Culture Shocking Blocking

Buckaroo Banzai

Image for Buckaroo Banzai

I was a high-school junior when W.D. Richter’s The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension! appeared, and for one shining moment it seemed as though the Eighties (1984–1993) might turn out OK.

Particle physicist, musician, neurosurgeon, and racecar driver Buckaroo Banzai (Peter Weller) is a pioneering chic geek; John Lithgow, Christopher Lloyd, Vincent Schiavelli, and Dan Hedaya are brilliantly cast as neo-fascist aliens; Ellen Barkin is a hot mess. Forget the movie’s satirical (yet thrilling) plot, and focus instead on its depiction of an Argonaut Folly — in this case, the multidisciplinary, heavily armed think tank, rock band, and strike force known as the Hong Kong Cavaliers, who (when they’re not conducting experiments in the desert or fighting bad guys) live and work together at the Banzai Institute in New Jersey. Skinny ties, Versace and Armani suits, and saddle shoes looked amazing on the Cavaliers; the subsequent Eighties fashion plague of parachute pants and oversized shirts can only have been due to a Red Lectroid plot.

Anyway… the parodic, yet inspiring shoulder-to-shoulder blocking in this closing-credits scene condemned me to perpetual dissatisfaction with an Argonaut Folly-less life. Sigh.

Tags: Buckaroo Banzai, Movies, Science Fiction