Revenge of the Nerds (1984) (mini-review++)

Revenge of the Nerds (1984) Directed by Jeff Kanew Shown from left: (front row) Brian Tochi (as Toshiro Takashi), Curtis Armstrong (as Dudley ‘Booger’ Dawson), Anthony Edwards (as Gilbert Lowell), Andrew Cassese (as Harold Wormser), Robert Carradine (as Louis Skolnick), Timothy Busfield (as Arnold Poindexter), Larry B. Scott (as Lamar Latrell)

(If you’re curious, my review process. It’s also pasted at the end of this post. I don’t believe in Rotten Tomatoes. I just believe in me.)

(***all-purpose SPOILER ALERT*** there may be some in this review)

acting 7

directing 9

effects 7

editing 8

writing 8

SW SCORE: 39

4 out of 5 šŸ™

++

I’ll hit the controversy first. I in no way think the rape by deception scene (or ANY form of rape) is anything but abhorrent and amoral. Choose any synonym you want for terrible. I don’t know enough about the topic of rape by deception so I’m not going to say anything about it. But this review is from the point of view of a 10-year-old me. So, that’s all I want to say about that subject.

There are more severely problematic (to put it mildly) scenes in the movie but I wanted to address the worst and I have.

Cue 10-year-old me:

Gratuitous nudity? Yes. Fart jokes? Yes. Underdog nerds (I was one) winning against the asshole jocks? Yes. Weed humor? Crass, gross jokes (the ancestor to the Farrelly brothers?) Yes. All of these things are very immature and by themselves do not a good movie make.

But that is not why this is a comedy classic. At the core of this movie is a simple good versus evil story. The nerds just wanted to be left alone and never did anyone harm (at least back in the 80s). The jocks tormented them. The nerds fought back. Jeff Kanew steered the ship with perfect timing. Robert Carradine and Anthony Edwards (Pre-ER) were the noble, kind, earnest nerd leaders who shouldered most of the emotional investment from the audience. And, of course, the message that they rightly hit you over the head with is “people are more than what they appear to be.” Yes, don’t judge a book by its cover is an old message but they do it well here.

If I could, I would do an edit to remove the aforementioned horrific scene and the lame stereotype jokes. But after those are excised, there is plenty of amazing movie left. It is rollicking gut laugh after rollicking gut laugh.

Special shout out to Timothy Busfield (Pre-West Wing) who plays the UBER-nerd Poindexter (even the name itself can only be nerdy.

2nd special shout out to Curtis Armstrong (Pre-Moonlighting) who played the non-nerd Booger who was accepted by the nerds. His name was booger and that was hardly the grossest and funniest thing about him.

3rd special shout out to Donald Gibb (Pre-1st and Ten, Pre-Bloodsport). I can watch the scene where he screams “Nerds” with such rage and fury over and over. I just find it so funny that he is so angry at the very notion of the nerds existing on campus. It’s wonderful.

So I have to include it because no written description does it justice.

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(1) Shark Wrighter (SW) Score: Based on a sum of 5 sub-scores (acting, directing, writing/story, effects: cinematography &/or animation &/or effects, editing) with 1 being terrible and 10 being terrific.

(2) Octopuses (0-5 šŸ™, with 5 being fantastic and 0 being feces)

(3) Octopuses are my unquantifiable feelingā€¦not that SW score is scientificā€¦but this one is even less so

(4) ++ This optional section includes any incredibly *brilliant observations that don’t fit into simple quantitative slices like the scores and octopuses *(they are likely NOT brilliant)

One thought on “Revenge of the Nerds (1984) (mini-review++)

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