Buckaroo Banzai was the nerdy pop cultural brainchild of eccentric author Earl Mac Rauch and scriptwriter turned director W. D. Richter. Initially projected as part of a brand new cinema and comics universe, after hundreds and hundreds of pages of rejected scripts (many of which were stuffed in the trunk of Rauch’s car), false starts and studio switches, it finally hit the screen in 1984.

This film is totally bananas in a glorious 1980s way. Buckaroo Banzai is a true nerd renaissance man: neurosurgeon, particle physicist, race car driver, rock star and crime fighter. He and his backup band of hard rocking scientists, The Hong Kong Cavaliers, drive a Jet Car through a mountain by way of the 8th dimension and stir up a whole mess of trouble with warring bands of interdimensional aliens called Lectroids. To save the earth from destruction at the hands of these fiends, Buckaroo must defeat the evil Dr. Emilio Lizardo, rescue the beautiful twin of his late wife and blow up the evil Lectroids’ creepy spaceship. All while dressed to the nines in the sweetest 1980s fashions the budget could command.

Buckaroo Banzai embraced geek chic years before comic book movies and sci-fi conventions gained mainstream popularity. This, sadly, was a big problem at the box office and the film bombed. The sequel mentioned at the end of the film, Buckaroo Banzai vs. The World Crime League, never materialized. However, legions of nerds fell in love with the film and pushed it into cult classic status.

On a personal note, I was SMITTEN with this movie when it came out in theaters. I was 10 years old and a big giant nerd myself, though without a drop of the cool that Buckaroo exudes. I have worn glasses since second grade and just fell head over heels in love with this hero in exquisite red frames. As a deeply myopic child, I was forced to wear coke bottle style bifocal lenses that could have accidentally burned holes through the ozone layer if hit just right by the sun. Given my heavy prescription and tiny kid face, my choices for frames were severely limited to ugly and uglier. They were always in a style that could be generously referred to as “grandma chic,” in various shades of prosthetic beige and brown. Further, my need for bifocals meant that looking down at my feet was an exercise in head swimming vertigo, so I consequently spent many of my formative years tripping over everything and falling UP stairs. I loathed my glasses as much as I needed them to function. But then along came Buckaroo, my knight in shining eyewear and thus was born my obsession with RED frames. I would not have a pair of my own for several years until I hit middle school and grew a head large enough for adult sized frames.  But, to this day, even though I typically wear contacts most of the time, I still always have my glasses in some shade of red.  Because I guess, wherever you go, there you are.