One Crazy Summer - Warner Archive CollectionOverview -
Starring John Cusack and Demi Moore, the absurdly silly teen romcom One Crazy Summer still delivers the laughs thirty-five years later with its tale of a brooding lovelorn teen finding the right person while on some goofily gonzo misadventures in Nantucket. Warner Bros brings the teen comedy favorite to Blu-ray with an excellent audio and video presentation, but the bonus material is a bit of a letdown. Nevertheless, the overall package is Recommended fun.
After graduating from high school, art school hopeful Hoops McCann (John Cusack) struggles to complete his application to the Rhode Island School of Design. Resigning himself to a summer of boredom, McCann agrees to go along with his best friend, George Calamari (Joel Murray), on a family trip to Nantucket, Mass. But, after McCann and Calamari meet rocker-in-distress Cassandra (Demi Moore), it suddenly looks like it's going to be "one crazy summer."
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
I will be the first to admit that I claim far too many 80s movies as childhood favorites, pretty much rendering that sentiment meaningless for those who hear me profess it often. And honestly, there really are hundreds of movies that freely reside in the memories of my youth that it's nearly impossible for me to narrow the list to only a small few, let alone one or three or five. From the obvious mainstream classics to the incredibly obscure flicks, like Electric Dreams, My Demon Lover, or My Stepmother Is an Alien, made to rank my favorites is a monumental task I never want to undertake. However, I will say that three teen comedies, in particular, sit warmly as some of my most memorable, guaranteed to give me those nostalgic fuzzies. They were repeatedly watched in my house during those early adolescent years, which are Summer School, Just One of the Guys and of course, One Crazy Summer.
When One Crazy Summer was released on VHS, it instantly became a favorite, partly due to my fandom of John Cusack but also partly because of Demi Moore, who was just on the cusp of being a major Hollywood star at the time. Cusack's Hoops is the familiar lovelorn teen yearning to find his true love, which we saw in another and arguably better-known Cusack classic Better Off Dead, which is also from the same writer and director Savage Steve Holland. Like that character, Hoops is a wittily good-natured, highly-imaginative outsider who finds himself in competition with the popular athlete, and here, it's the rich smug Teddy, played to absolute "love-to-hate-him" villainy by Matt Mulhern. Kimberly Foster costars as Teddy's girlfriend, Cookie, a blonde vixen that, unfortunately, is a two-dimensional vamp. She's here as a type of MacGuffin, only to be the object of desire and to cause problems for our righteous hero.
On the other hand, Moore's Cassandra is basically the complete opposite of Cookie, and I'm not only referring to the fact that she's a brunette. Cassandra is sort of a "Manic Pixie Dream Girl" long before the term was coined or the trope had been noticed. As the quirkily eccentric musician, she serves as the romantic interest who encourages Cusack's brooding artist to embrace life and battle his doubts. But at the same time, Cassandra resists any such trappings and definitions because she has her own motivations and goals separate from Hoops's affections. It just so happens that those motivations slowly begin to align in battling Teddy and his vile, cheating father Aguilla Beckerstead (Mark Metcalf). She is a whole person on to herself. And of course, it doesn't hurt that Cusack and Moore have amazing chemistry together while Moore shows she can easily hold her own against the other funny guys.
Speaking of which, the rest of the comedic ensemble includes Hoops's best friend George (Joel Murray), the timid military brat Ack Ack (Curtis Armstrong), and the Stork twins, Clay and Egg (Tom Villard and the always hilarious Bobcat Goldthwait). Decades later and after countless viewings, One Crazy Summer still makes me laugh out loud thanks to the great cast and Hoops's friends delivering some of the best, unforgettable one-liners, such as "You ever notice how people die in alphabetical order?" while reading the obituary. To this day, scenes of George's sister Squid (Kristen Goelz) and her dog enjoying instant karma on their haters play on repeat in my memories, especially the two girls with the frozen ugly faces. My favorite aspect of this teen rom-com is the unadulterated absurdity and manic gonzo gags on display where we can easily see that everyone involved had an absolute blast making it.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Celebrating the movie's 35th Anniversary, Warner Bros. brings One Crazy Summer to Blu-ray in the studio's "Archive Collection" line. The Region Free, BD25 disc sits comfortably inside the standard blue keepcase. At startup, the disc goes straight to a static menu screen with the usual options along the bottom and music playing in the background.
After years of only being able to enjoy it in standard definition, the cult comedy favorite finally makes its Blu-ray debut with an excellent 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode that easily blows the previous DVD out the water. It is unknown at this time whether this new transfer comes from a fresh remaster of the original elements, but back and forth comparisons seem to suggest that this might be the case.
The HD video boasts spot-on contrast balance with clean, crisp whites and true black levels with strong shadow details. Although a few softer moments are sprinkled throughout, which is to be expected given the age of the movie and the condition of the source, the overall presentation shows well-defined lines in the buildings, and objects decorating the background are plainly visible. Primaries are richly saturated and animated for the most part while secondary hues can often be bold and vibrant, making that total awesome 80s aesthetic really pop. However, colors can noticeably falter and look rather dull in a few scenes. It's doesn't ruin the overall enjoyment, but it's worth mentioning and noticeable. On the other hand, facial complexions appear healthy and natural with revealing, lifelike textures.
Overall, the 1.85:1 picture looks great and is the best the movie has ever looked. (Video Rating: 72/100)
The crazy summer fun also comes packed with an awesome DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo soundtrack, conveying every silly comedic line with excellent clarity and intonation. Although much of the action is confined to the center, the design nonetheless displays outstanding movement and channel balance, generating a great sense of space as the various songs lightly bleed across the screen. At times, the mid-range can feel somewhat flat and uniform, but the music overall exhibits good distinction and acoustical detailing, providing the silliness with plenty of warmth. The low-end is surprisingly hefty and robust, complementing the action with appreciable weight and depth.
All in all, this lossless mix is a notable improvement over its DVD predecessor. (Audio Rating: 80/100)
Warner Bros tempt fans with a puny if not at least decent pair of supplements.
- Audio Commentary with writer and director Savage Steve Holland, Bobcat Goldthwait and Curtis Armstrong
- Trailer (HD)
John Cusack was in top comedic form in the absurdly silly teen romcom One Crazy Summer, a hilarious comedy gem that still delivers the laughs thirty-five years later. Starring Demi Moore, Bobcat Goldthwait, Curtis Armstrong and Joel Murray, the whacky misadventures in Nantucket is a nostalgia trip to be sure, but the tale of a brooding lovelorn teen finding the right person continues to be at the heart of an otherwise goofily gonzo 80s flick. Warner Bros finally brings the teen comedy favorite to Blu-ray with an excellent HD video and lossless audio presentation that fans will want in their collection. In spite of a puny selection of supplements, the overall package is recommended fun to conclude the summer break.
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