A Reel Shot in the Dark: 'You're not a man, you're a cat'

I picked my next movie up in one of those bargain bins I am always digging through. I may have paid $3 for it, at most. The day after I picked it up, it started showing up on TV. I always ended up catching the same scene and never saw it all the way through, it got ridiculous. Six months later, I figure this is as good of a time as any to watch the whole thing and write a review while I'm at it.

The rundown

"One Crazy Summer" (1986) is your typical '80s underdog, teen comedy filled with angst and cheesy music. A group of friends spend the summer on Nantucket helping a singer trying to save her family home from a rich developer on the island. The friends are a real group of misfits. When their original plan fails, the friends decide to try to beat the rich people at their own game by entering the Nantucket Regatta. If you've seen any '80s movie, you can probably figure out what the outcome is, but I'll let you figure that out first hand. After all, what fun is it if I tell you everything that happens?

There are a couple side plots, including one involving a crazy uncle and a million dollar radio contest. Another is your standard rich people problem. Grandpa controls the money and doesn't approve of how his kin is handling themselves, so he withholds his fortune until the family does what he wants. At one point father and son are discussing what would happen if grandpa doesn't give them his money and the son gets upset because he might have to actually work. There is also, of course, the love story.

Hoops (John Cusack) doesn't play basketball, but is an aspiring artist who is trying to get a scholarship to the Rhode Island School of Design. He is tasked with writing and animating a love story, but has trouble because he doesn't know anything about love. George (Joel Murray) is Hoops' dumb best friend. George is a screw off who didn't get into college and drags Hoops to Nantucket for the summer despite his not wanting to go. Cassandra (Demi Moore) is a struggling singer who just wants to earn enough money to pay off her grandfather's house and keep it from becoming the next lobster restaurant. Egg (Bobcat Goldthwait) and Clay (Tom Villard) Stork are George's friends on the island. They look nothing alike and that seems to be a point of tension in their relationship. They also do everything together and are complete goof balls. Ack Ack (Curtis Armstrong) is an innocent teen, but his father (Joe Flaherty) is a general and wants him to go into the Marines. The spoiled rich kid Teddy (Matt Mulhern) just wants to swim laps but his dad (Mark Metcalf) wants him to win the Regatta so they can keep the family money.


How does it rate?

Even for someone who watches some of the cheesiest, B-rate films, I did not enjoy this film. The plot is almost identical to "Better Off Dead," and while some will shrug that off as the '80s way, I can't. It's just not worth watching two movies with the same plot, nevermind main character.

The movie starts with an animated segment, one of a handful that happen throughout the film, reminiscent of a bad Saturday morning cartoon. Each time a new animation starts, Hoops has learned something new about love, and gets closer to nailing his scholarship assignment. Other than the fluffy bunnies of life aspect, these segments are rather annoying and distracting. Although the corniness fits perfectly with the cheesy '80s movie thing this film has going for it. I found myself getting bored about 10 minutes into "One Crazy Summer" because I could predict exactly what was going to happen, the lines were unimaginative and the characters were undeveloped. As sad as I am to give this movie such a rough review, after all John Cusack is my main man, I just can't pretend I enjoyed it.

Of all the '80s movies Cusack was in, this may be my least favorite, with "Say Anything" being my absolute favorite. While he tends to play the same kind of sensitive, love sick teen, Cusack either nails the performance or just completely blows it, depending on the quality of the material. This was definitely one of those that he doesn't seem to have put a whole lot of effort into and the film suffers on account of this. Moore also seems to have just been in this film as a way to get a paycheck, as her performance is also pretty lackluster.

I really can't think of something I enjoyed in this movie. Maybe I was not in a good '80s flick mood, or maybe this film is just boring, but I don't suggest wasting your time watching it when there are plenty of other awesome films from that decade. If you are jonesing for a good '80s film to watch, try "Say Anything" or to be a little less cliche, check out "The Secret of my Success."

Rating: 1-and-a-half out of 5 stars

Most memorable parts

Quote: "Hey, Hoops, you ever notice how people die in alphabetical order?"

Scene: When the crossing guard tells the mean little girls that if someone slaps them on the back their faces will stay that way, and George's sister slaps them on the back. Their faces, including the Cabbage Patch Kid, freeze and you encounter them a couple of times through the film; classic.

Character: Egg Stork has the most memorable voice and makes the best sounds. The actor himself is actually well-known for his voice. I recognize him most from his part in the Disney version of Hercules as Pain.

Song: Don't look back performed by Demi Moore