Nerdy Double Feature: Spring Break (1983) & Revenge of the Nerds III The Next Generation (1993)

That’s just a delightfully weird movie poster isn’t it? I remember seeing this box at the video store back when they still rented videos and I was a kid. It seemed pretty scandalous at the time and I probably thought it was about shrinking kids or monstrously huge women. Now, I know that it’s a simple spring break comedy directed by Sean S. Cunningham, the man who birthed the Jason franchise. I’ll admit, my curiosity was piqued as I’d never seen a non-horror film by the man and I appreciate when directors have the ability to bounce between genres.

I kind of loved this movie with all its unexpected weirdness. The story follows these two nerdy guys heady to spring break who want to let loose and meet women, even though the one kid’s step dad is a politician and wants him to not cause trouble. That’s pretty normal enough, but then two other guys from NYC show up (one carrying a potted plant for some reason) and they end up being in the same room. You think it’s going to turn into an “us vs. them” movie between the nerds and the cooler guys, but instead they join forces and become friends!

Even though you’d assume a movie like this would seem like the prototypical spring break movie, it offered up a lot of surprises and uniqueness that I really liked. Though, something was nagging me while watching it. The plot started feeling familiar, especially the political parent involvement. It wasn’t until talk to Rickey later that he reminded me of the lame straight-to-DVD movie Spring Breakdown starring Parker Posey, Amy Poehler and Rachel Dratch which seems to have stolen a fair number of plot points from this flick. Not cool, especially considering no credit is given.

Spring Break is a fantastically fun movie that I recommend to anyone looking for a fun, upbeat movie to watch this Labor Day weekend. Spring, summer, what’s the difference?

Up next on my nerdy double feature was Revenge of the Nerds III: The Next Generation, an installment of the four-part epic I’d never seen before. I am a gigantic fan of the first movie and it’s message of being yourself. Damn, I feel all pumped up every time I watch it! Anyway, this third installment was…interesting. It’s 1993 and Adams College has been taken over by nerds, which drives some mean old Alpha Beta alumn to hatch a plan to get Stan Gable (the quarterback from the original movie) put in place as the dean to get the power back in the bully AB hands. Somehow it works. We also get introduced to a new generation of nerds, specifically Harold, the nephew of Lewis from the original (he played by Gregg Binkley who played Kenny on My Name Is Earl). As it turns out, Lewis has turned into a yuppie douche who stifles that signature laugh of his and has a douchey ponytail even though he’s happily married to Betty (the girl he banged dressed as Darth Vader in the original). It’s your typical “fallen hero” story and, I know this sounds stupid, but it made me MAD to see him like that.

Anyway, the movie’s got some fun nods to early 90s geekery like the current students laughing at the tech their predecessors had and the doorbell of the TriLamb house playing the Super Mario 3 music (I geeked out pretty hard at that).

This might sound weird, but I wish the movie had taken itself a little bit more seriously. The young nerds do a good job as do most of the returning actors and characters, the real problem lies in the character of the older alumn and some of the directing choices which just goes way over the top into cartoon territory at times. His scenes take you out of the story, which is too bad because otherwise this could have been a really solid made for TV sequel. Still worth checking out if you’re a fan of the series, though, especially with the awesome musical numbers (nowhere near as good as the originals, but still fun, especially the early 90s rap. Fun stuff.

UPDATE: I forgot, Clancy Brown has a small role as a gas station attendant, check it out!

Halloween Scene: Friday the 13th 1 (1980) and 2 (1981)

2008-11-02
6:26:01 am

I know, I know, Halloween was yesterday (or two days ago, technically, I guess by now), but I’m not done with my favorite holiday. In fact, I’ll probably keep the Halloween Scene reviews coming all year. I’m also thinking about giving November a “What I’m Thankful For” theme, but we’ll get there when we get there.

For now, I’m gonna talk about the first two Friday the 13th movies, which I’ve been watching over the past few days. I’ve found that I’m able to stay up less late every night, so it actually took me three freaking days to watch Part 2. It’s embarrassing. Anyway, F13 is, I think Rickey’s favorite slasher series partly because of his love of camp movies. Halloween’s still my personal favorite but that doesn’t mean I don’t love me some Jason. In fact, this year I picked up the F13 box set used on Amazon on a lark. So let’s get into it.

As Scream should have taught those of you who didn’t already know, Jason’s mom Pamela Voorhees is the killer. What really blows me away about the F13 series is that the creators really just set out to make one kind of movie and then it morphed into this completely different thing. The original has a mom killing slutty camp instructors because her son died due to irresponsible counselors years before. It’s not a good reason by any means, but it makes sense. There’s not even any mystical stuff until the very end when Jason comes leaping out of the water looking like a too-cooked hot dog. And from there they ran with it. Two’s got a Jason who still seems like a regular dude, just a real angry one. Heck, he doesn’t even have the hockey mask until 3. How crazy is that? Think about it, it’d be like Michael Myers not getting the Shatner mask until part 3…er 4 I guess.

So, again, Part 1 features a young dude trying to restart Camp Crystal Lake, or Camp Blood as some people refer to it. As usual, we’re not dealing with camps full of kids, but only older counselors getting things ready ahead of time (cause it would just be weird of those Voorhees folks were killing under agers). Mrs. V is killing people at the very camp that her son Jason died at many years ago because…um…she’s not a fan of forgiving and forgetting. Anyway, the only counselor of note is one Kevin Bacon who dies a pretty rad death thanks to Dawn of the Dead effects master Tom Savini (a personal favorite of mine). Tom’s deft hand offers up good looking death scenes all around.

What really gets me about F13 is the idea of this old broad being the killer. Who’d think of that now? I mean, it’s fairly implausible as she takes down a number of young, nubile teenagers. Good show Ms. Voorhees.

Part 2 doesn’t have any famous faces (outside of the horror world at least), but it does feature Jason as an adult. It’s interesting because this one takes place five years after the original which really came out one year apart. I’m guessing they did it that way so that Jason could be a teenager by now and ready to kill people on his own. And how does he start out? By hunting down the one that got away from the original and icing her in her house. But, like I mentioned above, this isn’t the Jason you’ve come to know and love as he sports a pair of overalls, a blue checkered shirt and a bag over his head with only one eyehole cut out. Come on Jason, I bet you’d be able to aim that pitchfork a little better if you cut yourself a second.

This time around the story revolves around a guy setting up a camp on Crystal Lake, but not in the exact same spot as the infamous Camp Blood. But, hey, that’s Jason’s hood (no pun intended), so he’s not too happy about it and starts killing teenagers. This time, instead of the campers sneaking off to go make out and what not (which still happens), they get split up as half go into town to a bar and the other half stay the camp. The ones at the camp buy it first and then the ones who come home. It’s a nice way to split things up and at least it doesn’t completely mimic the first one. The kills are pretty good in this one too.

Man, I really do love these old school horror franchises. As you know I had a problem with the first Texas Chainsaw Massacre remakeTexas Chainsaw Massacre remake, but kind of liked it’s sequel. But what really bugs me about the remakes is that they cut off the possibilities for future sequels. I’m actually excited about the F13 remake or reboot or whatever they’re calling it, but I’m bummed that I won’t get a F13 part 11 in the same old continuity. Sure, some of the movies start to suck, but there’s something cool about being in a long line of movies. It’s probably the comic book fan in me that just loves continuity and all that. Ah well, I’m still excited about the remake rolling the first three movies into one and making Jason more of a fast outdoorsman. And, let’s be adult about this, I can always go back and watch the originals. I’m not one of these people who considers my childhood movies sacred. Get over yourselves. Just because they made a Lost Boys 2 or an Indiana Jones sequel you didn’t like, doesn’t do anything to the other movies you love. You can always go back and enjoy the originals no matter what anyone does to the franchises down the road, that’s why we’ve got DVD players folks.