Revenge of the Nerds: Panty Raid Edition
Directed by Jeff Kanew
It seemed like a desperate cliché — trying to put a pocket-protected, four-eyed spin on the wildly successful Animal House — but unlike most of the ’80s signature films Revenge of the Nerds maintains its influence. The overwhelming yardstick to measure the stereotypical nerd, the film was timed perfectly to cash-in on the vernacular of that era while also competing in the gross-out/nudie market. Embarking upon their educational glory at the fictional Adams College, nerds Louis (Robert Carradine) and Gilbert (Anthony Edwards) quickly learn that "their kind” isn’t accepted by the school’s overruling jocks. Assembling a gang of social rejects under the Tri-Lambda fraternity, Lewis and Gilbert unwillingly find themselves knee-deep in on-campus combat with the evil jocks. Of course, it’s really just a "the rise of the oppressed” plot that we’ve seen a million times but Kanew’s unabashed vision, which climaxes with the Tri-Lam’s Devo-aping performance and a nerd conquest, never loses its value. "I’m not Michael Bay,” the director admits during a stunt scene that involves two bicycles colliding, which sets the tone for his commentary with Carradine, Armstrong and Busfield. Filled with sardonic anecdotes and knee-slapping revelations, the commentary makes re-watching the film a pleasure. The "I’m A Nerd and, I’m Pretty Proud of It” featurette interviews the self-deprecating cast and crew about the film’s legacy and on-set hysterics. Much like the commentary, it’s light-hearted and struggles to keep a straight face (i.e., Carradine "admitting” he "turned it down” because, "Mel Gibson wouldn’t play a nerd, why would I?”). Kanew even admits how producers forced him into saying he’d basically remake Animal House to get the project off the ground, or in other words, make a film he and everyone would be ashamed to put their names on. Luckily, he didn’t. Of course, the entire cast reveal their initial hesitancy, which is best emphasised by Armstrong: "I’m gonna go in, but if they offer me the part of Booger, they can just fucking forget it! I’m not picking my nose for anybody. And then they offered it to me and I took it.” Plus: deleted scenes and the shameful pilot for the embarrassing sitcom.
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