Movie Club: Short Circuit

Discussion in 'Introductions & Off Topic' started by LiamABC, Mar 4, 2018.

  1. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    WELCOME EVERYBODY TO THE LATEST DISCUSSION THREAD OF THE NEW MOVIE CLUB, DESIGNED TO RUN PARALLEL WITH R.O.C.K.S. A big thanks to everyone that are joining us through all of this.

    This week we're doing another 80s classic, Short Circuit

    Remember any ideas for films to discuss are most welcome, and should be made on the Movie Club Introduction thread (the sticky one), and anyone is welcome to add their thoughts about movies already discussed on their respective threads.

    Just a friendly reminder to everyone that, whilst fans are obviously welcome to passionately discuss and give their views on these movies, please remember to keep things on a friendly footing and respect your fellow posters.
    Also, please do not post where or how to find the full movie online. And do not post asking others to PM it to you. You are however allowed to watch the movie in whatever manner you want.
     
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  2. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    Well, if nobody else has anything to say on this I'll give my own thoughts.

    This is another film I love more every time I see it. Some wonderful performances from all the cast - and from Number Five! The bonus features on the DVD talk about all the various duplicate robots they made for this, some whole figures, some just heads or arms for specific functions, and the number of spares they had ensured they didn't lose any filming time. The initial instruction given to the designers was "it mustn't look like there's a person inside", which was fair enough.

    The characters are likeable - even Skroeder! After all, he is only doing his job. He may be trigger happy, but he is only going after the robot because he fears it could be a danger to the public. Howard as the boss is a little odd, a former scientist turned businessman, he doesn't really have the nerves to be in charge really, but his neuroses fuel some great comedy, and at the end, when the robot gets destroyed, he is feeling the sense of loss - although exactly why is uncertain, because even if Numbers 1, 2 and 3 can't be reprogrammed back, they still have one working model left, Number 4 was untouched!

    As for the good guys, Fisher Stevens as Ben is absolutely crazy, why they had the idea of making him Indian I don't know, it was probably inspired by Peter Sellers in Goodness Gracious Me. Steve Guttenberg as Newton Crosby has the most interesting character transformation, he's a good guy who just struggles with the idea that something he created has actually come to life. That's the only reason he's not a fully-fledged good guy until near the end.

    Ally Sheedy is pitch perfect as Stephanie, the eccentric who initially believes Number Five is an alien. She doesn't overplay the part, which is crucial. Too many parts have been ruined by over-acting.

    The other thing that gets me every time is the music. The song "Come And Follow Me" which is the end credits music occurs all over the incidental music. We hear it in the bar scene where Newton and Stephanie start to connect, but it also figures in different instrumental arrangements throughout the film, much like Bryan Adams' "Everything I Do" in "Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves" just five years later.

    But of course the real star of this movie is Number Five himself. Tim Blaney's voice work for the character is spot on, with all the crazy ideas the character comes up with - and indeed the not so crazy ones, like when he refuses to "disassemble" any living being.

    Which reminds me. The crucial scene in this movie is when Number Five learns about death, less than a minute after finding out that Nova want to disassemble him. While his reaction is extremely comical and guaranteed to make kids laugh, it's actually poignant, and you can't blame him for having a slight panic attack at the concept. How would you feel if you didn't know what death was, and then less than a minute after finding out, also learned that people were planning to kill you?

    The other scene that I have to talk about, one I've already mentioned, is when Number Five has to go up against his fellow robots - his "older brothers" if you like, when Numbers 1, 2 and 3 attack him. They might have stood a better chance if they'd attacked all at once, but they still didn't have the ability to think like a living being. Number Five could still have got between them and dodged their lasers just in time . . . but I'm hypothesising. His tactics against their individual attacks are a joy to watch, as is his Elmer Fudd impression, and his reprogramming them into acting like the Three Stooges.

    And of course the ultimate irony of these robots. Showcased as the ultimate war machine, what is the acronym given to them? SAINT!

    I love this movie more every time I watch it.
     
  3. The Drifter

    The Drifter Berbill

    Because of this thread, I actually just watched Short Circuit for the first time - excellent movie! Even though I'm an '80's kid, I missed this when it was first released for whatever reason, and never caught it in later years - until now.

    The storyline was interesting & clever, with solid performances from all the cast. The idea that a gentle scientist/technician would be working for the military industrial complex to build weapons that are intended for war is not a new concept in films at all, but was handled extremely well here.

    The film did remind me that when I was growing up in the '80's, a lot of people (especially those in the manufacturing industry) were worried that robots were going to take over their jobs. 30+ years later, this has happened to some extent - but, I still don't see automated bartenders or baristas - as is seen in the film (re: the early scene when the robots were making drinks & serving coffee, etc.) - LOL.

    Number 5 was the ultimate couch potato - since he didn't need to sleep, he could stay up all watching TV & channel surfing, and then later endlessly quote the phrases/sayings/commercials that he had seen on the boob tube ;)

    My favorite parts of the film include:

    - When Guttenberg was talking to the military/corporate big shots, and stated that he had initially designed the robot(s) as a "marital aid", much to their disgust - hilarious ;)
    - The sequence when Number 5 quickly & completely dismantled (but not destroyed) the Trans-Am, belonging to Ally Sheedy's obnoxious ex-bf ;)
    - The scene when Number 5 burst into the bathroom when AS was taking a bath, and said, "Very attractive...nice software!" - LOL
    - When Number 5 re-programmed his adversary robots to act like the Three Stooges - very funny.
     
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  4. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    Absolutely. I think Wreck-Gar in Transformers: The Movie & season 3 had a nod to Number Five with all that TV talk!
     
  5. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    One of the best 80's movies.
    Johnny 5's design is incredible. It works so well because it is a very believable design in the sense that it really does look like an actual robot designed for military use. It's not a Terminator level robot in terms of it's abilities and movements. Or designed to have a fancy look like the droids from Star Wars etc. It's a robot you could believe could be actually built and made in the 80's.

    I really liked all the cast in the movie.
    It was nice having Steve Guttenberg and G.W. Bailey reunite in another movie after the Police Academy films.
    Ally Sheedy was great as the lead actress.
    Fischer Stevens did a phenomenal job as Ben. After seeing him in Short Circuit 1 and 2 I believed he was an Indian until I seen him years later in another role.
    Of course Tim Blaney also was great as Johnny 5.

    I loved the countryside setting. It was so different to the city setting of Short Circuit 2.

    There are so many scenes I like it's hard to pick a favourite:
    The TV and dancing.
    Disassembling the car.
    How fights and out smarts the other robots.

    One of my favourite 80's movies.

    I should also so say it's a real shame that this classic movie has never had any real merchandise or toys made to support it like so many other movies.
    The character screams toy potential yet no company seem to want to make any Johnny 5 toys.
     
  6. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    Interesting point about the lack of merchandise - that's practically the setup for the second movie!

    I know what you mean about Fisher Stevens. I still only know him from the Short Circuit films. Apparently he got some accusations of racism for his portrayal of Ben. The character wasn't originally written as Indian, they just kind of had the idea and took it down that road. He's certainly the funniest character in the film.
     

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