Thursday, 24 November 2011

One Crazy Summer

Hey Internet! I'm Blinvy and once again you've entered my Teenage Wasteland. Sorry for the delay in posting, I've been crazy busy lately but I'll try and keep on track from now on.

So, when we last left off, Savage Steve and John were busy filming the follow up to Better Off Dead when Savage made the mistake of screening it to his cast. John stormed off in a huff, claiming it the worst thing ever and that Savage made a fool out of him.

Naturally, Savage Steve was hurt.
With John upset and Savage Steve deflated, they continued to shoot One Crazy Summer. Savage told John to do what he wanted, since I guess he didn't want to "make him look foolish" again and, grudgingly, One Crazy Summer was finished. The result? Well, let's take a look.

The DVD cover I got just featured Demi and John, had I seen this cover and who the third billed was, I might have skipped this one altogether...

As soon as the movie begins, you know you are in for a Savage Steve production. The familiar cartoon intro is back. Complete with a little story to go with it.

This introduces us to the inner workings of our hero for the movie, Hoops McCann and even though he introduces himself as a Rhinoceros who can't find love and slaughters little fluffy bunnies who mock him, he's still not as crazy and unsettling as Lane Meyer and somehow not as lovable either. Weird. Now, you're probably asking "What the hell kind of name is 'Hoops' anyways?" Well, apparently Hoops got his moniker because his dad was really great at basketball and so he was going to be great at basketball too. Unfortunately, his parents failed to consider that he might not be good at basketball, thus rendering their name for him completely ridiculous as well as a constant reminder to their kid that he failed to live up to their expectations. Wonderful parenting.

Anyways, since Hoops sucks at basketball, he decides that he's going to be a cartoonist and has applied to art school but in order to get in, he must illustrate a 5 panel cartoon about love. The only problem is:

Don't worry, Hoops. That's what summer vacation is for.

Hoops tells his friend, George Calamari about his stress over getting into art school and his ever helpful friend invites him to Nantucket for the summer. OK, I fail to see how that helps him get into art school but I guess it might help him relax a bit, or make him die of boredom. Whichever comes first. Hoops agrees to this proposal and so they go pick up George's little sister, Squid and - Wait, Squid? Squid Calamari? Seriously? Wow, the parents are really cruel with their kids' names in this movie. Anyways, they pick up...Squid(ugh), and her dog, Boscoe, who no one should make fun of, apparently.

AAAAHHH!!! Another demon child!

Seriously though, who teases a dog? The dog doesn't know what you're doing or why. Why wouldn't you just tease the little girl? Her name is Squid for sobbing out loud, the name is asking to be mocked and they go after a defenceless dog? My guess is that it is to garner sympathy for our heroes and make everyone else look like douches in comparison.

 During their trip to Nantucket, Hoops stops to take a leak and that is when we're introduced to Cassandra, our love interest for the movie. She's played by, Demi Moore? Well, OK this is four years before her break out role in Ghost so I guess I can see how they got her. She also seemed to be going through a massive 80s phase, she looks like a bizarre combination of Pete Burns and Boy George:

Which one is which?

Cassandra is being chased by these really tough...biker...punk...anime fans?

I've got nothing. Except maybe, LOLWUT?
Don't worry, he's not our main antagonist. As you can see, he's dispatched easily and we're free to forget about him for the rest of the movie. However, his plot device purpose has been served and Cassandra has still lost her money; which she needs in order to keep her grandpa's home. Hoops and Cassandra part ways once they get to Nantucket but promise to keep in touch. You know this might be a pretty cute movie and I'm in the mood for a little RomCom action. I'm actually pretty stoked to see the rest of this...then this unholiness is unleashed:

Not Bobcat! My ears bleed every time he speaks!

And this movie went from kind of bland to horrifying in seconds. Why in God's name did anyone put this...this thing in front of a camera? My ears bleed every time he opens his mouth to utter his godawful schtick which is nothing more than "I talk funny and make weird noises, laugh! LAUGH!" (I can just imagine him saying that too.) The first time I saw this, I knew the rest of the movie was going to be painful because of this dolt. Why did people think this guy was funny?

Our heros are getting picked up by the "delightfully charming" and "lovable" Stork twins, Egg and Clay. Aren't they just precious?

 It's the Incredibly Forced and Awkward Comedy Duo!

Aww, look they can't figure out how to get their "I'm with stupid" shirts to work, aren't they just the silliest and most lovable characters ever? The answer is no. No they are not but we're stuck with them anyways so lets just get through the rest of this.

So Hoops is introduced to these two pricks and I love how you can see how incredibly hard it is for John to keep smiling as he shakes Bobcat's hand while listening to him speak. Priceless.

Ok, in all fairness the character is supposed to be taken aback by Egg...but I'm sure it wasn't a challenge for Cusack to portray this.

Anyways, we're informed that the moron twins are picking up some guy's boat, the guy in question, is of course a bleach blond preppy asshole named Ted Beckerstead. I wonder if Savage Steve had some issues with a blond haired preppy guy in his past, because he sure likes making them antagonists in his films and this guy is so over the top as an antagonist, it's like Savage took the Stalin character, subtracted the funny and added a ton more unnecessary and unmotivated assholishness.

We are really supposed to hate this guy, I guess.

Then we are introduced to George's family. He has a grandma who clearly loves his sister more than him, an Uncle who is driving himself insane trying to win $1,000,000 from a radio show. They add absolutely nothing to the plot except being wacky characters and the fact that they showcase how freaking boring George is. He's like the human embodiment of Garfield, every line he delivers just sounds like he's setting up someone else's joke. I get that he's probably supposed to be a straight man but we already have Hoops for that role so as a wacky side kick, George just doesn't measure up. I miss Charles De Mar.

Hoops and George set off to find their friend...Ack Ack. Acky for short. Seriously, what is up with the names in this movie? It's like it's trying way too hard to be wacky and original but giving your characters stupid names that no one in real life would EVER have just makes it...stupid. Well, to me anyways. Back to the story, Acky's father, played by Joe Flaherty - the only great thing in this movie, tells them that Acky is at the beach collecting shells for him. Of course when he says shells he means this kind:

Hooray! Curtis Armstrong is back! De Mar lives!

They get Acky from the beach and just as they are about to go and do...something, they run into Cassandra at her grandfather's funeral. Since her grandfather died and she was just laying him to rest at a funeral, Cassandra is obviously game for some more hang out time with Hoops. Hey, we all handle grief differently, right?

Anyways, Cassandra tells Hoops that Ted Beckerstead's father has been trying to run her grandfather out of his house since she was a baby and that with her grandfather gone, he has a shot at getting the house unless she can get the bank $2,000 in two weeks. If she can't come up with the money, everyone in her grandfather's home is out on the street and Mr. Beckerstead puts up a restaurant in its place. Although, his restaurant looks more like a mansion and we never get to meet the supposed people that would be put out on the street but whatever, we have our main conflict for the movie.

Lobster Log Restaurant...Manor?

Cassandra asks Hoops why the hell he has such a ridiculous name and he lies and says he/'s a great basketball player because, as you know, in romantic comedies no one ever tells the truth in the beginning in order to create hilarious misunderstandings. He draws her a picture and she's so impressed with his talent that she invites him to her concert to raise the $2,000 she needs and he promises to be there for her. Nothing can go wrong now!

Except, of course, this is a romantic comedy so something has to go wrong. Ted's girlfriend Candy, for some reason asks Hoops out and he, for some reason, agrees even though he obviously likes Cassandra and she obviously likes him. Why does this happen? I don't know, it doesn't really go anywhere but it does effectively throw a wrench into his budding relationship with Cassandra as he goes on a date with Candy on the same night as he's supposed to be at Cassandra's concert.

Ooooo, faced!

I'm not really sure why Hoops even goes out with her. He seems more intimidated of Candy than attracted to her and he knows full well she has a boyfriend. He even enlists his friend's help to keep an eye out on Ted to make sure he and Candy don't run into him. His friend isn't able to watch Ted so he enlists Bobcat's help and we all know that it's not going to end well. Aside from the fact that we know that Bobcat is going to fail at this task, we are also tortured with long scenes of him making his idiot noises and acting like an all around annoying fucktard.

Oh never stops making noises! My ears!

So, Cassandra notices that Hoops missed her concert because everyone missed her concert and goes to find Hoops. Ted finds out that Hoops is on a date with his girlfriend and threatens to kill Hoops but Cassandra steps in at the last minute and challenges Ted to play basketball against Hoops instead. This obviously doesn't go well because Hoops sucks at basketball but they manage to get away.
Cassandra hates him now because he's a lying asshole and Hoops now tries to win Cassandra back. He does this by designing posters for her second attempt at a concert fundraiser. They pass posters all over the island and because he does this, of course, Cassandra forgives him and they become friends again. That breakup was once again, mercifully short.

The second fundraising concert goes way better and Cassandra makes the money she needs to pay the back mortgage on her grandfather's estate; which means that the movie is now over, right? Wrong. The bank decided that they'd given her long enough and went ahead and sold her house anyways. Oh those evil bank owners, they're always just in it for the money. Have they no hearts? This movie could have been over but nooooo, now we have to sit around for another 30 minutes.

Beckerstead now owns Cassandra's Grandfather's house, which is home to...people that we never see who are now on the street, and is getting ready to tear it down to build his new Lobster Log restaurant. So, he's basically evil but just how evil is he?

Noooooo!!!! He kicked the poor doggy!

Evil! Evil! Burn him at the stake!! He put people out of house and home for a stupid elaborate restaurant and now he's just committed the greatest movie villain crime of all time, harming an animal. Oh and his son also beat up one of the Stork twins. Not Bobcat. *cough* Yeah, I didn't care either.

But our heros come up with a plan of attack to get back at those evil Beckersteads, they are going to beat them in the annual Nantucket Regatta! B-because, the Beckersteads love to win and really want that trophy so if our heros win, they can trade the trophy for Cassandra's house. *cough* What? It sounds like a fair trade to me.

Alright, so the Beckerstead's fortune is still in the control of Mr. Beckerstead's father who forces his son and grandson to enter the regatta every year and win or he will cut them out of their inheritance so their plan makes a little sense. Then again, Mr. Beckerstead's plan to get Cassandra's house and open up his own restaurant chain was in order to amass his own fortune so that he wouldn't have to do the regatta anymore so I still question this climax a little. I mean, he won already. He got Cassandra's house, he has the means to tear it down but perhaps they still have to enter the regatta this year so that they have the funds needed to build the restaurant so I'll buy it.

The only thing standing in their way is that the only boat they have is a complete junker and needs fixing up before they can enter. Since this is the 80s and we're near the end of the movie, of course this means it's time once again for a montage!

We're gonna need a montage. Montage! A boat fixin' montage. Montage!

Now that they have the boat all fixed up and good as new in just a few quick clips, our heros must now choose their captain and, of course, they pick Hoops. Hoops declines because he's not going to be on the boat because he's afraid of them and he runs off like a scared little girl. Remarkably, Cassandra is not turned off by this and she decides to go after him and convince him to be the captain of The Boat. Yes they named the boat, The Boat because despite the fact that we have people named Egg, Ack Ack and Squid, they decided to pick the most boring and unoriginal name for their boat possible. Anyways, Cassandra convinces Hoops to go on the boat simply by saying that he probably "just hasn't had the right kind of experience on a boat." and then kisses him. Problem solved!

So Hoops is finally charged up and ready for the big boat race. Ted has pulled ahead of our heros but because they are cartoon villains, they still have to "ensure" they will win by cheating even though they are already in the lead and Mr. Beckerstead cuts The Boat's sail line. Now they will never win...or will they?

Remember that Hoop's other dilema is his lack of basketball skills? Well get ready for Hoops to score one for the team! It's all come down to this, Hoops can finally prove to the world that he deserves his name and all he has to do is toss a tiny weight through a hoop (pardon my lack of sailing terms and knowledge) to re-hoist the sail.

Awww, yeah! His parents didn't name him Hoops for nothin'!

Now they are back in business! But our heroes our still behind Beckerstead and it is the final leg of the race. The Beckersteads are sure to win with their powerful motor but our heroes have an ace up their sleeves. They stole Ted's car and used the engine to power their boat. *cough* Pretty sure cars and boats don't work that way but way to stick it to the antagonists guys! That'll teach them to kick dogs and punch your weak comedy relief characters.

So, of course, Hoops wins the day, gains back his basketball rep, conquers his fear of boats, and gets the girl. Oh and that Uncle finally wins the $1,000,000 he's been waiting for...until the phone cuts out and they pick another winner. *cough* You know, just in case you wanted to know what happened with the Uncle.

So that was One Crazy Summer and boy it sure was a movie. I've gotta say, when I first saw Better Off Dead, I was drawn in by its oddball humour and its over the top cheesy charm and when I heard that Savage Steve and John Cusack had teamed up again, I was pretty excited. Savage Steve had surely improved as a director, the budget was probably better, the story would probably come together better and come on it starred both John Cusack and Demi Moore. It just had to be good. Unfortunately, the animosity between Savage and John really shone through in this movie. Even when I was unaware of the background stories, it was clear to me that John's heart just wasn't in this movie.

On top of that, the story is pretty weak and a lot of plot points from Better Off Dead, end up recycled here. Replace Stalin with Ted, skiing with boating and basketball, French exchange student with rocker chick and you get the bland rehash that is One Crazy Summer. Not to mention, Bobcat. This guy is painful and is a large reason why I find no enjoyment when watching this movie. I might have found this ok if he wasn't in it but unfortunately for me, he is and forever will be which is why I will forever regret having this movie in my DVD collection.

So there you have it, the two perceived dark stains in John Cusack's career, the movies he will forever regret doing. In my humble opinion, he should only regret overreacting so much about Better Off Dead because that movie is pretty great and wildly enjoyable but I would stand by his decision to shun this movie. If you enjoy a good oddball comedy and don't mind Bobcat Goldthwait, then give them both a try, you may enjoy them both. Otherwise, stay far, far away from One Crazy Summer.

Now, I'm sure you're thinking, "Yeah, but whatever happened to Savage Steve?" and I'll tell you. After a quick look at imdb an extensive search through piles of books, I managed to uncover that Savage Steve directed one last movie, which he did not write called How I Got Into College before switching to television directing. Some titles that stand out for me that he's directed are Lizzie McQuire and Even Stevens. Why? Well, take a look for yourselves:

Those weird cartoon inserts strike again.

Now it doesn't state specifically, or at all, that he worked on the animations for Even Stevens or Lizzie McGuire nor that he was involved in the creation of these shows but I remain convinced that he influenced these style elements and the often quirky moments on these shows. Look at the similarities, it just screams Savage Steve to me.

Savage Steve Holland...holding a duck plushy.

Regardless of my distaste for One Crazy Summer, I think he's got something going for him, he has a very vibrant style that you don't see often in teen movies or shows that sets him apart from other teen genre directors. It's a shame that he and John had a falling out that dampened his love for making movies because you can clearly see in all of his works that he loves what he does and I hope he eventually gets up the nerve to write and direct another feature film again. I would definitely go see it if he did...unless it starred Bobcat Goldthwait.

So that's it for me. Thanks for visiting the Wastelands again.

Clips used: One Crazy Summer

Music Used: Montage from South Park's Asspen episode. Seriously, watch this episode. It's hilarious.

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