Kelly Le Brock's Favorite Scene In Weird Science Is One Of Its Most Ridiculous

It's not entirely clear who wrote or spoke the famous quote, "From the sublime to the ridiculous there is but one step." For all intents and purposes, it may as well have been coined by writer/director John Hughes, who throughout his career displayed a mastery of that very principle.

Hughes had a particular knack for inserting ridiculous elements in his films, letting the surreal creep into scenes with such fluidity that their outrageousness only stands out upon reflection. His most ridiculous film is arguably 1985's "Weird Science," which flirts with disbelief right from its premise: two nerdy social outcast teens, Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith), make a spur-of-the-moment decision to create a computer simulation of a girl, which through various shenanigans ends up becoming a flesh-and-blood magic genie of a woman named Lisa (Kelly LeBrock).

As Lisa mentors her creators through the perils of adolescent manhood under the guise of showing them a great time, Hughes takes the opportunity to stage a number of increasingly wild setpieces and moments. One of the most ridiculous — not to mention most hilarious — just happens to be star LeBrock's favorite scene in the movie.

Lisa has a 'Sudden Impact' on Gary's parents

When LeBrock was asked about her favorite scene from "Weird Science" in 2019, she was quick to answer:

"Definitely the parents, when I pull a gun on the parents. It's just so naughty and outrageous and ridiculous but it seemed to work for that moment."

LeBrock's assessment of the scene is very astute, as it perfectly demonstrates how well Hughes' heightened ridiculousness works when contrasted with the ordinary. In the scene, Lisa is demanding that Gary's strict parents Al (Britt Leach) and Lucy (Barbara Lang) allow him to attend a debauched party while Gary is frantically attempting to keep Lisa from getting him in deep trouble.

The conflict between Gary's increasingly disturbed parents and Lisa combined with the cross-purposes of Lisa and Gary is an example of what's known in the comedy world as "finding the game," the "game" being the comedic engine of the scene. Hughes "heightens" the scene as secrets about Gary's bathroom habits are revealed and Gary's folks threaten to call the police on Lisa, at which point the scene needs an ending, also known as a "button" — Gary has to get to that party, after all.

Thus, Lisa (presumably using her magic powers) pulls a gun from thin air and aims it at Al, a moment Leach reacts to brilliantly with meek fear in his voice. The ridiculous icing on the cake sees the film intentionally quoting from 1983's Dirty Harry sequel "Sudden Impact," with the added twist that Al finishes the famous quote that Lisa starts, indicating his defeat. 

A few moments later, Hughes provides a button to the button, as Lisa reveals to a still-shaken Gary that the gun she pulled on his father only squirted water. That moment, in turn, becomes a set-up for a later moment where Gary wields the gun to get rid of some mutant party crashers and assumes the gun is still fake, which it turns out not to be. As seen in these interwoven gags alone, Hughes proves his deftness with structure and humor.

'Weird Science' lives up to its title

In most of his films, Hughes kept his surrealistic, Looney Tunes-like flourishes to a relative minimum, usually deploying them at moments of extreme emotion or incident. For example, the transformation of Del Griffith (John Candy) into a Devil in "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" or the wild journey of Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) on a greased-up sled in "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation."

"Weird Science," on the other hand, is chock full of such moments. With the title taken from the '50s EC Comics publication of the same name (a connection that producer Joel Silver later used to produce a loose adaptation of another EC Comics title, "Tales From the Crypt"), "Weird Science" features all manner of sci-fi and fantasy-based gags, from giant nuclear missiles turning up in Wyatt's bedroom to the nerdy heroes having to face down the villains from "The Hills Have Eyes" and "Mad Max 2" to Wyatt's nasty brother Chet (Bill Paxton) being turned into a...well, a gross bug-eating thing.

The eerie, hilarious fate of Gary's parents

Never one to miss a good running gag, Hughes saves one of the most surreal (and slightly disturbing) jokes for the aftermath of Lisa's run-in with Gary's parents. In order to smooth over the fallout from their encounter, it's revealed that Lisa messed with Al and Lucy's minds: Lucy merely remembers Gary acting odd earlier in the evening, while Al doesn't remember Gary at all. That leads to a comedic game wherein Lucy tries desperately to remind Al that he has a son, an effort Al rebuffs with increasing befuddlement and hostility. The gag is a subversive riff on a teen wishing their parents would just leave them alone, with a dark sci-fi/fantasy undercurrent (for instance, the premise is very close to the episode of "The Twilight Zone" entitled "And When the Sky Was Opened") that the film isn't interested in examining closely.

Of course, "Weird Science" is a movie that Hughes never intended to be examined too closely for believability. Rather, he infuses the film with a lot of fun and heart to back it up. As Anthony Michael Hall observed about Hughes, "there's this wonderful sense of redemption with his films, like everybody kind of winds up a little better off than they started out." "Weird Science" may be ridiculous, but for its cast and its fans, it's also pretty meaningful.