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Savage Steve Holland
John Cusack, Demi Moore, Joel Murray
Writing Credits:
Savage Steve Holland

An aspiring teenage cartoonist and his friends come to the aid of a singer trying to save her family property from developers.

Rated PG.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 93 min.
Price: $21.99
Release Date: 8/17/2021

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Savage Steve Holland and Actors Curtis Armstrong and Bobcat Goldthwait
• Trailer


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One Crazy Summer [Blu-Ray] (1986)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 9, 2021)

Back in 1985, writer/director Savage Steve Holland and actor John Cusack collaborated for the wacky comedy Better Off Dead. 1986 reunited those two for yet another nutty laughfest via One Crazy Summer.

New high school graduate Hoops McCann (Cusack) aspires to craw cartoons and attend the Rhode Island School of Design. While he frets over his future, Hoops’ pal George Calamari (Joel Murray) proposes that he go along to Nantucket for some post-grad partying.

Along the way, they pick up Cassandra (Demi Moore), a young woman on the run from a biker gang. Cassandra needs money to save her grandfather’s house, and lovestruck Hoops gets swept up in this endeavor.

Along with plenty of other shenanigans, of course. You can’t call an 80s movie One Crazy Summer unless it comes with the requisite amount of loony characters and off the wall humor.

That became the formula Holland followed for Dead and he goes down the same path with Summer. I wish I viewed that as a positive, but since I thought Dead pretty much stunk, so I hoped Summer would offer an improvement.

It might, actually, but I suspect any perceived superior quality I found in Summer stemmed from expectations more than anything else. I went into Dead with the belief it’d offer entertainment, but since I found none, this meant I entered Summer without much hope of wit or cleverness.

For the most part, this proved true, though if nothing else, Summer beats Dead because we find SCTV alum Joe Flaherty in a small role. Flaherty can’t redeem the film, of course, but his presence adds charm.

Summer also seems less hyperactive and grating than Dead, at least to a moderate degree. Dead came with a tasteless concept and felt like it actively attempted to create an annoying experience, whereas Summer offers a moderately more subdued flick, and it indulges in some actual heart and warmth at times.

Take “moderately” as the key word there, though, as Summer still throws an awful lot of gags at us and hopes some will stick. A couple do, but not many, as the laugh to dud ratio seems poor.

The sight of Cusack and Moore so early in their careers can offer intrigue, and they actually exhibit decent chemistry. I just wish they found themselves in a better movie, as Summer tends to give us a mediocre exploration of the 80s style of broad comedy.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus C+

One Crazy Summer appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a pretty solid presentation.

Overall sharpness worked fine. A few wider shots could seem slightly soft, but the majority of the movie came with appealing delineation.

No instances of jagged edges and shimmering occurred, and I saw no edge haloes. In terms of print flaws, the film came free from issues.

Colors appeared positive. The movie opted for a natural palette, and the tones seemed fairly full and rich.

Blacks felt dark and dense, while shadows offered appropriate clarity. Expect a solid transfer here.

As for the movie’s DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack, it seemed perfectly adequate. Speech was natural enough, with no obvious edginess on display.

Music showed decent range, and effects felt the same, as they showed reasonable impact and avoided obvious distortion. Given the movie’s age and sonic ambitions, this became an accurate representation of the source.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we find an audio commentary from writer/director Savage Steve Holland and actors Curtis Armstrong and Bobcat Goldthwait. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story and characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, music, and various experiences.

Much of this chat revolves around joking and loose memories of the shoot. The emphasis remains on a light tone, and that works.

Goldthwait adds a lot of humor, and we get just enough actual production info to carry the piece. A few too many dead spots occur, but this still turns into an enjoyable commentary.

Note that much to my relief, Goldthwait uses his real voice here, not the screechy tones he adopted for his 1980s comedic persona. I think Goldthwait abandoned that character years ago – the shtick got old fast – but I still worried he’d revive that voice for the commentary, so I feel happy that he doesn’t.

Because I lived through the 1980s, I remember when wacky comedies like 1986’s One Crazy Summer seemed daring and hilarious. 35 years later, however, the flick too often comes across as tacky, dated and dumb, with only occasional glimmers of humor. The Blu-ray brings very good picture along with appropriate sound and an audio commentary. This turns into a quality release for a fairly mediocre movie.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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