Sunday, December 5, 2010

Childhood Favorites: Can't Buy Me Love

Can't Buy Me Love

My brother and I have seen this movie at least 50 times.  That's conservative.  I can literally look at the picture above and see the rest of the scene play out.  And, when I see them, I still call collared shirts with the sleeves cut off Designer Originals.  I know a lot of people have seen this one a few times since it was filmed here in Tucson but as kids we basically had no idea Tucson existed.  I also never connected the fact that it was filmed in the same city as another childhood favorite, Revenge of the Nerds.  I have noted, however, how odd it was that I ended up moving to the town two of the most cherished films of my youth were made.  I wonder where Porky's was filmed.
Anyway, everyone knows what this movie is about, if you don't, watch the trailer.  What I love about this movie, and eighties teen comedies in general, is the earnestness.  They were funny, but the actors didn't know they were in comedies.  Teen movies today are almost universally tongue in cheek and they suffer from it.  I'm not sure how the director, Steve Rash, bumbled into making this movie.  He did make The Buddy Holly Story which isn't bad but if you look at the rest of his catalog it makes you want to puke.  I mean, he directed this.  I'm also not sure how they were able to pay enough money to use a Beatles song in the movie.  I guess those were different times. 
There are so many things to love about this movie.  Probably my favorite parts of the movie concern Ronald's, played by Patrick Dempsey, relationship with his former best friend Kenneth, played by the always amazing Courtney Gains.  He had a pretty great run, if you ask me anyway, in the late eighties with roles in Can't Buy Me Love, Colors, The 'burbs, and Memphis Belle.  The scene in the arcade after Ronald has sort of come to his senses is one of the great nerd confrontations in all of cinema.  Kenneth just keeps repeating the phrase, "You threw shit on my door." In reference, of course, to Ronald's ill fated Halloween prank pulled with the guy who would become Gerardo and that other guy who would go on to always play a cop in which Ronald did actually throw shit on Kenneth's door.  I always thought that was a particularly assholey thing to do. When you're supposed to just light the bag of shit on fire and run away, Ronald for some reason gives it a fast pitch softball toss straight into their front door.  What a scamp.  The movie also features, albeit in a small role, consummate character actor, Max Perlich.  I love that dude.  I could go on and on but probably you should just watch it again.  But remember to be prepared, that nerd you suddenly realized is actually cool, yeah, the one that just went from totally geek to totally chic, might just be pulling a "Ronald McDonald Miller Scam" on you.

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