Big Man on Campus (1989)

There are two wolves inside of me: The first wolf tells me that if I were to talk about more mainstream and/or recognizable movies, viewer count and interest in in this blog would improve. The other wolf says, “Hey, wasn’t it weird that the female lead in Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror was in basically nothing? Well turns out her film debut was in a thing called Big Man on Campus where a hunchback goes to college. That sounds weird!” I think by this point we know which wolf I feed, even to my detriment.

Alex and Cathy are a college couple who run into a gibbering hunchback who lives in the campus’ broken clock tower. Mr. Dr. Tom Skerritt thinks that he can be taught to be a productive member of society, while Janet Majors from Shock Treatment (or Phoenix from Phantom of the Paradise, depending on your cult movie preference) thinks he’s a menace. But the hunchback adapts decently in civilization, eventually naming himself Bob Maloogaloogaloogaloogalooga. I couldn’t make that up if I tried. But his real goal? To steal Cathy from Alex, despite Alex having been the main person helping Bob adjust; Bob’s kind of a dick. The evil female doctor forces a miscommunication conflict and now Bob’s on the run from the law. While everyone he knows is being interviewed by an absolutely vile radio shock jock (with an audience?), Bob races there, gets the evil doctor to confess that she’s evil, and then everyone clapped. The shock jock–who mere minutes ago refused to acknowledge Bob as human–asks if Bob would do anything different. Then Bob kisses his actual love interest and makes a reference to the fact that previously he had fucked a vacuum cleaner.

This was one of the most aggressively unfunny comedies I have ever seen, and I’ve sat through Leonard Part 6. I never laughed once. Fuck, even The Emoji Movie made me laugh twice! Alex speaks exclusively in quips and not a single one of them lands; not even the other characters find him funny. And then there’s Bob, who was just… awful. And it’s not like his actor didn’t give it everything he had, because Bob was played by the film’s writer! That makes Bob’s sad origin even more self-indulgent–it was already there because that scene went on way too long. The closest thing this movie had to funny moment was when Bob was reading from an erotic novel and accidentally turned on his speech coach, but even that has a bunch of issues.

Basically I liked this movie the first time I saw it, when it was called Encino Man. At least that movie had Sean Astin!

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One thought on “Big Man on Campus (1989)

  1. Pingback: The New Mutants (2020) | Chwineka Watches

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