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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 16.36%
Average: 18.18%
Pretty Bad: 5.45%
Total Crap: 9.09%

2 reviews, 43 user ratings

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Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, The
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by Brian McKay

"Don't ask me to explain why people like it. I don't even know why I do!!"
3 stars

Okay, I'll be the first to admit that this is one of the crappiest-made films of all time. Yet somehow, inexplicably, it's also one of the coolest films of all time - cool in that 80's sort of way (yeah, I know. Not too cool, but hey, they did their best).

Perhaps part of the appeal is that this film features a bunch of popular actors who weren't really popular back in the day. In fact, they were pretty much nobodies when this film was made. We're talking about John Lithgow, Peter Weller, Ellen Barkin, and Jeff Goldblum, as well as several other recognizable character actors.

Or maybe the appeal lies in the fact that it's just so fucking bizarre. It defies any kind of coherent detailed plot synopsis, or even genre classification. I guess Sci-Fi/Comedy would be close, but not in any conventional sense.

The title character, played by Peter Weller, is a nuerosurgeon/rock star/particle physicist (I know, just keep reading). With his band, who double as some kind of secret agent team, he is out to stop aliens who are invading from the eighth dimension, led by John Lithgow. Ellen Barkin plays Penny Pretty, Buckaroo's love interest who must later be saved from the menacing aliens (who all have the first name of John, coincidentally.)

That's about all I can tell you. Any attempt to give a more detailed plot synopsis would simply make my brain (and yours) hurt too much. This film has the stink of rancid 1980's cheese all over it - from the costumes, to the music, to the production values. It was obviously made on the cheap, and watching it is kind of like reading a really bad Japanese comic book on acid. Yet it has something indefinable about it that keeps you watching - even if much of the time it feels like watching a train wreck.

Apparently a sequel had been planned at one point, since the closing credits boldly proclaimed "Coming Soon: Buckaroo Banzai vs. the World Crime League". However, the film bombed and the principal cast went on to bigger and better careers. Here's a bit of hollywood trivia for ya: The script for the sequel was later adapted into John Carpenter's "Big Trouble in Little China" - which, stylistically, bears a number of resemblances to it's predecessor.

Although I like this film for the sheer novelty of it, I can in no way recommend it as a great film. It had lots of untapped potential, and the cast is fun to watch. Maybe with a budget and a better script this could have been great (though a bigger budget might have defeated the purpose), but as it is stands, it's a mediocre piece of 80's kitsch

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 05/30/01 18:17:31
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival For more in the 2006 Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

6/29/16 TheoB Campy, disjointed, often hilarious. Lithgow chews the scenery in the best way imaginabe. 5 stars
8/13/13 Fire With Fire No coincidence Goldblum's in this:like him,it's so hip, it disappears up it's own ass 1 stars
11/03/11 AMflxguy Avoided this film because of title. Watching confirmed - crapola. 1 stars
10/23/11 Sue Doughnym John Lithgow's performance alone makes this a gem! 4 stars
5/06/08 Neil Foster a Blue Blaze Irregular since half the attendees of a Media-West-Con went to see it 4 stars
3/18/08 kowface One of my faves! 4 stars
8/24/07 J. The "Big Trouble" reference is an urban legend. 4 stars
12/05/06 David Cohen Eh, I seen worse 3 stars
2/25/06 jeanne Brilliant - any attempt at justification would be undignified. 5 stars
2/15/06 Perry Mason I can only recommend this for late Friday nights. 3 stars
2/09/06 JM Synth I really appreciate this movie. I just wish I enjoyed it more 3 stars
8/14/04 Alien assassin I liked it !!! 5 stars
7/23/04 Lord Durvok 2 "Laugh-a whal you can, monkey boy!" 4 stars
10/19/03 Ahpsi Bitchslap review doesn't give it justice. 5 stars
9/24/03 Rob Davies The BBC have a worst film ever survey, and this was my nomination without any doubt. 1 stars
8/15/03 Bobby Film is awesome, could've had greater potential though.... 5 stars
4/15/03 reptilesni Put the watermelon in cool 5 stars
3/24/03 Jack Sommersby Simply unbearable. Too much of this, and not enough of either. 1 stars
10/27/02 Matt Neopalitano Jeff Goldblum rules in this flick. 4 stars
10/15/02 Brian A classic for anyone's video collection. 5 stars
10/14/02 Charles Tatum Ooh, ain't we cool? Ooh, we are so hip! 2 stars
4/26/02 Rockitman007 It's............................................................unique. 5 stars
4/11/02 Joan B. Geeky fun with /lots/ of background visual humor 5 stars
3/02/02 Alan Smithee It can be pretty confusing if you don't pay close attention. One of my personal faves. 5 stars
2/08/02 "Let off some steam Bennett" The most unique movie I've watched in a while. 4 stars
1/02/02 Peter Buck Greatness of concept oversadows any lack of coherent plot 5 stars
10/15/01 Butterbean Watch this one for John Lithgow, he's a scream. It's otherwise an average campy flick 3 stars
9/01/01 Paul Fassa It is intentionally comic book, tongue in cheek, and if you pay attention, coherent fantasy 5 stars
8/19/01 Howard Rosenman cool! 5 stars
8/14/01 Cody Robertson Awsome Movie i have watched alto they where a head of there time when they made the space x 5 stars
7/30/01 John Maple Syrup This far inside the head, it all looks the same. 5 stars
7/10/01 John Smallberries give us the dvd! 5 stars
7/07/01 Eisenkrote Actually Big Trouble wasn't the sequel... but its script can be found online 5 stars
7/02/01 anola-gay best movie ever to hit the silver screen 5 stars
6/25/01 Howard Rosenman Very Strange,and quite weird if looking for explanation, don't bother with this movie 4 stars
6/25/01 Orson Welles A tantalising tale well told. 5 stars
6/19/01 steve-o it is a vision from the future 5 stars
4/18/01 Del R I mentioned this movie in recent conversation and people laughed hysterically 2 stars
1/25/01 Craig this movie has something from every other cult movie in it to make it THE CULT movie of cul 5 stars
5/24/00 Watership Remember, wherever you go.. .there you are. 4 stars
2/17/00 FrankG On my top 10 list of fav movies of all time. 5 stars
11/04/99 Karahde Khan Who spawned this abomination? I love 80s movies but after five minutes of this I was bored. 1 stars
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  23-Nov-1984 (PG)



Directed by
  W.D. Richter

Written by
  Earl Mac Rauch

  Peter Weller
  John Lithgow
  Ellen Barkin
  Jeff Goldblum
  Christopher Lloyd

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