It was an Orwellian year: Nineteen Eighty-four. We had drive-in theaters, youth, and energetic humor. Thirty-five years ago. It doesn't seem possible.

A buddy of mine--let's call him "Austin"--and I were partying on a Sunday afternoon. Sipping beers, perhaps indulging in other unmentionables. We had the idea to hit the drive-in. The Anchor was my favorite of the three outdoor theaters we had, and it was showing a promising double feature: Bachelor Party and Revenge of the Nerds. How could we lose?

Austin and I had a blast. Drinking, roaring with laughter at the juvenile hi-jinx. We loved them both, but Nerds was the more enjoyable movie.

Did we know how good we had it back then? Maybe, but not as much as we should have. I think we were aware of of good fortune that night. Cool movies, a warm night, not a care in the world. We'd manage to make it to work the next day, hungover but still charged from the fun weekend.

Life had some not-so-nice things waiting for us. Like responsibility. Real jobs. Money concerns. Aging. Addictions.

Austin and I parted ways not long after that. He became more interested in automotive racing and harder drugs. I was never much on those things. I saw him a few years ago. He had suffered a stroke, lost his job, and was living at his parents' house. We used to have so much fun, but he was not all there anymore. Repeating himself over and over, ranting about politics. It wasn't an enjoyable experience, and though Austin has tried to call me again, I have avoided another meeting.

We had seen some other double features, Austin and me, but the night of the nerds and the bachelors was the most memorable.

I've heard that Revenge of the Nerds isn't what you'd describe as being politically correct. I honestly don't remember much, as I haven't seen it in decades, but I guess there's some truth to it. But then movies like these (Animal House, Porky's, H.O.T.S., Hamburger: The Movie, and so many others) weren't exactly striving to be sensitive. Their aim was to thumb their noses at polite society, and their aim was true.

There's a good chance that I will never watch Revenge of the Nerds again, but I think I'll hold on to my affectionate thoughts about it, and remember the days when people could laugh at themselves.

While I have very little time to watch full-length movies these days, I took a few minutes and looked up Siskel and Ebert's review of Revenge of the Nerds. I always admired these guys, even when we didn't quite agree on movies. They both gave Nerds the coveted thumbs up rating, saying that Nerds was funny and sweet. This was not long after they decried slasher films in a special episode, proclaiming them to be ugly and deeply misogynistic. Now slasher movies are mostly accepted. Times change, as do the mores of society.

I can and do listen to the soundtrack record. Real Gone Music has done a magnificent job in presenting the classic New Wave songs from Revenge of the Nerds, in lovely brown pocket-protector vinyl. A big standout is One Foot in Front of the Other, by Bone Symphony. And to bring this around to horror fiction, Bone Symphony band member Marc Levinthal collaborated with John Skipp on The Emerald Burrito of Oz and some cool short stories.

If you, like me, feel intense fondness for these kind of prurient shenanigans, I heartily recommend Scott Armstrong's colorful memoir, Revenge of the Nerd. Yes, Booger wrote a book about his misadventures in Nerds, Risky Business, Better Off Dead, One Crazy Summer, and How I Got Into College. As well as other, later, indoor bullstuff.

Revenge of the Nerds was the best of Armstrong's movies, and I smile when I think back to more innocent days when Nerd Empowerment didn't make the gorge rise.

Written by Mark Sieber

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