. Then again, Gary is quite put out by the information, as it seems that Chet isn’t exactly a paragon of virtue. We shall see, I believe.

After settling in, the guys pass the time by watching a terribly colorized version of Frankenstein or Bride of Frankenstein or one of those old Boris Karloff opuses. Ah . . . there’s nothing more wonderful than public domain film. The archaic classic, combined with Gary’s raging adolescent hormones, inspires our young hero to propose a risky venture to his young associate: he wants to make a woman. Wyatt, rightfully, is apprehensive at the news, as the concept of digging up newly deceased corpses of HOT CHICKS just does not appeal to him. Gary, meanwhile, toes the line between genius and madness when he elaborates on his plan; it seems that he does not actually want to CREATE a woman, but stimulate a woman. Honestly . . . who doesn’t? Oh . . . wait . . . “simulate,’ not “stimulate.” My bad there. Perhaps readying for his later role as technological wunderkind Bill Gates, Gary explains that he wants to utilize Wyatt’s state-of-the-art (for 1985) computer set-up to program a female simulation that they can interact with and learn from. Just as long as he doesn’t stick his junk in the disk drive, everything ought to be alright.

Once on Wyatt’s system, which probably still runs on DOS and has about 128k of RAM, the guys have some anatomical fun with vector graphics, designing desirable mammalian spheroids. After they finish up this phase, Gary is a bit put out by the fact that their simulation lacks any real brain power; you’d think he’d want looser morals and less of an ability to question authority, but if that’s what he wants who am I to argue? Wyatt, heeding his partner’s wishes, somehow hacks into a secret government mainframe in search of more computing power. J.O.S.H.U.A. would be proud. Gary, meanwhile, seemingly goes into a trance, after which he and Wyatt feed random pictures into the computer – somehow – including a picture of David Lee Roth. Why? No clue. But I’m sure it’ll make sense later. Anyway, for some unexplained reason, they get the bright idea to hook up some electrodes to a random fashion doll and, just after that, the computer goes haywire! Demon doll! Demon doll! All hell, unsurprisingly at this point, breaks loose as the computer becomes possessed and the house is struck by lightning! See . . . I told you that doll was evil.

Luckily, after the lightning strikes, things calm down in a hurry . . . until Wyatt’s bedroom door starts bulging larger and larger and then finally explodes! Whoa . . . that was unexpected. Then there, standing in the doorway, is neither Beelzebub nor Asmodeus but a HOT CHICK (Kelly LeBrock) in her comfy cotton unmentionables. I’m impressed; it actually worked. Unsurprisingly, the first thing the guys do, instead of asking where she came from, why she’s there, or what she’s doing in her underwear: they take a shower with her. While the technologically created HOT CHICK showers off, the guys stand in the back of the shower, in awe and still in their pants. Later, after the aquatic interlude, the guys get dressed in their finest finery; it must not be good enough as, after they step through the threshold of Wyatt’s room, their clothes magically change into something much cooler . . . for 1985. Now that the guys are miraculously hip, the HOT CHICK drives them around town in her enigmatic pink Cadillac. It is there that she finally requests to be named – since HOT CHICK will get fairly confusing later on – and Gary names her “Lisa.” Then, for no reason in particular, Gary and Wyatt argue about . . . something.

After the feud ends, Lisa and the guys end up at a soul bar; unfortunately, Otis Day and the Knights aren’t playing on the stage. So unfortunate is this development that Gary is rather unwilling to become an impetus for casual integration; Lisa, however, calms his fears because she wants to party. Wyatt, detached from the debate on race relations, goes off to the men’s lavatory, where he has the unfortunate luck to sit down on some guy’s lap in a bathroom stall. Now that’s integration! Back in the club, Gary attempts to empathize with blues music by comparing it to his maudlin suburban existence. Ah, ennui, we hardly knew ye. After some uncomfortable moments, Gary starts drinking heavily and, therefore, people start liking him more. So remember, kids: booze = popularity. Later in the evening, after mass quantities of alcohol, Gary somehow turns into Robert Johnson . . . if the blues legend were a breast-obsessed teenager. After turning the crowd to his side, Gary then falls over and says “goodbye” to everyone to put a perfect capper on the evening.

On the way back to Wyatt’s, Wyatt drives the Cadillac while Gary mumbles in Ebonics in the back seat. Lisa, meanwhile, interrogates Wyatt about just what he’s going to do about his older brother. Hmm . . . good question. As for the answer, we meet the aforementioned Chet (Bill “Game Over” Paxton), who quickly ingratiates himself to the viewing audience by intimidating his brother in a mundane extortion/blackmail scheme. After getting what he wants from his brother, Chet then turns is attention to a still-drunken Gary, who just might give Chet a little more than he bargained for, as Chet tries the best he can to get Gary to blow chunks. Instead of making with the contents of his upper gastrointestinal tract, Gary simply laughs at Chet and gently, lovingly touches Wyatt’s brother’s face. Umm . . . I do hope he’s just curious about Chet’s creepy giant white teeth; it’s a little too soon for homoeroticism at this juncture. Later that evening, Wyatt meets with Lisa in the conservatory; he’s got a revolver, she’s got the lead pipe. Actually, they make out for a bit, as Lisa is trying – perhaps vainly – to get Wyatt to loosen up a bit. Cameron Frye has NOTHING on him. You see, since Lisa is an engineered sex slave, she propositions Wyatt; unfortunately, such power is too much for Wyatt to handle, so he lacks the imagination to take advantage of the situation. I do hate it when that happens. So many possibilities, so little time.

The next day, Wyatt’s bedroom – much like the legendary John Matrix – is PERFECTLY UNHARMED! Therefore, upon awaking, Wyatt believes that he and Gary, perhaps sharing some sort of collective unconscious, dreamed their whole excellent adventure. Of course, that wouldn’t explain why Lisa is calling their names and cooking breakfast downstairs and Wyatt is mysteriously wearing Lisa’s underwear. Whoa . . . first latent homoeroticism and now transvestitism? John Hughes . . . you’re one sick bastard sometimes. Moments later, Wyatt is first to join Lisa in the kitchen, where she explains that she didn’t have a chance to pop his cherry the night before because he fell asleep. Wow . . . for a sex slave, she must really suck in the sack. And I don’t mean that literally, because that could actually be a good thing. After Lisa makes that not-so-startling revelation, she conveniently exits while Chet enters the scene. Wow . . . it’s like she’s the ghost of Hamlet’s dead father or something. Anyway, Chet, since he’s the villain – or one of the villains – of this picture takes Wyatt’s breakfast and then freaks out righteously after seeing Wyatt’s rather odd choice of wardrobe. Chet Donnelly: defender of all that is good and decent. I guess being vaguely hit on by your brother’s friend and then seeing your brother cross-dressing will do that to a person. Chet, since he perhaps isn’t exactly the moral champion he is supposed to be, as instead of having his brother committed and sterilized, he just blackmails him again. Humanity . . . such a bastion of corruption!

Later that day, at the local mall, Gary and Wyatt play with random perfume bottles as only two dimwitted teenage boys can. Some clerk chick patronizes them, since she must be one of the “popular” people; meanwhile, Lisa asks an old woman – who, oddly enough, works in a lingerie shop – whether or not a thong would turn on a fifteen-year-old boy. Listen, I’ve been a fifteen-year-old boy. There are few things that WOULDN’T turn one of us on. Silly question there, Lisa. Back in the mall, Gary and Wyatt chill out for a bit on a conveniently placed landscaping fixture. OK . . . just whose idea was it to have trees and such in the mall anyway? I can understand that it probably has something to do with the ecosystem and environment and such, but it just really seems silly to me. It must be an ‘80s thing. Anyway, while Gary and Wyatt commiserate in the man-made mid-mall forest (no snacking there), the cool guys from earlier conspire to dump a nearly full slushy down on our hapless heroes. The cool guys do the deed, much to their HOT CHICK girlfriends’ (Suzanne Snyder and Judie Aronson) chagrins. Of course, the cool HOT CHICKS debate whether or not it would be a good idea to just dump the cool guys and live the rest of their high school existence as spinsters but, like any abusive, immature boyfriend would, the cool guys apologize profusely and, of course, the naпve cool HOT CHICKS take them back with no questions asked. Meanwhile, Gloria Steinem cries a single tear of sorrow.

After the insipid reunion, the cool guys and their HOT CHICKS take the escalator down to the first floor. In the facing elevator, Lisa goes up . . . and gets the cool guys up as well, as they run up the escalator and give chase. The cool guys then catch up to Lisa outside; much to their amazement, Gary and Wyatt arrive to pick her up in a Porsche. The cool guys, even though they’re probably not capable of coherent, rational thought in general, are – unsurprisingly – confused. Lisa calms their consternation by telling them that there’s to be a party at Wyatt’s that evening and they’re welcome to come. No pun intended. Back at the Donnelly’s, Wyatt freaks out since he is the last to know that there’s a party going on within the house. Lisa, meanwhile, finally puts Wyatt in his place because she’s sick and tired of his neuroses; as are we all, Lisa . . . as are we all.

Later that evening, Lisa meets Gary’s vaguely white-trash suburban parents. Gary, meanwhile, is anxious throughout the meeting; his parents, meanwhile still, are bewildered. Then again, if my wimpy, whiny teenaged son came home with a HOT CHICK ten years his senior, I’d be pretty bewildered too. Lisa, during the course of conversation, mentions that there’s to be a party that evening, but Gary tries to cover up the situation, since he’s anxious as I mentioned before. Lisa, meanwhile, ignores Gary’s misgivings and describes, somewhat in-depth, an orgy that may or may not break out at the party that night. Gary’s parents, unsurprisingly, freak out. Lisa, since she’s a righteous, sexually liberated (and man-made) woman, puts them in their place and all seems well . . . until she confesses that Gary is so repressed that he had to “toss off” for sexual gratification. I honestly do not want to EVER know how that turn of phrase came about for wanking the weasel; it just reminds me of a certain bit of Silence of the Lambs, honestly. Although that could probably rightly be called “tossing on.” Anyway, all hell, as is wont to do in familial conflicts such as this, breaks loose. Chaos reigns supreme until Lisa takes charge by pulling a gun on Gary’s parents. Yeah . . . that’ll go over well at the next holiday gathering. Actually, it might just, as Gary’s parents see the error of their oppressive ways and come to apparently agree with Lisa’s point-of-view. Germaine Greer would be proud.

Later, in the car, Gary and Lisa chat a bit about what she’d just done; Gary, unsurprisingly, freaks out, but Lisa revels in the fact that she actually just pulled a water pistol on his parents. Of course, it was a “so-real-you’ll-get-shot-by-a-cop” replica, but a water pistol nonetheless. Meanwhile, Gary’s parents appear to suffer from some sort of short-term memory loss, indicating that Lisa may have done more than pull a squirt gun on them. There’s nothing like a good, old-fashioned mind-wipe for old time’s sake. Back at Wyatt’s, Gary, Wyatt, and Lisa prepare for the party . . . for which nearly a zillion people have arrived! Surprisingly, even the cool guys are there . . . and their HOT CHICKS too! Lisa, of course, still makes the HOT CHICKS jealous, since she’s a man-made HOT CHICK and they’re only insecure high school girls with emotionally abusive boyfriends. Then again, don’t all insecure high school girls have emotionally abusive boyfriends? I think, at this point (sadly), that goes without saying.

While the soiree goes on downstairs, Gary and Wyatt are safely sequestered in the bathroom, due to Wyatt’s incontinent, flatulent gastrointestinal tract. Gary, as always, is freaking out. Hmm . . . maybe he should date Giggly Tits; they could compare freak outs. Downstairs, the cool guys sidle up to the bar, which is manned by one of the regulars from the soul bar WAY earlier in the film. Max, the main cool guy, asks for a bottle of scotch to prove his manly worth, so the bartender kindly threatens anal penetration with some Glenlivet two wizen up the boy. After his lesson of proper, mature drinking, Max – as well as Ian – spies Lisa and the cool guys, as they did earlier, give chase once more. Meanwhile, Gary and Wyatt chat in the bathroom; just outside, the cool HOT CHICKS talk about Lisa, but all in surprisingly good terms. Maybe they see things her way now too; it’s almost like brainwashing, just more sexual. After the cool HOT CHICKS converse for a bit, they go to powder their noses – without cocaine, though – and find Gary and Wyatt hiding out in the lavatory. The HOT CHICKS join the guys in there and they share clumsy, ham-handed introductions. Ah . . . there’s nothing like a bathroom for sparking romance!

While the cool HOT CHICKS ask the guys about Lisa, the cool guys interrogate Lisa regarding her origins and her relationship with Gary and Wyatt, who they derogatorily refer to as “toads.” Back in the bathroom, the cool HOT CHICKS desire a little privacy, perhaps so a little Sapphic action can break out, so Gary and Wyatt retreat to the shower and create a plan of attack in order to invade the HOT CHICKS’ pants without upsetting Lisa. After their crash session in mating strategy, Gary and Wyatt emerge from the shower to discover a pair of Bizarro-world chicks waiting for them on the other side of the glass! Weird. Back downstairs, the cool HOT CHICKS meet up with Lisa, who gives them a bit of advice: shower with Wyatt and Gary. Hopefully not all together, though; I don’t think there’s enough room for four people and two raging erections in the shower stall. Elsewhere, just for some TENSION, Wyatt’s grandparents decide to pay him a surprise visit, since he’s all by himself . . . theoretically. Dum-dum-DUM!

Back at Wyatt’s, the cool guys, finally aware of the awesome power that nerds truly possess – for he who controls information, controls the universe – apologize to Gary and Wyatt . . . and then they propose trading the cool HOT CHICKS for Lisa. Gary and Wyatt refuse, but offer a viable substitute: they can have their own Lisa. Gary, Wyatt, and the cool guys repeat the ritual from the beginning of the picture and all hell breaks loose yet again, including, this time, all of the furniture in the living room and library getting sucked out of the house. After things settle down, the “real” Lisa comes in to scold Gary and Wyatt for their insolence and immature need to impress people. It seems that something was amiss in their second attempt: they neglected to hook up the cheap plastic doll. This oversight causes great mayhem as an ICBM, a picture of which the electrodes were touching at the time of the creation process, comes up through Wyatt’s basement, through Wyatt’s bedroom floor, and up through the roof, stopping just in time for a dove to alight on its world-ending warhead. Ah, methinks there is some loaded imagery and symbolism there, but I can’t be too sure.

Gary and Wyatt, now put in their places and bitten by their hubris, argue yet again. Downstairs, meanwhile, Wyatt’s grandparents arrive uninvited. After Wyatt’s grandfather beats a few kids with his tweed hat, Lisa confronts them and responds to their condescension by putting them in a happily catatonic state in a handy broom closet. It’s too bad that she didn’t put them in a very naughty position beforehand, though; now that would’ve been FUNNY! Or not. Gary and Wyatt, unsurprisingly after hearing the news of the fate of Wyatt’s grandparents, freak out YET AGAIN. Sheesh. I guess the key motto to a good deal of these movies is “when in doubt, freak out.” I’ve heard it’s c’est chic. Then, just to break up the monotony, Lisa orchestrates a group of post-apocalyptic bikers, who bust through the windows and into the house. Wow . . . this is like a total distillation of the ‘80s. Wyatt, YET AGAIN, freaks out. No wonder he grew up to become a history professor. True story: Ilan Mitchell-Smith left acting for a life of academia and, if my sources are correct, as of the year 2000 was a Professor of History at Texas A&M University. Strange but true, folks . . . strange but true. Then again, it would’ve been ironic had he gone into a field of applied science but, alas, life doesn’t quite work out like that sometimes. I guess being in Weird Science does that to a person. Meanwhile, Gary falls down a flight of stairs escaping from one of the psychotic mutant post-apocalyptic bikers. Ouch.

While the bikers tear up the house and terrorize the guests, Gary and Wyatt retreat and hide out in a closet together. Hmm. With the bikers holding sway over the festivities, their leader – who looks awfully familiar – enters the scene . . . and it’s our old friend Vernon Wells! Look out, guys . . . it’s Bennett Beyond Thunderdome! Lisa, sensing that her charges are perhaps shirking their duties as gracious hosts, finds them holed up in the closet together. She tries to get them to come out of the closet – which would explain all the freaking out – but they refuse, instead choosing to wallow in their status as total wimps. Wyatt surprisingly doesn’t want to die a coward . . . so one of the mutant bikers helpfully pulls him out of the closet through a wall. Wow . . . that must be like a forcible “outing” or something. Unless it symbolically means that he’s straight, since he didn’t actually come out of the closet at all. Hmm . . . I loathe mixed messages. Gary, since he doesn’t want to be all alone in the closet – har har – follows through the wall. I suppose that means he’s really straight too, then. Go figure.

With the party’s two hosts finally in front of him, Bennett Beyond Thunderdome asks them if it is, in fact, their party. After Gary and Wyatt reply in the affirmative, Bennett Beyond Thunderdome then proceeds to publicly humiliate them, which they seem to handle quite well. I’d be a little more perturbed though, because Bennett Beyond Thunderdome is absolutely killing with the material! Patton Oswalt and Dr. Pepper would be proud. Things proceed like this for a good while until the mutant bikers overstep their bounds and threaten the cool HOT CHICKS. This unjust act raises Gary’s and Wyatt’s hackles and they tell Bennett Beyond Thunderdome and his cronies that they want apologies and for them to exit, stage right. Gary, in order to put the needed exclamation point on his request, pulls a gun on Bennett Beyond Thunderdome . . . the very same gun Lisa pulled on his parents! Bennett Beyond Thunderdome, not wanting to be decapitated by an armed and dangerous teenage virgin, freaks out – it must be contagious – and he and his associates leave apologetically. Gary, elated that his gambit with the squirt gun actually worked, celebrates by waving it around and then shooting down a chandelier! I guess that means the party’s over . . .

And my assumption is correct, as everyone leaves but Lisa, Gary, Wyatt, and the cool HOT CHICKS, who now seem to like Gary and Wyatt, probably against their better judgment. Weird . . . I almost typed “butter judgment” there. I don’t want to know what that means on a Freudian level, but I can only imagine it has something to do with The Last Tango in Paris. Or the choice between creamy butter and Parkay margarine. Anyway, after the party, Wyatt, Gary, and the cool HOT CHICKS pair off; Wyatt ends up with the brunette HOT CHICK . . . and they chat. She totally wants to make out, because she’s so regretful over dating the cool guy. Meanwhile, I honestly hope Wyatt doesn’t go through with it, since he’ll only end up a rebound guy. More on that later. Elsewhere in the house, Gary and the blonde cool HOT CHICK talk; the situation is a bit awkward, though, since she seems oddly obsessed with Lisa. Hmm . . . maybe Gary can get a threesome in. It’s not impossible. Unfortunately, Gary only really wants the blonde cool HOT CHICK, so they end up making out. Maybe it’s for the best, though; she probably would’ve ended up running away with Lisa and then driving off a cliff in Arizona anyway.

The next day, the always-awesome Chet returns, with a shotgun and a goose in hand, to find the house in shambles and snow in his room. Whoa. That’s heavy, man. Chet then finds Gary and the blonde HOT CHICK; he interrogates the two and then beats them about the head with the barrel of the shotgun. After the questioning ceases, he finds Wyatt and grills him too; Chet, eternal skeptic that he is, doesn’t believe his brother, so Wyatt tells him to consult Lisa for the full story. Down in the kitchen, all of our players meet face-to-face and Chet yells indignantly at Lisa for her ill influence on the two young men. Then, just to add to the festivities, Chet finds his catatonic grandparents in the closet and – wait for it – FREAKS OUT! He then calms himself by giving his brother a wedgie. I don’t quite know how the two connect, but I suppose that’s how it is in Chet’s world. Anyway, Lisa, in order to defuse the situation, tells Gary and Wyatt to take the cool HOT CHICKS home while she has a little conversation with Chet. After the guys and girls leave, Lisa tells Chet that she wants him to be more respectful toward his brother, since someday Wyatt will rule the world with his technological might. Chet questions her authority, so I have a feeling REVENGE is in store!

Out on the road, Gary outruns some random cops in his Ferrari and then nearly fishtails into his amnesiac parents’ car. Elsewhere, Wyatt makes out with the brunette HOT CHICK in front of her house; while she walks toward the door, he tells her he loves her and then the lawn sprinklers go on. Wow . . . talk about a convenient cold shower! Back at the blonde HOT CHICK’S house, she tells Gary that she likes him just the way he is: whiny and immature. Back at the Donnellys’, Lisa has somehow transformed Chet into a gigantic, talking pile of feces with a flat-top haircut. Chet the Golgothan! Now we know where Kevin Smith got that idea from; I bet people didn’t realize Jay’s whole monologue about a pilgrimage to Shermer, Illinois, was in Dogma for that very reason. Anyway, Gary and Wyatt return home and their respective cars vaporize in their wake. They chat about what to do about Lisa, since they now have kind-of, sort-of girlfriends . . . who we all know will end up dumping them for the cool guys the first chance they get. That’s how high school relationships have a tendency to work. They’ll have some fun for a bit, and then the girls will say that Gary and Wyatt are like best friends or – worse – brothers to them, or something else emasculating like that, and then – BOOM! – they’re back with Max and Ian like nothing happened because Gary and Wyatt are so totally uncool. Silly girls. And silly boys for believing them. Anyway, inside the house, Gary and Wyatt find not Lisa but poopie-Chet, who apologizes for his abusive nature and then eats a fly. Mmm. Protein goodness.

Gary and Wyatt finally find Lisa, who, sadly, realizes she is now in a state of obsolescence . . . after only two days. Then again, that’s about a day longer than the average microprocessor nowadays. Lisa, surprisingly, is actually hurt by her status, but she bolsters her emotions with pride, since she did well in making the boys into men . . . over the course of a little less than two days. She says her somewhat sad goodbyes and then vaporizes; meanwhile, everything in the house – including Chet – goes back to normal. Just after the last piece of furniture moves back into place, Wyatt’s parents return from wherever they were and, ironically, they suspected that Gary and Wyatt might actually have had a party in their absence! Har har. Some indeterminate time later, at lovely Shermer High School – home of THE WORLD’S LARGEST HIGH SCHOOL LIBRARY™ – a scantly clad Lisa arrives as the new boys’ gym teacher . . . and a class full of adolescent boys instantly passes out. Umm . . . so Lisa was actually a newly hired gym teacher all along? Or she never vaporized but, instead, got a job at the school? I don’t get it . . .

Well, it must be said that Weird Science isn’t THAT bad. Much like its contemporary Real Genius, it’s entertaining, at times quite funny, and – most of all – reeking in the cheese of the mid-‘80s. Between the TERRIBLE fashions; odd, now-outdated pop culture references; decidedly mid-‘80s soundtrack; and, most significantly, extremely obsolete technology, Weird Science is like a time capsule back to when Kelly LeBrock was a hot commodity, Anthony Michael Hall was playing the same exact roles over and over, and fully loaded home computers took up a plethora of wall-space. In all, Weird Science is very much like the ‘80s: good in small doses or for nostalgia value, but not a good guide on how to live one’s life . . . or create a woman.

I suppose it’s fitting that the third installment of the all-science trilogy is also from the ‘80s; it completes the cycle. Krebs would be proud. Anyway, join me next week as we delve deeper into the realms of anatomy and risky medicine with everyone’s favorite “thinking-man’s comic,” Steve Martin. See you then, students!

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Will Helm

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