Buckaroo Banzai’s Marvelous End Titles Tell You Everything You Need to Know About This Strange Film

I’m almost ashamed to admit that I hadn’t seen W.D. Richter’s slapdash madcap sci-fi send up The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension until this summer. The film is so strange, so aggressively and willfully weird, that I don’t know how its cult vibes hadn’t enmeshed me earlier.

The film stars a deadpan Peter Weller as the titular Buckaroo, a neurosurgeon/rock star/superhero who, alongside his team/fellow bandmates, the Hong Kong Cavaliers, must stop the Red Lectroids from Planet 10. Or something like that.

The plot is a shambolic mess, sprawling out in bizarre directions. Buckaroo Banzai is never sure if its cyberpunk, or Moonlighting, or a winking jab at Flash Gordon, or a riff on a rock movie. It’s enthralling and terrible at the same time.

But there’s no need to oversummarize here, when all one must needs do to get a feel for Buckaroo Banzai is watch its marvelous end title sequence. Go ahead, watch it:

There’s nothing I don’t love about these four minutes: The strutting! The skinny ties! Jeff Goldblum in furry chaps and a cowboy hat! Smokin’ hot Ellen Barkin! That little hop that Peter Weller does at 1:40! The promise of a sequel that never came! And that song! That jaunty joyful whistling slice of ’80s cheese! Love love love it!

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4 thoughts on “Buckaroo Banzai’s Marvelous End Titles Tell You Everything You Need to Know About This Strange Film”

  1. I couldn’t agree more – four minutes of unblemished happiness. These same minutes were shamelessly plagiarized (no, not an ‘homage’) by Wes Anderson for the end credits of his ill-considered Life Aquatic.

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    1. Wes Anderson lifted the scene, but I would argue that if it was a shameless lift, it was also a loving one. Film history is littered with directors borrowing stagings, angles, set pieces, etc. from what came before. Originality is never pure; originality is always a synthesis. So I guess it—it being “how much you’re willing to honor the thefts an artist makes” — depends on how much you like the synthesis. I like Anderson’s syntheses, so his thefts don’t bother me.

      In contrast, when I saw the new Captain America film, I was appalled at how many of the shots/set pieces had been lifted from the Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies. My unwillingness to forgive its plagiarisms rested more in my overall dislike of the film than the thefts themselves, though.

      Here’s the Life Aquatic clip in question:

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