Thursday, January 9, 2014

#1,242. Revenge of the Nerds (1984)

Directed By: Jeff Kanew

Starring: Robert Carradine, Anthony Edwards, Timothy Busfield

Tag line: "Their time has come!"

Trivia: Robert Carradine moved to the University of Arizona two weeks before shooting to get into character

Every time I see the 1984 hit comedy Revenge of the Nerds, I flash back to our local video store, and the first day this movie was available to rent. Prior to that time, our store would only get one or two copies of each new release, meaning, if you didn’t get there early enough, you had to put your name on a waiting list (I didn’t see The Right Stuff until 3 weeks after it came out). On this particular day, we were determined to be one of the first to see Revenge of the Nerds, so we got to the store as quickly as we could. Imagine our surprise when we walked in and saw a dozen copies of the film lining the top shelf! In later years, multiple copies would become commonplace; Blockbuster used to dedicate an entire section to the hottest new release. But in the mid-‘80s, it was unprecedented (at our video store, anyway), and when I saw they had that many copies of Revenge of the Nerds, I figured it had to be an awesome film. I couldn’t wait to get home and watch it!

Two nerdy best friends: Gilbert (Anthony Edwards) and Lewis (Robert Carradine), have enrolled at Adams University, and hope to experience all that college life has to offer (including women and wild parties). Unfortunately, they run into the Alpha Beta fraternity, which, under the leadership of Stan Gable (Ted McGinley), the school’s star quarterback, proceeds to make their life a living hell. Tired of being picked on, Gilbert and Lewis join forces with a few other freshman nerds, including Poindexter (Timothy Busfield), Lamar (Larry B. Scott), and the aptly-named “Booger” (Curtis Armstrong), to form their own fraternity, the Tri Lambdas. But when the Alphas refuse to acknowledge them as peers, the Lambdas fight fire with fire, resulting in a showdown to determine which group, the jocks or the nerds, will take control of the school.

Revenge of the Nerds is a fun teen comedy with lots of gross-out humor (most of which comes courtesy of “Booger”, who utters at least half of the movie’s “F” bombs and wins the college belching contest), some nudity (in one scene, the Lambdas sneak into the Alpha Pi sorority and conduct a panty raid, catching many of the girls with their, um… tops down), and there's even the standard ‘80s “musical montage” sequence (when the nerds are fixing up their new house). But what helps Revenge of the Nerds stand out from other like-minded comedies is that amidst all the boobs and raunchy humor, there’s an oddball group of characters we care about, and root like hell for in their unofficial battle against Alpha Beta. During the Homecoming Carnival, the school holds a competition to determine which fraternity will head up the Greek Council in the upcoming school year. The Lambdas use their advanced intellect to gain the advantage over their rivals, out-thinking them nearly every step of the way (the Lambdas techno musical number was a definite highlight, but personally, I was more impressed with what they came up with for the charity fundraiser).

Featuring plenty of laughs and a whole lot of heart, this is a movie guaranteed to bring out your inner nerd.

1 comment:

Eligius said...

That was a good film, wasn't it? A college comedy that used the conventions of the genre to deliver a positive message.