80s Odyssey: Hunk (1987) & One Crazy Summer (1986)

Let it never be said that I don’t watch the occasional movie for the ladies. What would you call T&A when it comes to dudes? Well, whatever the case, Hunk, has it in spades as geeky Bradley Brinkman makes a deal with a devil played by Deborah Shelton to become Hunk Golden, beach superstar. See, Bradley develops a program called something like “The Yuppie Program.” The interesting thing about this is that, as far as I can remember, it’s never really explained what this program is or does, but it becomes very popular. I’m wondering if the writers thought it might take too much time to actually explain the program to a largely computer ignorant viewership. Anyway, the program’s a hit and the company Bradley works for thinks he’s an actual yuppie so he gets sent to the beach (the Hamptons, maybe?) to work on another one. The problem is that he’s a huge geek, so he has trouble fitting in, even with the help of his loudmouthed landlord.

Then, the lady devil comes around and Bradley becomes Hunk and you get a lot of standard “body switch” shenanigans that aren’t very surprising. But, there is still some excellent weirdness in the movie that kept my interest. See, the actual Devil–played by James Coco–spends his days time traveling to some of the greatest atrocities in history and joining in which means he’s always popping up in period costuming when he does show up. The other aspect of the movie I dug was that Hunk is basically a superhero. He’s got enough strength to stop a runaway jeep before careening into the ocean, so you get a little exploration into that world as well as the way society would react to it.

But the real craziness comes in the epicness of the plot. You’d think this would be your average “person learns a lesson about how great they are” movie with some laughs along the way, but Hunk actually has stakes. See, if he doesn’t turn back into Bradley (there’s a ticking clock element to the story counting down to his decision about which body to choose) there will be a huge world war that we even get a glimpse of. Sure, it’s a goofy scene shot on a beach with limited budget and effects, but I was surprised they really went for it. There’s even a back story behind how the she-devil became a devil and all that.

I feel like I keep writing the same thing when it comes to these movies, but it’s not like Hunk is a long forgotten or missed classic, but it does have a lot of fun with its premise, which is something that can’t always be said about these kinds of movies. If you’re a fan of this kind of story or just want to watch a fun movie you can forget about in an hour or two then this one’s for you. I’m actually surprised with how much of the movie I remember considering I watched it over a month ago at this point, but I am a big fan of surprisingly unusual movies.

I’m also a big fan of John Cusack, but not for his 80s movies. I’ve seen Better Off Dead and Say Anything, but only after discovering him as the charismatic lead in two of my favorite movies from the 90s High Fidelity and Grosse Pointe Blank. Of course, I enjoyed his more youthful movies as well, so I was pretty excited when I saw One Crazy Summer on Netflix Instant. The fact that the film also features Demi Moore, Bobcat Goldthwait, Jeremy Piven, Joel Murray, Joe Flaherty, Rich Little and Curtis Armstrong (Booger from Revenge of the Nerds) also have mostly prominent roles made the movie a lot of fun from a “hey, it’s that guy” perspective.

The plot follows Cusack’s Hoops as he goes on vacation with his buddy Murray on a place that looks an awful lot like the island from Jaws. While there he mopes around, pines after Moore’s free spirit rocker and meets a wacky cast of characters. The conflict of the movie comes from some rich jerk trying to buy Moore’s grandma’s house out from under her, so our heroes try to figure out how to get their hands on the money to help her out.

I’ll be honest, I don’t remember a lot of the plot from One Crazy Summer. I know there’s a boat race at the end that I assume helped the kids get the money to stick it to the jerky adults, but can’t be certain. I also vaguely remember Goldthwait wearing the Godzilla suit seen in the poster (I love this poster by the way) and Moore not doing a very good job of acting like she can play the guitar and one of Murray’s relatives winning a radio contest and his sister being called squid. But, those are just bits and pieces. Overall? It’s not a very memorable movie.

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeF0Waa1Blw]

Actually, maybe I’m being too hard on the movie. I was probably working on something when I watched it, so it didn’t have my undivided attention. Sure it’s another movie about a boy trying to get the girl while at the beach, but had I paid more attention, I might have found something interesting in there, like I did with Hunk. There is one very memorable aspect to the film that surprised me: the animation. Cusack wants to be a cartoonist, so we see animated versions of his characters throughout the movie.

So that’s pretty cool and unique. Maybe One Crazy Summer is a movie I need to revisit if I do something like John Cusack month (that actually sounds like a pretty cool idea, hmmm….).

One thought on “80s Odyssey: Hunk (1987) & One Crazy Summer (1986)

  1. I absolutely loved the dog hospital scene. And the commentary track – featuring the director, Bobcat Goldthwait and Booger – is excellent.

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