Singlehandedly starting a whole new subgenre of college comedies, Revenge of the Nerds is a classic eighties raunchy comedy. It’s got everything you would want from such a movie and more. R rating means we will get nudity, drug and alcohol use and a lot of other fun stuff. And the story is quite inspiring with the poor nerd fraternity fighting against the evil jock fraternity. As somewhat of a nerd myself, I loved this movie. I distinctly remember watching it for the first time in the late nineties and laughing my ass off. Each scene was better and more outlandish than the previous one culminating in one hell of a finale.
Plus, everyone here seemed to be doing everything I wanted to do. And Revenge of the Nerds told me that I could “get chicks”, “smoke weed”, and have a great time no matter how I looked or what my interests were. It was one of those inclusive movies that I think helped a whole generation work through some issues. And Satan knows they (and also me) needed some help. Help they weren’t getting from their boomer parents or society in general. Just think how ludicrous this concept is that a dumb sex comedy had to normalize being smart and into computers.
Actually, the creators of this movie cite some of the early successes of Silicon Valley guys as inspiration for the movie. Today we live in a world in which we’re all nerds to some extent. I mean, you have to have a certain knowledge of computers to get any kind of job. Like sending e-mails, receiving e-mails, and deleting e-mails. I could go on and I will. Clicking, double-clicking, the computer screen, of course, the keyboard, the bit that goes on the floor… Ahh man, IT Crowd is such an iconic tv show, do check it out if you haven’t already.
Lewis and Gilbert are two best friends who are extremely excited to start their college life. They can’t wait to meet new people and especially girls. However, as soon as they arrive on campus, they are attacked by the members of the jock fraternity Alpha Betas. They even kick them out of their dorm with the help of a hapless dean. But you can push a man only so far and Lewis and Gilbert along with the rest of their friends start plotting their revenge.
Now, I say revenge but what actually happened was that these poor guys just wanted a normal college life. It turns out that you have to fight for it while the revenge part is only secondary to this prime directive. So, we already went over my first viewing but what about the second you might ask? Well, I rewatched the entire franchise some ten years ago, just as I was entering my “highest” period. Of course, I forgot all about the specifics of the story so I was blown away by every marijuana reference.
Just to be clear, this movie spawned three sequels and all of them are quite watchable. However, the second part, Nerds in Paradise is probably the best one. This brings us to today and my third viewing. Completely straight and ready to be entertained I played the movie late last night and was stunned by just how weird it is. Revenge of the Nerds was still sort of funny to me but for totally different reasons. I guess you have to be in a certain mood or stage in your life for it to hit you properly.
Although some scenes are just so wild they simply work either way. When a movie opens with an awkward boner scene, you know what to expect from it. Perhaps a man jumping from the top of the stairs into a small inflatable pool full of beer? If you pay careful attention to what’s going on in the background or think about what’s actually going on, Revenge of the Nerds becomes even funnier. However, some scenes are still quite problematic.
For example, our lovable nerd crew broke into the female dormitory, installed hidden cameras, and stole their panties. And towards the end, we have the old switcheroo, as one of the nerds pretends he’s someone else to have sex with a girl. I wonder what young people today think about this. If you’re one of them, please leave a comment below.
Finally, if you’re looking for movies like Revenge of the Nerds, start with Animal House, Porky’s, Back to School, and Risky Business. Risky Business that’s much, much better than I expected it to be and is still funny and relevant today.
Director: Jeff Kanew
Writers: Tim Metcalfe, Miguel Tejada-Flores, Steve Zacharias, Jeff Buhai
Cast: Robert Carradine, Anthony Edwards, Timothy Busfield, Curtis Armstrong, Larry B. Scott
Fun Facts: A lot of the actors later admitted they did the movie purely because “it paid well” and it also provided them with a chance to kickstart their movie careers.