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Revenge of the Nerds

Revenge of the Nerds

r-rated-drinking-comedy-revenge-of-the-nerdsRevenge of the Nerds is a classic college comedy, detailing the struggle between nerds and jocks and satirizing the frat culture of American colleges.

It’s the tale of a football playing frat who burn down their frat house and take over the freshman dorms, pushing them into the gym to live. Not all have to stay in the gym, as many are accepted into frats, leaving only the nerds to stay behind. The nerds, who have been trodden down all their lives. The nerds who’s tolerance is bubbling to a boil, and one more prank against them could be the straw that broke the camels back. While “Revenge of the Nerds” is hilarious as intended, it is unintentionally funny on so many levels.

Nerds or Hipsters?

judy-the-female-nerd-revenge-of-the-nerds

Those glasses scream hipster to me!

Those glasses scream hipster to me…

The first thing I thought when I watched the beginning of “Revenge of the Nerds” is that these are a bunch of hipsters wearing ironically nerdy clothing. One of the love interests of the nerds, Judy (Michelle Meyrink) is a horn-rim glasses wearing, accordion playing hipster goddess who would probably be played by Zooey Deschanel these days. It’s hilarious to see how things have changed.

The technology

One of our heroes impresses a girl by using a computer. From a blank screen, computer generated characters appear from his clicking away on a keyboard. It’s laughable, but luckily no-one in 1984 would have picked up on it since there was not many computers back then. On the other hand, they have a sick robot which brings them drinks and cleans their house.

The Nerds

the nerds in revenge of the nerdsRevenge of the nerds main characters. The main characters: Lewis (Robert Carradine) and Gilbert (Anthony Edwards) are two best friends who are excited to start their college adventure and have an experience other than the cruel world of high school. Their greeting to college of “NERRRDS” dampens their spirits, however. They are our main characters in our adventure, and the action follows these guys from their humble beginnings to their grand finale.

The geeky violin playing Poindexter: Violin playing with a strange hairstyle. This one is more of a geek than a nerd, as he seems to lack social skills even when speaking with the other “Nerds”.

The child genius Wormser (Andrew Cassese): a child with an Einsteinian brain who’s parents push him into college to grow his intellect.

bogger-disgusting-revenge-of-the-nerds-characterBooger is in the Revenge of the Nerds 1984 comedy as the grossest nerd around. The disgusting Booger (Curtis Armstrong): A little like the “Blotto” character from Animal House, Booger is an animal. He smokes, he drinks, and he debases. He is there for cheap laughs and to add that grimy character that everyone loves. He’s the wildcard, who always has a trick up his sleeve and is always unpredictable in what he is going to do.

Lamar, the flamboyant gay man
He isn’t a nerd, he’s gay.

lamar-gay-nerd-from-revenge-of-the-nerdsThe not-nerdy Lamar (Larry B. Scott): He isn’t a nerd, he is just flamboyantly gay. Which was apparently enough to keep him out of the frats. Which felt really strange considering how far LGBT rights and the attitude towards them have come since 1984.

Takashi (Brian Tochi): Once again, not a nerd, he is Asian. I think the standards for nerd has changed. The movie pokes fun at his inability to pronounce the phonetics for “L” for cheap laughs.

The Alpha Betas
These guys are the kings of the campus. They swill beer, play pranks, and chase women in their frat parties.

Their leader Stan Gable (Ted McGinley): He has everything going for him, from good looks and stylish hair to a gorgeous girlfriend.

Burke (Matt Salinger): He is another token jock, who is focused on winning games and drinking beer.

Ogre (Donald Gibb): One of my favourite characters of this movie. He is a monster. An enormous beast of a man who consumes alcohol and exudes rage and testosterone.

An accurate portrayal of fraternity life?

nerds! nerds! nerds! chants ogre
The Nerds get a warm welcome of “NERRRRDS” from Ogre

NEEEERDDDS revenge of the nerds yelling

The Nerds get a warm welcome of “NERRRRDS” from Ogre

I’ll be honest, I come from the west coast of Canada which is hipster and hippie country. We care about stuff like the environment and ride a lot of bikes. The only knowledge I have of fraternity life is a friend who went to visit Utah and went to some frat parties- she said that as long as you were a decently good looking girl, you were allowed into the party and given as much to drink as you wanted. She also said that they were quite respectable and seem intent on one major question: “Are you democrat or republican?”. I can’t attest to the validity of this film to frat culture, but I can compare and contrast it to the university I attended, where half of these guys would be hipsters and the other half would probably form clubs to explore their interests. The thing is, nowadays there are so many people with so many interests, and with the internet to facilitate clubs and find other people with the same interests, the concept of a nerd has eroded. But has the struggle between jock and nerd truly ended? Can it truly, ever?

The influence of technology on the perception of nerds

Nowadays, technology has become an integral part of the day to day life of almost everyone I know. I would probably have been considered a nerd when this movie came out because I enjoy spending time on the internet and perusing memes and other such frivolities. The fact is, most of the people I know do not fit into the jock category of Revenge of the Nerds, and the internet and social media has made people realize that they are all in this together. Think of the jocks as the capitalists and everyone else as the proletariat- we just needed some class consciousness to realize that life is better if we value more than just athletic achievement. The fact is, knowing how to use a computer and the internet as a research tool and in your daily life is getting more and more essential in our world.

Sexism in Revenge of the Nerds

I did have an issue with the sexism in this movie, which shows our “heroes” committing crime against women. Women are mostly seen as objects in this film, and while that is to be expected in college comedies, I never saw it go quite so far. Some of the films made me cringe a little. Most satires come with a grain of truth, but I can only hope that frat life in the USA is so alien to this film that I don’t have to worry.

The best character in the film?

donald-gibb-ogre-revenge-of-the-nerds

CRUSH! THE! NERDS!

Hands down, Ogre is the best character in this top comedy of 1984. Ogre is the most one-dimensional of the one-dimensional jocks, and seems only to have three motives in life: get huge, get hammered, and most of all, WIN. You never see him stray from his goals of promoting jockdom. He is hilarious to watch, and every scene with Ogre is a scene to be remembered.

Why is Revenge of the Nerds one of my best R rated comedies?

I would guess Revenge of the Nerds is R rated because of the excessive drug use, alcohol swilling, and naked women that fill this R rated comedy.

Who would I recommend Revenge of the Nerds to?

I would recommend “Revenge of the Nerds” to anyone who is looking for

A) A college comedy

B) An insight into the attitudes of the 80s on women and minorities

C) Anyone looking for a funny comedy

In short, Revenge of the Nerds is on my list of the best comedies of 1984 because it is far funnier than it ever intended to be. It is not just a satire of frat life, it is an unintentional satire of the 80s.

If you liked “Revenge of the Nerds” check out:

Animal House, a classic college comedy that heavily influenced “Revenge of the Nerds”

Old School, one of my favourite college comedies that has Will Ferrell in it

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