Weird Science Star Ilan Mitchell-Smith Talks Babes, Bullies, And Bras, 30 Years Later

Ilan Mitchell-Smith was definitely one of my nerd-crushes when I first watched Weird Science. Who doesn’t love a cute nerd? He was the type of boy you could imagine actually dating, unlike some hot Chris Hemsworth-type. Give me the cute nerd instead! (Well, okay – I wouldn’t say no to Chris Hemsworth). 😉

You can read an interview with the now 46-year-old professor of medieval studies here: Uproxx. And you can read the review I did of the movie with Eric of The IPC for my big John Hughes Blogathon here: Weird Science Double Take. And here’s Ilan Mitchell-Smith now. He’s still quite nerdy-cute!

Taking It Easy On The Blogging:

I’ll be sharing these sort of movie “tidbits” a bit more often again as I’m needing a small blogging break. The IMDB guest reviews have dried up (after this coming Tuesday) and I don’t want to commit to any sort of regular schedule for anything. My main priorities will be reviewing current movies that I go to in the cinema & my top ten lists but I may not do them every week. We’ll see! I just want the blog to take more of a backseat to other things in my life. I’ll read other blogs when I’m able to but my rule to keep life simple is this: as long as a post is still in the app’s Reader when I have time to do some reading, I’ll read it. My Reader shows about a day & a half worth of posts from blogs that I follow. But I’ll do my best to keep up with what’s in the Reader and hopefully won’t miss too many posts from my favorite blogs. 🙂 

So the schedule I’m going to half-heartedly follow through Christmas is this:

Mondays & WednesdaysRandom news about things I like, such as today’s post, and movie or book reviews when I have time to do them. 

Tuesdays: IMDB reviews from guests if I receive any or from myself if I can be arsed. I can’t be arsed lately. 😉 But I’ve watched & not yet reviewed quite a few so I should attempt some! 

Thursdays: Top Ten lists. I’ll stay fairly regular with this as I have tons of ideas ready but may skip some weeks if time is short. 

Fridays: Music Video Friday. I’m keeping this up even though no one looks at these posts because a) I enjoy these posts and admit that I’m selfishly doing them for my own amusement and b) they’re super quick & easy to put together! Which is cool as I’m totally lazy. 

Sorry – this isn’t some trying-to-get-attention thing… I’m just explaining that my appearance on the blogs may be somewhat sporadic. I’m trying to achieve the right balance with real life. But I’ve realized, finally, that this blog is a part of my life now so I’m cutting back a little to keep me actually enjoying doing it. If that makes sense. Oh, I never make sense anyway. 

Here’s Oingo Boingo! 🙂 That’s a good band name. Shit, I think I forgot to include that in My Top Ten Band Names… (I’m more annoyed that I forgot Scritti Politti):

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Don’t You Forget About Me (2009) Review

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Don’t You Forget About Me (2009 Documentary)

Directed by Matt Austin

Written by:
Matt Austin
Michael Facciolo
Kari Hollend
Lenny Panzer

Running time: 90 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Don’t You Forget About Me is a 2009 Canadian documentary film about screenwriter, director, and producer John Hughes. The film specifically focused on Hughes’ fade from prominence in the early 1990s. It details the journey of a group of young filmmakers who go in search of the reclusive icon, documenting their search through interviews of the people with whom Hughes had worked and fans of his films.

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My Opinion:

Obviously, I was interested in watching this documentary as, like the filmmakers, I grew up with and love John Hughes teen movies and was sad that he stopped making those types of films and that he pretty much disappeared from Hollywood. I think it’s quite a sad story and, as we know, he died too young from a heart attack at the age of 59 on August 6, 2009, just after this documentary was filmed.

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This is worth a watch for anyone who is a big fan of Hughes but not so much worth a watch if you’re not. The best part by far was seeing all the interviews with those who had worked with Hughes and those who were influenced by his work. It’s pretty impressive that they were able to get as many people together for this documentary as they did. The following are just some of the people they interviewed:

Ilan Mitchell-Smith
Ally Sheedy
Judd Nelson
Kelly LeBrock
Mia Sara
Alan Ruck
Kevin Smith
Roger Ebert
Richard Roeper
Jim Kerr

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As for the rest of the documentary, I was hoping for something a bit more in-depth on why they thought Hughes had disappeared but we don’t really get this from the filmmakers. They talk a bit about their favorite Hughes films and what those movies meant to them but we don’t really hear anything new. I was a little confused by a couple things too. They say they spent two years (or maybe it was two and a half) on this documentary. I don’t think this is a spoiler: they drive to Chicago to try to track down John Hughes & interview him (I won’t say whether they manage to or not). But, once they get there, they sit down and start writing out some questions to ask him. Then they try to decide how to go about contacting him: walk right up to his house & talk to him or give him a letter or what. They write the letter right outside his house. In two years they didn’t think to have any of this prepared until they arrived in Chicago to try to meet with Hughes???

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Summary:

A documentary worth watching if you love John Hughes films as you get to see some interesting interviews with those he worked with and those he influenced. However, you won’t really learn anything new or get an in-depth look into the man and why he disappeared from the scene. It’s also a little disappointing that there’s no focus whatsoever on any of his movies other than a few teen ones (what’s wrong with the Vacation movies? Planes, Trains & Automobiles? Etc?). Like I say – I do recommend this if you like John Hughes but I was a little uncomfortable at the thought of fans trying to track him down as I think he wanted a peaceful life with his family. And knowing that he died so soon afterwards made watching this even harder. (Please read below the picture for something I DO highly recommend….) And for another opinion on this documentary from another fan of John Hughes, you can read Rob’s thoughts over at his MovieRob blog HERE.

My Rating: 6.5/10

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**To be honest, if you’re a John Hughes fan (or even if you’re not), I’ve been meaning to share this absolutely fascinating piece from a girl who was pen pals with Hughes from 1985-1987 (and more beyond). THIS should be read by everyone – Hughes lovers or even those who are simply interested in being writers or just knowing a bit more about the feelings of someone who was in the public eye. It’s a brilliant insight into the man & you will learn much more about him from this lovely piece written by a girl called Alison Byrne Fields than you will from watching this documentary. Please read this – It will be well worth your time (and there’s more to be read if you wish to explore more about John Hughes on her blog). Link here: Sincerely, John Hughes

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Weird Science (1985) Guest Review

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Today’s review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from Kieron of What About The Twinkie?. Thanks for being a part of this, Kieron! This is the first time we’re getting a multiple review of something (but there will be plenty more – including several for Sixteen Candles!). If you want to see what Eric & I thought of this one, you can click HERE. But first let’s hear Kieron’s thoughts on Weird Science. 🙂

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Director: John Hughes Starring: Anthony Michael Hall, Ilan Mitchell-Smith & Kelly LeBrock Synopsis: “Two nerdish boys attempt to create the perfect woman, but she turns out to be more than that.” Runtime: 94 minutes Rating: 12

“We need more input. We gotta fill this thing up with data. We gotta make her as real as possible, Wyatt. I want her to live. I want her to breathe. I want her to aerobicise.”

Weird Science is a movie I fell in love with not as a child or a teenager, but as an adult. As I must confess that I only saw the movie for the first time about 6 years on a VoD service when I needed something to cheer me up. The movie was released in 1985, which meant I was only a 1 year old at the time of its release, but unlike some of John Hughes’ other efforts such as Home Alone, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and The Breakfast Club, which I did watch growing up, Weird Science took its time in gaining my attention.

I’m not entirely sure how or why I missed out on Weird Science growing up, because looking at it now it had everything I could have wanted in a movie when I was younger. Two nerdish boys, who somewhat reflected my own time at school, goofy special effects, some brilliantly funny jokes and a smoking hot woman in the form of Kelly LeBrock all make up a delightfully silly movie about two nerds who create their perfect woman.

The premise is the best kind of nonsense, as two highschool nerds, Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith), decide one Friday night, after watching Frankenstein on the TV nonetheless, that they are going to create something of their own. After hacking into a government computer network, for more power, and then connecting a barbie doll to Wyatt’s computer a lightning bolt strikes which causes all sorts of mayhem only for Lisa (Kelly LeBrock) to emerge from the carnage.

The science behind Weird Science is pure 80’s nonsense. I doubt anyone seriously believed any of this was at all possible, especially at a time when technology was really only just finding its feet. Still, it’s this kind of loopy science fiction that gave many an 80’s movie its charm, and charm is something that Weird Science has by the bucket load.

Once the initial three leads are set up, the story moves quickly, as our protagonists move from staying in watching movies on a Friday night to bar crawling their way through the city as Lisa encourages them to let loose and have some fun for a change. Lisa is the kind of creation that can somehow manipulate environments and seemingly create things at will, as she has to make fake ID’s for our two heroes in order for them to be able to drink, drive and drink and drive legally.

Hughes makes the clever decision to focus on the characters and not so much on the plot here. The plot is established quickly, leaving the endearing charm of the three main characters to hold things together. Anthony Michael Hall, starring in his third Hughes directed movie by this point, gets some of the best lines in the movie and really excels in a bar scene explaining to his new friends how the girl “with the big titties” broke his heart. While Mitchell-Smith plays the straight guy who has to be the foil to Gary and his own older brother Chet, played by Bill Paxton.

Both Michael Hall and Mitchell-Smith are charming in their roles despite being the school nerds. They are ably supported by a superb cast who, despite limited screentime for some, manage to leave their mark on a movie that could easily have forgotten about them (see what I did there?). Robert Downey Jr. makes an early career appearance as one of the bullies who continually picks on Wyatt and Gary and then stupidly believes he has a chance with Lisa. Vernon Wells essentially makes an appearance as the same character he played in Mad Max 2, which further adds to the bizarre elements of the movie. While the previously mentioned Paxton plays Wyatt’s hardass military brother, who likes to give Wyatt a hard time throughout the movie, but pays for it when he encounters Lisa late on and who gives him more than he bargained for. When asking him to keep quiet about the movies events, she exclaims: “I can be a real serious bitch, if I don’t get what I want!”

Kelly LeBrock threatens to steal the show several times throughout the movie, getting some great lines and delivering them with a poise that makes her character even more likeable. On the John Hughes documentary, Don’t You Forget About Me, LeBrock admits to her character being “Mary Poppins with breasts” and in all honesty she is correct. Despite being sexy, she is never there for sex or to really pleasure the boys in any way, but more to give them a guiding hand and teach them a thing or two about self confidence. She is the emotional core of the movie, loving the boys, nurturing them and sticking up for them when they either can’t or won’t.

That is Hughes’ greatest strength here, as he directs a movie that is so daft in principal, that he manages to make a character piece about two teenage boys growing up being bullied and laughed at throughout their entire school life, or being told they will amount to no good from their overbearing parents. To then find the self confidence to break out of their shells and and become more than they thought they could. The struggles of teenage life are apparent in many of his efforts, particularly his earlier movies, and they remain here too. Despite the special effects and nonsense science, Weird Science is simply a, very funny story of two teenage boys encountering things for the first time in their lives. From drink, to women, cars to fights a simple tale exists of two boys growing up.

In summary: A fine effort from Hughes, with a young cast on top form, Weird Science is a superior piece of 80’s nostalgia that still stands up today.

Weird Science (1985) Review At The IPC

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The John Hughes Blogathon reviews officially kick off now with my double review of Weird Science with Eric of The IPC. You can read what we both think of the film HERE.

I posted yesterday about how much the John Hughes films mean to me and why I’m doing this blogathon. It blew my mind a little when I found out that Eric, who is about the same age as me, didn’t watch most of the teen John Hughes movies back when we were teenagers. What?! So he kindly agreed to watch & review several Hughes films for this blogathon. Thanks again, Eric, for watching movies I know aren’t your normal type of thing and for inspiring me to finally do my own blogathon. 🙂

And stay tuned for a review later today from a guest blogger reviewing another classic teen movie from Hughes.