Early in John Cusack’s career, he was a pretty lucky young actor. While he was fortunate enough to nab a role in the John Hughes classic Pretty in Pink, he was able to mostly avoid the monotonous 80s high school cliché films by latching onto another director that had a warped and more hilarious view of that genre that tried way too hard to make high school kids look like grown adults, all to the detriment of us kids at home. Don’t get me wrong – I love John Hughes movies. But I’ll take the Savage Steve Holland trilogy of high school angst paired with unparalleled oddities any day of the week.
That trilogy, of course, featured Better Off Dead…, One Crazy Summer and How I Got Into College, all of which hold up very well today with their unique blend of zany comedy and heartfelt stories. In fact, it’s amazing that Holland would eventually move on to a career of quirky Disney shows instead of becoming a bigger comedy director. But at their cores, these Holland movies were about the average Joe loser’s quest to find happiness and ultimately the girl of his dreams, and I decided to watch the 1986 comedy One Crazy Summer today for this installment of 73 Sports Movies in 73+ Days, because it was by far the most ridiculous and it is one of the most unheralded sports-related movies ever made.
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First of all, that was one hell of a trailer. Looking back on the 80s, I wonder how I ever thought Bobcat Goldthwait was hilarious, because that voice is like someone is constantly kicking my ears in the balls. And yet, in this specific movie, I find it charming as hell.
So Does This Qualify As An Actual Sports Movie?
Well, let’s run down a list of reasons why it would:
- The main character’s name is Hoops, because he wants to be a basketball star but he’s f*cking horrible.
- There’s a scene in which Hoops and his rival shoot a free throw to settle their beef, because the 80s were so f*cking awesome like that. Honestly, it doesn’t beat a dance battle, but what does?
- The final plot resolution involves a fancy boat race.
- The villain’s dad shoots a crossbow at lobsters.
BOOM, those are three and maybe even four very solid reasons as to why this qualifies as a sports film, so I don’t want to hear any complaints from you newcomers who weren’t around when I set the rules for this silly journey down cinematic memory lane.
But Burnsy, Does That Mean You’re Going To Review Say Anything, Too?
HELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL NO. That movie is the worst. “But he holds up the boombox and blasts ‘In Your Eyes’ and it’s so romantic!” BLAH BLAH BLAH NO. Just because Cusack played a kickboxer in that one doesn’t mean I’ll qualify it as a sports movie. Hell, I’m surprised it hasn’t been remade with a title like Holla Wuteva, starring Cam Gigandet as an aspiring MMA fighter that falls for Rihanna. Trust me, it may sound stupid, but your girlfriend already wants to see it.
Back To Hoops, What’s This Guy’s Story?
Part of Savage Steve Holland’s charm was his excellence in capturing that 1980s/early 90s reality that college mattered. While he only directed How I Got Into College, which was essentially about a dork trying to find himself and get into a fancy college so he could follow the girl of his dreams, Holland also wrote One Crazy Summer, which was about a talented dork who had to find his inspiration or muse so he could draw his way into college. Hoops was an aspiring cartoonist, which is like the perfect 80s movie character’s job, because that sh*t would be so unrealistic today. If One Crazy Summer is made in 2013, Hoops has a web comic on Tumblr that pulls maybe 100 views each week, and he’s trying to raise money to attend Full Sail.
So What’s The Point Of This Movie, Is It A Classic Teen Comedy?
Not really. Well, maybe. Kind of? It’s one part spoof and one part classic teen comedy, but it definitely leans more toward the former with these subtle sight gags, and especially some of the more over-the-top running jokes.
This Bit Scaried Me To Death As A Kid
I don’t remember if I first saw this movie in ’86 when it was in theaters, or if it was more of a “Hey, what’s this on HBO?” kind of deal, but I remember this scene with these little bully bitches picking on George’s sister and her “dog from space” left me petrified of someone slapping me on the back. There was a period in elementary or middle school when we ran around trying to smack each other on the backs to freeze our faces because it was the height of meanness.
Looking back on that now, I smile thinking of how I tried to actually maim and physically deform my classmates. If a kid tried that now, he’d end up in prison.
Speaking Of That Lovable Mutt Boscoe
Honestly, Dog From Space would make such a great name for a dog now. Should my dog’s immortality ever hit a snag, I’d strongly consider renaming her clone Dog From Space. And I’d get her a little NASA suit.
And What About That Cassandra Girl That He Saves From The Bikers?
Oh 80s Demi Moore, you are still forever the fuel that lights my fire. She ended up having a decent run with some lows and highs, specifically Striptease and her eventual comeback with Charlies Angels: Full Throttle, respectively. But then she felt that being America’s hottest cougar was valued higher than actual artistic respect, and, well, we all know how it ended. They say that every now and then, you can hear her screaming at Ashton to brush his teeth before bed time, but he’s not there.
He’s not there, Demi.
Meet Joel Murray, The Jim Belushi Of The Murrays
Joel Murray was really Jim Belushi before the latter had the chance to fully emerge from his brother’s shadow as the actor known as “Better than nothing.” Murray was about as forgettable as they came in the 80s in regard to teen movie sidekicks, because he wasn’t good looking or necessarily even very funny. He was just sort of there, and unless someone actually reminded you that he was Bill Murray’s brother, you’d probably never even know his name.
It also didn’t help that the character, George Calamari, was the typical 80s shiftless weasel with no actual value to society. Even his family hated him. All he had was Hoops, who was also a loser and losers flock together.
Let’s Run Down The Rest Of The Characters Real Quick So We’re Not Here All Day
Ack Ack Reynolds (AKA Ackie) was played by Curtis “He’ll Always Be Booger” Armstrong, and he was the son of a Boy Scout leader who was mentally stuck in Vietnam. Kicked out of the house for his refusal to join the military, Ackie is just one of the many spineless dorks in this little gang.
Clay and Egg Stork are twin brothers born minutes apart and what they lack in physical similarities, they more than make up for in stupidity. But they’re adorably stupid, which is why I hardly even minded having to listen to Bobcat Goldthwait’s horrendous voice and snorting for an hour and a half. This movie really proves that, unlike Hot to Trot, a guy with a very limited shtick can still be funny when the right person is writing for him.
Uncle Frank was awesome, because when I was younger I was obsessed with trying to win stupid radio and Publisher’s Clearing House contests to the point that I probably wasted months of my life convinced that I could win one of those bullshit gimmicks and be loaded forever. That’s what was awesome about the 80s, too. If someone told you that you could win a million dollars, it sounded like the biggest number ever. Now, if someone tells me that I can win a million dollars, I’m like, “Awesome, I can’t wait to pay f*cking $700,000 in taxes to the government,” before kicking a wall and breaking my toes and then owing thousands in medical bills.
Teddy Beckersted is one of the most underrated 80s movie villains ever written. People always reflect on a guy like Billy Zabka, who was arguably the greatest 80s villain in multiple films, but it’s really a shame that Matt Mulhern doesn’t get more credit for the screaming hissy fit dickhead that is Teddy. From the way he treats Clay Stork and his own girlfriend, Cookie, to the way his own a-hole father treats him, Teddy is incredible. Especially because he’s a prick from the first moment of the film – mouthing “Did you touch my car?” to Hoops – to the very end – snatching the trophy away and smirking – and all the while he’s a vile prick, but we absolutely love him for it.
Speaking of Cookie… my goodness. Maybe one day I’ll create a pantheon of unheralded 80s actresses so girls like Cookie (Kimberly Foster) finally get the credit they deserve. And yes, I’m aware I just went full Bill Simmons right there.
Finally, there’s Aguilla Beckersted, Teddy’s evil father and one of the true all-around great 80s movies villains. This guy is so despicable that he could have been a James Bond villain, since the ones they had in the 80s pretty much sucked enough as they were. But I’ll say one thing about Aguilla, any man that is that devoted to a crossbow is a man you don’t want to mess with.
Has Jeremy Piven Aged More Than One Year Since 1986?
One day, Jeremy Piven’s deal with Satan is going to expire and he’s going to age 30 years in one minute’s time. Hopefully it’s right before the Entourage movie starts filming.
What’s The Whole Point Of This Movie Anyway?
Okay *deep breathe* so Hoops needs to create an animated short film about love but he’s never been in love and instead of buckling down and trying to create a solid cartoon he agrees to go to Nantucket with George and his little sister and the ugly dog because maybe getting away for the summer will help clear his mind, but before they even get on the boat – and he hates boats, by the way – he meets Cassandra as she’s being assaulted by bikers in a men’s restroom, so he rescues her and she jumps in the car with them and George jumps the car onto the boat to Nantucket, which is cool because Cassandra has to go there to deal with her dead grandfather’s estate and the back money he owes on a house that Aguilla Beckersted is buying so he can create his rich people neighborhood and stop bilking his dad for money, but Hoops and the guys offer to help Cassandra raise the money she needs, because Hoops feels bad that he lied to her about being good at basketball when she bet Teddy that he couldn’t beat him in a game of free throws after Hoops took Cookie on a date, so Hoops and the gang pass out a bunch of fliers and they get all these people to go to Cassandra’s show, but it doesn’t matter that she got the money because Aguilla already got the house.
Here’s a random thing I noticed – when Cassandra first plays the Dew Drop Inn, she’s all by herself on stage and there’s nobody there. But once Hoops helps her pack the house, she has a full backing band with backup singers.
Now, you could convince me that the Dew Drop Inn had a band that she could use and the singers were clearly waitresses that showed up to help her. However, here are my issues with that:
- How did they have the time to practice Cassandra’s original songs? Or are we supposed to believe that the one song we saw her perform was the only original and maybe the rest were covers? Fine, maybe my argument is too vague here.
- But how, then, could she afford to pay the house for the backup band, as well as the backup singers, and still have money to cover her grandfather’s debt? Unless she stiffed the house and the singers, which is just begging for a lawsuit down the road if and when she makes it big.
About That Lobster Prank That They Played On Teddy
I think I was in high school when I watched this movie for the umpteenth time, when a friend and I decided that a hilarious prank would be to get some live lobsters from Albertson’s (an old shitty Florida grocery store) and dump them in our friend’s pool so they would attack him like they did Teddy and Cookie. The problem with that is that lobsters can’t live in a pool, and the ones we purchased died rather quickly. Sure enough, that friend’s family coincidentally ate lobster for dinner that week. I’m not saying it was the same lobsters, but this was Florida, so it probably was.
Back To The Ridiculously Wonderful Plot
Aguilla Beckersted is so evil that he even kicked poor Boscoe, because that dog just has no luck. But that ultimately helped Ack Ack develop the plan with how they could finally beat the Beckersteds and get Cassandra’s house back – by winning the Nantucket Boat Regatta. Of course they needed a boat, and of course they knew where one was and of course they knew how to fix it up and race it, because teens in the 80s were capable of anything!
Naturally, that’s not the original music in the montage clip above, but all 80s montages should be recut with the Team America montage song. It’s really quite perfect.
If I made a list of the greatest sports movie endings of the 1980s, this scene would probably be in my Top 5:
I know that’s bold and full of gooey hyperbole, but that scene kicks so much ass. Sure, it lacks any realism and logic, and there’s no way in hell that George’s fat ass is making out with Cookie in the end, but damn it all to heck – I love it.
Meanwhile, Everyone Gets A Happy Ending
I guess Boscoe was either a girl all along, or he was tracked down by an old love and given a bunch of puppies. Either way, that pooch is all right and puppies are the international symbol for awesomeness. And George’s little sister deserves all the awesome happiness, because she took down Aguilla Beckersted himself, after he tried to sink The Boat.
William Hickey Is A True Legend
I’ll always remember William Hickey for playing Lewis in Christmas Vacation, because not a year goes by that I don’t obnoxiously shout, “THE BLESSSSSSSSSSINGGGGGGG” during Christmas dinner, but he also added to One Crazy Summer’s perfect ending by snatching the trophy away from Teddy and cutting off his no good son.
Hell, even Uncle Frank had a sort of happy ending. You know, for a guy who lost his shot at a million bucks and probably ended up in prison for attempted murder.
Final Grade: All of the dead cute and fuzzy bunnies.