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Film / One Crazy Summer

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A 1986 screwball comedy written and directed by Savage Steve Holland, starring John Cusack and Demi Moore.

Needing to get away from home after graduating high school, Hoops McCann (Cusack) follows his friend George Calamari (Joel Murray) to the island of Nantucket, Massachusetts, where they quickly fall in with Ray's old friends, Egg and Clay Stork (Bobcat Goldthwait and Tom Villard) and Ack-Ack Raymond (Curtis Armstrong). Along the way, Hoops ends up crossing paths with singer/songwriter Cassandra (Moore), who is trying to save her grandmother's home from foreclosure and demolition - especially since greedy Aquilla Beckersted (Mark Metcalf) and his son Teddy (Matt Mulhern) have designs on razing the house to build a gaudy lobster restaurant.

Also in the cast are William Hickey as Old Man Beckersted, Aquilla's father who really controls the family money, Joe Flaherty as Ack-Ack's overbearing father, Rich Little as a Radio DJ running a summer giveaway, and Jeremy Piven as Ty, Teddy's lieutenant in dickishness.

Tropes that apply to this film:

  • …And That Little Girl Was Me: Subverted. Egg tells Ack-Ack a story about "a little fat boy" who talked funny, and had a twin brother, and so on... and then he reveals that Egg wasn't that little fat boy, the little fat boy was someone he liked to beat up.
  • Animated Credits Opening: The opening, closing, and several segments in between are animated, ostensibly part of Hoops' attempts to create an animated love story as a submission to art school. All of these were created by director Savage Steve Holland, who came from the animation world.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Egg Stork is usually a lovable knucklehead who usually too timid to stand up to Teddy. However, when he snaps, he goes Ax-Crazy. When his brother shows up with Ted's car and a black eye, Egg picks up a chainsaw and carves the engine out of Ted's Ferrari. George provokes this by telling Egg that Beckersted said something about a fighter Egg likes to make him row harder during the race.
  • Big Eater: Cookie, who casually and effortlessly consumes a bag of popcorn twice her size in a few minutes despite being played by the petite Kimberly Foster.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Used in-universe when, during a Rousing Speech, Hoops rails against the "Cute and fuzzy bunnies," eliciting looks of confusion from his friends.
    • Also the above-mentioned scene where Cookie eats what has to be at least 100 pounds of popcorn. The next time we see her it's as if it never happened.
  • Blind People Wear Sunglasses: In the animated Show Within a Show segments, the personification of Love is portrayed with sunglasses and a cane because he's blind — along with being a baby with wings and a diaper, of course.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Hoops' fear of boats is mentioned at the beginning, naturally the climax revolves around boats.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Inverted in that Hoops (despite his nickname) is established to have absolutely no skill in getting anything through a basketball hoop, but is called upon to sink a ridiculously difficult shot at the climax.
    • Played straight with his animator skills: his hand-drawn animated advertisement of Cassandra's upcoming act is what drives people to see it (that, and showing it on the drive-in theater in the middle of a regular presentation).
  • Clingy Costume: This happens when Egg gets stuck in a full rubber Godzilla suit.
  • Cone of Shame: Squid Calamari's dog who wears this thing throughout the whole film ends up having puppies wearing the same thing.
  • Cute Is Evil: The "Cute and fuzzy bunnies" from Hoops animated story.
  • Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat: Lampshaded during the boat race. Teddy objects to Aquilla trying to sabotage Hoops' boat because he's already winning, but Aquilla insists that "The only way to win is to cheat".
  • Drive-In Theater
  • Flipping the Bird: Hoops and his friends do this to Teddy and his sailing crew as they pass by him in their sailing ship refitted with part of Teddy's convertible as its outboard motor.
  • Going Postal: The opening animated sequence has the rhino being so distraught (and then enraged) by the bunnies' bullying that he pulls out a machine gun from a case (which has travel stickers from Beirut) and shooting them all dead. Hoops pauses the sequence and says that he's got too much dark crap in his brain to keep working on the project at the moment.
  • Ironic Nickname: Despite his name, Hoops is terrible at basketball.
  • Jerk Jock: Teddy
  • Kick the Dog: The villain literally kicks a dog as part of his over-the-top characterization. He also likes to listen to lobsters scream as he boils them - with a stethoscope, no less.
  • Nautical Knockout: The climax pits the heroes against the Beckersteds in the local nautical race with the deed to Cassandra's house on the line.
  • Never Say That Again: The very mention of the word "work" is enough to make idle rich snob Teddy clutch his ears in terror.
  • Overlord Jr.: Teddy to Aquilla.
  • Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony: Hoops and his friends try to christen a sailing ship that they fixed up by breaking a travel sized bottle of liquor on the bow, but they end up breaking a hole in the ship instead.
  • Searching the Stalls: The leader of a biker gang opens each stall and finds the person he was looking for in the last one.
  • Shout-Out: Egg winds up getting stuck in a Godzilla suit and having a lit cigar thrown in the mouth of it to give the appearance of smoke coming out. He winds up going on a rampage through a scale model of the Big Bad's planned real-estate development plan; complete with explosive pyrotechnics and Bobcat Goldthwait's trademark screaming sounding close enough to Godzilla's roar to pass off.
    • Hoops McCann's name is a reference to the Steely Dan song "Glamour Profession", which features a basketball player by the same name.
  • Take That, Critics!: Siskel And Ebert gave Savage Steve Holland's previous film Better Off Dead a negative review, so at the end of the movie a pair of "Cute and fuzzy bunnies" who resemble them get blown up.
  • The Precious, Precious Car: Teddy's red Ferrari, complete with Vanity License Plate, gets torn to pieces by the heroes to create a makeshift super-outboard motor for their boat.
  • Vanity License Plate: On Teddys car, "CUL8R". It fittingly stays on the part of the car that has been turned into the outboard motor that was used on the fixed-up sailing ship Hoops and his friends use in the race.
  • Wastebasket Ball: Hoops plays a game of this just after producing another failed cartoon. The wastebasket, which is surrounded by a couple dozen crumpled-up papers, is completely empty.