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Spoiler Alert: Dreadful The SAD Movie Review - Buckaroo Banzai

Updated on February 7, 2012

Here we are, the inaugural post of my (hopefully) weekly movie review: “Spoiler Alert: Dreadful – The SAD Movie Review” I will watch a movie on Netflix Streaming every week, and try to find something good about it.

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Lithgow, in one his more subtle momentsSaxophone guy's hair is way coolHey, can I borrow that when you're done?He's waiting for someone to take him far, far away from this movie.  To become Brundle Fly
Lithgow, in one his more subtle moments
Lithgow, in one his more subtle moments | Source
Saxophone guy's hair is way cool
Saxophone guy's hair is way cool | Source
Hey, can I borrow that when you're done?
Hey, can I borrow that when you're done? | Source
He's waiting for someone to take him far, far away from this movie.  To become Brundle Fly
He's waiting for someone to take him far, far away from this movie. To become Brundle Fly | Source

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension

I heard about this movie from the episode of Doug Loves Movies that starred John Lithgow. I have always loved Lithgow, especially on 3rd Rock From The Sun. They had all talked about how crazy the movie was to make, and how insane it turned out to be, so I thought I would look it up. With a cast of Robocop (Peter Weller), Doctor Solomon (Lithgow), Brundle Fly (Jeff Goldblum), and Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd), how could it go wrong? Oh, boy.

What Is This Movie About?

This movie starts out with Buckaroo Banzai performing brain surgery, who then leaves, to drive a car through a mountain. I don’t get it either. He then goes to a nightclub, where he and his friends are the headlining band. Ten minutes in, and it already makes no sense at all. However, we then get treated to a John Lithgow scene, where he puts this electrode thing on his own tongue, and has a flashback. Apparently, he was the one who came up with the wormhole thing, where you go to another dimension, but it didn’t work out too well, and now he’s crazy. And he wants revenge on Buckaroo Banzai for perfecting the idea Lizardo (Lithgow) worked so hard on. Got it? Good.

Turns out, when Lizardo went halfway to the other dimension, he was somehow possessed by one of the alien Lectroids from the 8th Dimension, and he wants to get home. Buckaroo Banzai find out that back on October 30th, 1938, a giant mass of Lectroids invaded our dimension, brainwashing Orson Welles into doing the War Of The Worlds broadcast, and then passing it off as a hoax. I don’t know why they did that; they could have just done it in secret, and not have the whole brainwashing thing, but alright. The Lectroids want to go home, but in order to do that, they will have to either take over our dimension, or destroy it.

Watching the actors, it seems like this movie is two separate movies put together: One where John Lithgow, Christopher Lloyd, and Jeff Goldblum are in on the joke that this movie is terrible, and the rest of the movie. Everyone else tries to play this like it is an actual good movie, but it’s not. Really, really, not. I am glad that someone understands that this is not to be taken seriously.

Oh God, Why?

I have so many things that I want to mention, but don’t know how to fit them altogether, so I will just list them.

§ You are introduced to Lord John Whorfin early in the movie, where you see him escape, and for the next 45 minutes, do not see the main villain at all. I guess he wasn’t doing anything that important.

§ Penny Priddy fires a gun in the nightclub the band was playing in, and Banzai gets her out of jail (just by saying so, by the way), because she is the long lost twin sister of his dead wife.

§ All the aliens’ first name is John, followed by something ridiculous, so all aliens are either called by their last name, or full name, which is a really weird choice

§ Christopher Lloyd’s character is John Bigboote (Big-Boo-Tay). His catchphrase is also Big-Boo-Tay.

§ Jeff Goldblum is dressed like he bought a cowboy costume at a Halloween store, for like no reason. With the hat , sheep-skin chaps, everything.

§ The President of the United States is in a hospital bed, where he is laying face-down, but strapped to it, and hangs there for the whole movie. This is never explained.

§ Penny Priddy is the long lost twin sister of Buckaroo’s dead wife!

Wait, Did That Just Happen?

Lord John Whorfin (John Lithgow) is giving a rousing speech, into a microphone, in the warehouse they are working on their machines. With the large building, and microphone, you would think there are thousands of people he is talking to. There are about 15 Lectroids. Anyway, he is yelling, and over-acting, and being all Lithgow-ey, and he tries to rile them up, so they can go home. And that’s when he asks: “Where are we going?” 15 people mumble-yell “Planet 10!!!” “When are we going?” “Real soon!!!” These are supposed to be his troops, that are marching into battle, and all he can get is “We honestly aren’t 100% sure as to when we are going home, hopefully it’s soon, but it hasn’t been relayed to us the exact time tables for that sort of thing!!!” This is literally the only part that I can tell the director intentionally made this funny, instead of everything else.

It’s Not All Bad…..

Honestly, the only really good thing about this movie is John Lithgow. He is his regular self, and I believe he is the only one intentionally playing his character for laughs. His accent changes from time to time, but at one point, someone asks who he is today, so maybe the changes are intentional. Delivering lines (in a terrible Italian accent, BTW) like “Laugh-a while you can, monkey-boy”, and “Will somebody turn off that gosh darn klaxon?”, how could you not love this guy?

Final verdict:

I know I kept coming back to things not matching in this movie, but it is insane how differently the actors give their performances for this movie. Lithgow overacts through this whole movie (surprise, surprise), but the rest actually tries to give a good performance, not over the top at all. Pick one or the other, and go with that (spoiler alert: Pick Lithgow’s movie). It is worth it to see Lord John Whorfin give his rousing speech, but that’s about it. Plus, it’s on Netflix streaming, what do you have to lose, except 102 minutes of your life?

2 pairs of ridiculous red glasses, out of five


Thanks for reading my inaugural post. If you would like to watch the movie I will do next week, it will be Birdemic: Shock and Terror, also on Netflix Streaming.


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    • FatFreddysCat profile image

      Keith Abt 

      7 years ago from The Garden State

      I saw "Buckaroo Banzai" on cable years 'n' years ago and honestly I remember very little about it except for a nagging feeling that it's one of those films you either "get" or you don't, and I don't.

    • shauneagle profile image


      7 years ago from Westerville, OH

      joawmeens, fantastic review! I love the rating system... awesome.


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