Blu-ray Review: One Crazy Summer | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, September 16th, 2021  

One Crazy Summer

Studio: Warner Archive

Aug 31, 2021 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

New grad “Hoops” McCann (John Cusack), needing a summer to unwind as he applies to art school, heads off to Nantucket with his best pal, George (Joel Murray). Along the way he helps a hippie damsel in distress in named Cassandra (Demi Moore) escape from a biker gang, and falls head-over-heels. On the island, he becomes unwittingly entangled with Cookie, a stunner who happens to be dating the local, preppy douchebag whose millionaire father plans to bulldoze Cass’s family home to build a lobster shock. It’s up to Hoops and his friends—now including the meek Ack Ack (Revenge of the Nerds’ Curtis Armstrong) and numbskull twins Egg (Bobcat Goldthwait) and Clay (Tom Villard)—to help Cassandra save her grandfather’s house from demolition.

One Crazy Summer (1986) was director Savage Steve Holland’s follow-up to his hit Better Off Dead (1985), reuniting him with the prior film’s teen star, John Cusack, and Curtis Armstrong. It continues the madcap, surreal humor of the first movie—Hoops is an aspiring cartoonist, and his illustrations here come to life and serve as narrative framing. The humor is at its best when it’s mostly visual; Holland’s animation background lends itself to gags that pop off the screen. (The longest stretch of laughs comes when Goldthwait’s doofy mechanic gets stuck inside a Godzilla costume, causing mayhem at a poolside party.) Unfortunately, the script and premise aren’t nearly as memorable as Better Off Dead’s, while too many jokes and plot points feel laborious, spending a lot of time setting up punchlines that rarely pay off. Unfortunately, One Crazy Summer often feels like a cheaper imitation of its classic predecessor.

Warner Archive’s Blu-ray edition looks nice, and the beach music-heavy soundtrack sounds good. The disc also carries a fun audio commentary by Holland, Armstrong, and Goldthwait over from an older edition, and includes the theatrical trailer. It’s a fun package, but probably not worth the upgrade for anyone but the movie’s biggest fans.


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