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ONE CRAZY SUMMER, 1986
Movie Review

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ONE CRAZY SUMMER MOVIE POSTER
ONE CRAZY SUMMER, 1986
Movie Reviews

Directed by Savage Steve Holland
Starring: John Cusack, Demi Moore
Review by Ben Lupinetti



SYNOPSIS:

When an aspiring animator goes to Nantucket for the summer, he finds himself in a middle of a heated land dispute between a rich curmudgeon and a beautiful, spirited young woman fighting to keep her grandfather’s house on the island.

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REVIEW:

One Crazy Summer covers a lot of familiar ground in its 91 minutes. Well, familiar to anyone who has ever watched one of the myriad films about disaffected teenagers who alternate between being in and out of love. And for those who have spent the past few weeks watching, studying and reviewing romantic comedies starring John Cusack from the mid-80s, the similarities are downright eerie, and possibly indicative of some Da Vinci Code-like conspiracy.

But even casual viewers will hear a number of very familiar notes: John Cusack plays “Hoops,” a melancholy aspiring animator and recent high school graduate hoping to attend the Rhode Island school of Design in the fall, who only has the summer to finish a project that can earn him some scholarship money. By the by, Hoops is so named for his love of basketball. Or possibly to mock his pathetic basketball playing abilities. Andpossibly he was given the nickname by his mom. At any rate, he couldn’t get himself a basketball scholarship, and now his only hope of going to college is to animate a short love story, which proves to be a significant challenge for a guy who has never been in love. Unsure of what he can do to find inspiration but dead certain he doesn’t want to spend the summer at home, Hoops opts to spend the summer on Nantucket with his best friend, George, played by Joel Murray, who you’ll remember from being Bill Murray’s brother (just kidding, Joel, I loved you on “Mad Men”).

On the way there, they meet Cassandra, played by Demi Moore, a young hippie who looks like she just arrived from the year 1969, but has a passion for playing 80s jams that sound like songs from somebody’s “Best Of” cassette tape in the 99 cents bin of a gas station off a lonely exit on the highway to suck. Seriously, there’s a sequence where Cassandra plays a song at a benefit concert to save her house, and we have to just sit and listen to some sort of amalgamation of Joan Baez and Tina Turner, but more soulless. Sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Cassandra is on her way to Nantucket to help her grandfather who owns a house in which he shelters individuals who are down-on-their-luck. But that’s turns out to be easier said than done when her grandfather suddenly dies (either of natural causes or of wanting too much money from the producers for a minor role) and Cassandra is left with 30 days to raise the three thousand dollars needed to prevent foreclosure.

Meanwhile, Hoops and George arrive at Nantucket and are immediately accosted by the Stork Twins, good buddies of George who live on the island and whose apparent developmental impairments provide for comedic relief. Bobcat Goldthwait plays one of the twins, so these characters may have only been written into this movie to annoy me personally. But they’re friendly enough with our hero that it’s safe to assume they’re good guys, good guys who unfortunately work for the designated rich, handsome, blonde jerk of the film, Teddy Beckersted, a man of such rich, blonde and douchey proportions he practically redefines the stock character. Teddy immediately takes a disliking to Hoops, presumably because Teddy is the Antagonist.

You might remember from my earlier hatred of 80s jams that Cassandra has to raise the mortgage for her grandfather’s house. Well, that’s because in the wake of Grandpa’s death, Teddy’s father, Aguila (which I’m pretty sure isn’t really anybody’s first name so let’s just call him Beckersted) makes a move to see that the bank forecloses on the house so he can build a restaurant on the land. Cassandra appeals to Hoops and his friends for help and they immediately leap into action to help her, only to get tripped up along the way by bullying WASPs, Bobcat Goldthwait’s voice’s taking the paint off of walls, andTeddy’s gorgeous girlfriend Cookie’s stealing Hoops’ attention. Cassandra is beautiful and soulful, but Hoops doesn’t readily consider her as a romantic option because of his confusion and doubt about love, and because Cookie is a blonde and Cassandra is a brunette. Hilarity ensues, unfolding pretty much as one might expect, culminating in a boat race that, I have to say, was a lot more enjoyable with John Candy in Summer Rental at the helm.

One Crazy Summer isn’t all bad, but it’s definitely not great. It features the same type of gags as Holland’s 1985 John Cusack movie, Better Off Dead, that is, random and wacky with a distinct 1980s flavor, but for some reason, the humor isn’t as charming without a French foreign exchange student or John Cusack’s attempting self-immolation. The majority of the jokes are decidedly forced and too many of them fall flat. That, andBobcat Goldthwait’s voice poses a pretty serious challenge to actually finishing the movie. Nothing against the guy, I just want him to stop doing that. Always.

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