Bad/Awesome Flixxx Review: Explorers (1985)

"Look, I know I must look weird to you but how do you think you look to me? Listen, I watched four episodes of "Lassie" before I figured out why the little hairy kid never spoke. I mean, he rolled over, sure, he did that fine but, I don't think he deserved a series for that." - Wak

"Elephantitis is when something gets bloated and ugly like your ASS." - Ben

"I would like... cheese... go... to... hell..." - Heinlein the Mouse

This was SUCH AN AWESOME FLICK when I was a little duder. My lil adopted Earth brother is 11 now and i just told him he basically had to stop whatever he was doing and go watch this immediately. Rewatching it, there are so many little parts that i had forgotten about. I just remembered the basic plotline. Forgot that these guys were the losers. Makes me like it even more now, probably why I dug it so much in the first place. The film debuts of River Phoenix and Ethan Hawke in EXPLORERS!!!

When the flick begins 6th grader Ben (Hawke) is having a dream where he's flying over his town and then he's in some kind of computer or what looks to be an early TRON-like video game. He sees some kind of weird circuit board but he doesn't even know what it is. When he wakes up, he's watching THIS ISLAND EARTH (The movie they watch in the actual MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000: THE MOVIE) and its super loud and probably why he was having wild dreams in the first place. So he draws a picture of what he saw in his dream and takes it to his buddy at school the next day. His buddy is named Wolfgang (Phoenix) and he's super nerd. He is busy getting beaten up when Ben comes up and helps him pick up his scattered books. He tells him about the chip and shows him the drawing. He tells him don't worry because the kid who beat him up has elephantitis. Word gets back to dude and then Ben is fighting at lunch. Some other negative kid bails him out and runs from the bullies but drops his walkman. Ben follows him home and brings it back to him trying to thank him. 
The thing about Ben is that he is SUPER DUPER FUCKING CHIPPER, POSITIVE, AND OPTIMISTIC about the future. About everything. He's so syrupy it makes you wanna puke. And the other kid has a bad home life, & as much as he hates to he takes Ben up on going to hang so he can get away from his abusive alcoholic dad. They stop by Wolfgang's on the way home and he's built the circuit already and when they connect it, some kind of forcefield puts a hole through all of his dime store novels... in a row... like a bullet. So they freak out and then the next day, he's figured some more shit out and he makes whatever the force is visible and says he can program it to go anywhere in space on a fixed grid. Some shenanigans ensue and they end up meeting over the course of the next half hour (for a few weeks) and do tests... way up on a hill, and then they accidentally figure out that they can get inside of it. So they decide to build a "ship" to protect them from falling as they decide to travel around town in it. They must be staying up late every night to build it because we get a montage of them falling asleep in class and getting answers wrong that the teacher is asking, etc. 
So they get it up and running and test drive it, zooming by the chick Ben like's house and then destroying the snack bar at the local drive in. Before they can get home a police helicopter catches up to them and can't decide whether it was aliens or a practical joke or what. They begin to go higher and Wolfgang pulls the circuit out and puts it in backwards and the force takes them safely home. The other guys can't wait to go back, but Wolfgang says, no way, we gotta do more tests. The cop goes back out and thinks he's spotted something weird in the ravine where they are hiding the ship. The kids all have the same dream so they know something is telling them to go back into the ship, they can feel whatever it is calling to them. Meanwhile the old cop figures out Ben's identity and goes to his house but Ben slips through his hands and gets to the ship. The boys take off right when the copper rolls up and he looks up at them and smiles, delighted because he always wanted to be a "fun-loving-space-ship-sci-fi-nerd-kid-who-went-to-space" too. 
So they go up to space and they are taken into this large ship and they meet a couple of aliens. Then they have some actions, and some reactions, and then something else happens. No spoiler for this one. There's a neat twist to the ending that I don't wanna give away. Its cute, and worth watching even if Ethan Hawke is like a glass of sweet tea that needs to be cut with unsweetened. Undrinkable. But definitely watch this.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Gerald Abernethy