Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise (1987): Geek, Out

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Welcome to the second part of the ongoing Scene Before review series, “Revenge of the Nerds: Nerds in Review!” In honor of Scene Before’s fifth anniversary, we are looking back at a few notable movies that I have not had a chance to talk about, and the “Revenge of the Nerds” franchise has been one of those properties that I would try to find an excuse to talk about because in a way it’s been a part of my life. With that being said, it is time to talk about the franchise’s second installment and most recent theatrical release, “Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise!” Will this movie deliver paradise? Let’s find out!

“Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise” is directed by Joe Roth (Streets of Gold) and stars Robert Carradine (The Cowboys, The Big Red One) and Anthony Edwards (Top Gun, Fast Times at Ridgemont High) in the sequel to the 1984 sex comedy “Revenge of the Nerds” and follows the Lambda Lambda Lambda fraternity, who as seen in the first movie, gave a voice to outsiders against cool kids and jocks. In this film, they fly down to Fort Lauderdale, Florida for a national fraternity convention. All seems well until they are kicked out of their hotel, reunite with the Alpha Betas, and have to prove that they have a place in the convention.

The first “Revenge of the Nerds” is special to me, because as a nerd myself, as someone who has often found himself as an outsider in a number of situations, I related to the characters and I feel as if it is one of those films that made people like me cool. Sure, there’s that one scene with Robert Carradine and Julia Montgomery having sex that is a little controversial, but at the same time, there are a lot of positives when it comes to the film, and it inspired one of my favorite shows, “King of the Nerds,” a reality competition that lasted for three seasons on TBS. Simply put, if that first film did not exist, my life would be a lot different today in terms of my social circles and who I hang out with, so regardless of the first film’s quality, I owe a lot to that film for giving me the life I have today.

I really enjoyed this first film, which seemed to have a formula that was pleasing for what it was. So naturally a sequel had to be good, right?

Well…

Let’s start with the good. The film does genuinely have its moments. There are a couple funny lines here and there, especially from Booger. After all, as I mentioned in my previous review, Booger was one of the highlights of the first film because despite residing with the Tri-Lambs, he definitely had an aura of coolness to him. In this film, he’s perverted, crazy, and hyper. Not every line from him lands, but Curtis Armstrong gives one of the better performances in the film and he goes all the way with his character. Although at the same time, I was not a massive fan of the film’s subplot where apparently Booger spends some time with an older, more wrinkly version of himself named Snotty.

As for other positives, the song that plays as the nerds head to their hotel, 38 Special’s “Back to Paradise,” is a fitting song for the film in addition to being a genuinely catchy tune. I still have glimmers of the song in my head after watching this film. In fact, prior to my most recent viewing which I did specifically to have enough to talk about in this review, I would occasionally have this song pop into my head despite not watching the film since 2017. The film’s cast of characters is genuinely likable all around. Unfortunately, that’s where the positives end.

This film is a genuinely forgettable, underwhelming, and disappointing time that comes off more as a chance to capitalize on the “Revenge of the Nerds” name as opposed actually providing a quality product. The first “Revenge of the Nerds” film is a raunchy, naughty, R-rated sex comedy with adult aspects such as nudity, intercourse (even though it is implied), and a fair share of foul language. PG-13 was barely a concept in 1984. In fact it was first introduced the same month “Revenge of the Nerds” came out. But I feel like within the multi-year stretch that it took to get “Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise,” there must have been a serious intention from someone to focus on getting as many extra dollars as possible by having a rating that would make teens more likely to come in. With a PG-13 rating, whether it may have been intentional or not, this means there is significantly less of the “fun” material that made the 1984 sex comedy what it is. The film is not Shakespeare, but it knows what it is. It’s over the top, it’s crazy, and inappropriate for children.

As of writing this, “Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise” has a 7% on Rotten Tomatoes. And rightfully so. This film provides nowhere near the level of satisfaction that the first one can provide. I feel like some of the film’s plot points were forced just to move things along. There’s a whole thing where the manager of a hotel did not want the nerds staying there simply because they were nerds. I know that was a reason why the jocks had a rivalry in the first film, but the way they go about this just felt tacked on and unrealistic. In fact, speaking of unrealistic, there is a scene in this film where the nerds run into Ogre, a jock who also made an appearance in the first movie. Now I get that they are on opposite sides, but the way the nerds react in this exact moment felt like something out of a Disney channel original Halloween movie. I guess the scene could be worse, but it felt weird nevertheless.

I will also add that Anthony Edwards’s character of Gilbert, who was one of the two main guys in the first film, barely made an appearance in this sequel. Now, he is in it. But he cannot go to Fort Lauderdale because he’s got broken bones. It’s a weird change of pace seeing one of the characters who was arguably a large part of the original film’s heart and soul alongside Robert Carradine’s Lewis have a role as small as the one he has. In fact part of why we barely see Gilbert at all is because Anthony Edwards was not a fan of the script, and then they ended up writing a shorter role for him. It ended up resembling something he could film very quickly.

And he’s not alone, because Julia Montgomery, who played Betty Childs in the first film is also not in this one. The only time we see her is through a picture taken of her during the first few minutes when Lewis is packing for his trip. Much like Edwards, Montgomery was not a fan of the script either, therefore her character was written out entirely. The script had Childs, who by the end of the original film, was in love with Lewis, cheating on him with another guy. I actually would have been curious to see where this plot goes. Whether such a motivation actually falls in line with her character is a mystery, but given how Lewis is spending much of this movie trying to impress a woman in Florida, it would have been fascinating to see Lewis and Betty, two lovers, cheat on each other, how they would go about their separate situations, and if these situations were ever revealed to one another. Noting this, as much as I like Robert Carradine as an actor, and even though I can relate to Lewis in ways, these past two movies have select moments that kind of make him look like an asshole. In the first film, to get with Betty, he rapes her, technically speaking. As for this sequel, he decides to cheat on her, even though it is never embellished too much, while on his trip.

The way that “Revenge of the Nerds” seems to have progressed in just a couple of movies kind of feels like the “Fast & Furious” or “Kingsman” franchise. Why? Because earlier in these franchises, as I watched them, I enjoyed those movies for being a bit crazy, even when it causes me to suspend my disbelief. But as we get into this sequel, which by the end, dials its bonkers nature up to an 11, my suspension of disbelief could only go so high and this affected how much I could enjoy this film by the end of it. If you guys remember my review for “F9: The Fast Saga,” one of the big reasons why I gave that film such a low score is because of how over the top it gets, and I do not mean that in a good way. “Revenge of the Nerds II” kind of falls in the same boat. While the first film has its moments where things happen there that are less likely to happen in reality, this sequel goes bigger and ultimately becomes a tad dumber. And it’s really weird to say that because again, this is a PG-13 movie, which technically speaking, neuters the “Revenge of the Nerds” name.

The other negative I will bring to the table is this. I feel like this movie expects the viewer to watch the first movie and get attached to the characters from said movie, and therefore use that attachment to have them enjoy the second movie. Having watched “Revenge of the Nerds II,” I feel like we do not get to see the nerds be themselves. Sure, the point of these movies is kind of to suggest that nerds can do things that do not always involve staying in front of a computer. Sometimes they can party, sometimes they can be brave. But going back to what I said about certain plot points in this film feeling forced, one of my critiques of the film is that the nerds’ opposition with the manager at their hotel feels like it barely has a reason to exist. The opposition between these two feels surface level if anything, and I’ll also add, despite this movie being a “Revenge of the Nerds” installment, I feel like the “nerd” portion of a lot of these characters have disappeared for the most part. The movie places them in a nerdy box just because it can. I bought into the rivalry between the jocks and nerds in the first film, even when the jocks did things to flat out ruin the nerds’ time in college just based on their status partially because the jocks felt natural as characters and also because of John Goodman’s insanely iconic performance as Coach Harris as he gave some orders to the jocks.

If I had to give a positive note, I would say that this movie feels consistent with the first one in a way, because I said the first film felt like a parody on how society treats minorities. And when you consider ideas like the rivalry between the nerds and the hotel manager, there is a slight sense of consistency between movies. I just wish I were able to buy into whatever this movie’s selling me a little bit more.

In the end, “Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise” is an inferior sequel to the 1984 cult classic. If anything the film fails to understand what made the first movie so special. “Revenge of the Nerds II” sometimes feels rushed, like we’re just skimming through random plot points just to get somewhere else, and nothing more than an obvious cash grab. Yes, the film does feel a bit similar to the original, especially with the nerds trying to party, find girls, get laid, that sort of thing, but it does not have that same exact raunchiness that the original tried to deliver. And if anything, part of me cannot blame the actors. They were given a crappy script that some cast members refused in a way or another. Anthony Edwards was barely in the movie. Julia Montgomery was not in the movie at all. In fact, according to Curtis Armstrong, the man who plays Booger, 20th Century Fox did everything they could, almost in a way that imitates the rivalry between the jocks and nerds in the film, to hide the first “Revenge of the Nerds” when it came out. But it was a huge success. So what about this sequel, you might ask? How did it come about? Well, here’s a quote from Curtis Armstrong’s memoir, “Revenge of the Nerd.”

“Despite everything, by the time we finished filming that spring we’d felt like we’d accomplished something. But 20th Century Fox, now under a new regime far less accommodating to movies like Revenge of the Nerds, begged to disagree and did everything it could to bury the picture. Ultimately, it became a case of life imitating art, as the jocks at the studio tried to destroy the little underdog nerd movie and failed completely. It made money. Quite a lot of money. They instituted a studio-wide embargo against any sequels at 20th Century Fox, which was lifted under a different administration three years later. The first sequel to be green-lighted at that point was Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise.” –Curtis Armstrong, “Revenge of the Nerd,” pg. 183

As much as I am happy that the first movie was a huge success, the final result of “Revenge of the Nerds II” goes to show that not all sequels can work through name recognition alone. Then again, what do I know? The film ended up making over $30 million on a $10 million budget. I’m glad people are getting paid. People have to eat. I just wish we got a better movie. I’m going to give “Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise” a 4/10.

“Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise” is available wherever you buy movies digitally including Apple TV, Vudu, and Google Play. The film is also currently available to watch on Cinemax as of writing this. Physically, the film is available on DVD and VHS.

Thanks for reading this review! Next week I will be reviewing “Revenge of the Nerds III: The Next Generation.” The franchise’s first straight to television feature. I have watched the film a few years back, but I am curious to see how it holds up as of today. This upcoming review, along with my current review, is being done in honor of Scene Before’s fifth anniversary, in a little series titled “Revenge of the Nerds: Nerds in Review.” I will also be reviewing “Free Guy” sometime this week, so stay tuned for that as well! If you want to see this and more on Scene Before, be sure to follow the blog either with an email or WordPress account! Also, check out the official Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise?” What did you think about it? Or, have you ever been to Fort Lauderdale, Florida? Do you live there? Tell me about your time in the area! Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

ANNOUNCEMENT: I’m Going to Terrificon at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT!

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Before we dive into the overall purpose of this post, I want to start off by giving a little free promotion. I did this in a separate post before, but this one is gonna be briefer than a full length post. You may know what I’m talking about, you may not. But this promotion is for Curtis Armstrong’s new memoir, “Revenge of the Nerd.”

“Revenge of the Nerd” is a memoir detailing Curtis Armstrong’s life from when he was a child, to his career in show business. If you don’t know who Curtis Armstrong is, he’s a pretty awesome guy, and you may have seen him in possibly some of your favorite TV shows and movies. These include: “New Girl,” “Supernatural,” “Moonlighting,” “King of the Nerds,” “American Dad!,” “Risky Business,” “Revenge of the Nerds,” “Better Off Dead,” “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story,” and the one EVERYBODY, and I MEAN EVERYBODY KNOWS AND LOVES, “The Clan of the Cave Bear.” I preordered the book back in November, it arrived at my house recently, and when it comes to my progress in the book, I made it to the triple digit pages, so I can verify this is a page turner. This memoir came out on July 11th, so pick it up at your local bookstore now, and find out more about the life of a guy who has worked with Tom Cruise, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Zooey Deschanel, Jamie Foxx, and Seth MacFarlane.

Alright, now with that out of the way, let’s get into an announcement here. One of my favorite traditions is going to conventions. I haven’t gone to many in my life, I’ve gone to Rhode Island Comic Con twice and I went to PAX East once. However, that’s about to change. Because I’m going to Terrificon!

Terrificon is convention scheduled to take place from Friday, August 18, to Sunday, August 20, at a rather well known casino in Connecticut, Mohegan Sun. I’ve been here many times in my life (not to gamble), but I was always there for fun. This time is no exception to that, except that I now have a real reason to go and I am actually attending an event there for once and not just shopping and dining. For the record, I’m not a guest on the lineup. However I will be there. If I have any hardcore followers who want to say hello to me at the time I’m there, don’t hesitate.

This year at Terrificon they have a number of guests coming. Some of these people include: Burt Ward, who you may know as Robin from the 60’s “Batman” show, Lee Meriwether, who you may know as Catwoman from the 60’s “Batman” show, Dean Cain, who you may know as Superman from “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,” and the Comic Book Men, AKA Mike Zapcic, Bryan Johnson, and Ming Chen. Speaking of Burt Ward and Lee Meriwether and the “Batman” TV show, this con is actually being dedicated to Adam West.

You may remember about a month ago, Adam West passed away. I didn’t watch much of his “Batman” show, but I was disappointed to hear this as a “Family Guy” fan. What makes this even more disappointing is that Adam West was going to various cons with Burt Ward, and this was going to be one of their stops. If you ask me, just about any con right now, could be dedicated to Adam West and make sense, but it makes double sense here. If you had Adam West on the guest list, and he can’t come due to his death, you may as well recognize the occurrence of his death. Not only that, but there will also be a special screening of the 1966 “Batman” movie. I actually never watched that before, and I’m rather curious to check it out, so that should be fun.

I know this is a shorter post than usual, which actually may be a relief to some people. However, I just wanted to get this out, to see if there actually is anyone interested in my work and see if they actually follow me well enough and would probably recognize me in person. I dunno, it’s almost like a PSA more than anything. Plus I feel I should say I’m going because I like bragging to others that I’m going to cons, and Terrificon actually follows me on Twitter, so I feel like I should pay them back. Also, just a reminder, as of right now, I have tickets for SATURDAY ONLY. I’ll probably give an update in the future if I get tickets for either Friday or Sunday, but for now, I just have tickets for Saturday. Thanks for reading this post and I want to know in the comments, if there are any conventions that you’ve gone to that you think I should check out, doesn’t have to be near me (I live in Wakefield, MA by the way), what are they? Also, stay tuned for next week because that’s when I’ll have my review for “Inception.” Stay tuned for that along with more great content! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Revenge of the Nerd: A PROMOTION (Plus a Personal Story)

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Today I little wanted to do something for someone I admire. If you remember months back on this blog, I did a post on the TV show, “King of the Nerds,” a reality competition on TBS that aired from 2013-2015. I honestly want it on the air longer, but that’s not something I want to talk about right now. One of the hosts of that show is Curtis Armstrong.

Even you haven’t seen the show “King of the Nerds,” you may be familiar with this name. If you don’t know the name, there’s a chance you may know the face. Aside from “King of the Nerds,” you may have seen or heard Armstrong in “New Girl,” “Supernatural,” “Ray,” “Risky Business,” “Revenge of the Nerds,” “Moonlighting,” “Dan Vs.,” and “American Dad!.” In real life, Armstrong, seemingly has numerous qualities of a nerd. Although I am looking at his IMDb and it kind of says otherwise, “I’m not an improv guy. I’m not a nerd, I play one on television.” He’s also revealed to be a bibliophile, Beatles fanatic, and Sherlock lover. I also consider Armstrong to be a fine role model and one of my all time biggest idols.

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I’ve also met him in person at Rhode Island Comic Con in 2015. The moment I met him and got a picture with him is currently my profile pic on WordPress along with other social media including my Twitter and Google accounts. I mean, why not? It’s a picture I personally revere. Not to mention, I’m wearing my favorite t-shirt, a “King of the Nerds” t-shirt I won in a contest which shows the hosts, Curtis Armstrong and Robert Carradine, and it shows them in a bunch of different colors and facial expressions. You may also notice I have sunglasses as well, those also have a “King of the Nerds” logo. When I met Curtis I didn’t show that part to him, it could’ve slipped out of my mouth, but who knows? The same day, I actually got an autograph from him. Then I came back the following day to tell him he was the best part of the con. I wasn’t lying when I said that. Curtis was nice, we talked together more than I did with other guests, not to mention when I was talking to Curtis, it felt like I was talking with an actual person. I’m not saying the other guests weren’t friendly or nice. It’s just when I talked to Curtis, it almost felt like he didn’t want me to leave. Did he want me leave? Probably, there were other people waiting in line, and that always is a justifiable reason to leave. But I was having fun with him and I would imagine he was having some sort of fun with me. I felt that when we talked on the last day of the con, when we left, it almost felt as if I was in a movie. Curtis said he’ll see me “next time.” If that were a movie, it might as well be called “Jack and Curtis,” it would be less than 4 minutes long and probably wouldn’t make it to theaters, although it would definitely have more substance than the new “Transformers.”

I may be rambling here, but I feel it’s worth it, because if you’re new to this blog, or if you just want to hear a personal story of mine, this is one I enjoy telling, and it makes sense for what I’m doing. Because Curtis Armstrong has a new book coming out in a few days. This book is going to be called “Revenge of the Nerd” and it features the subtitle, “Or… The Singular Adventures of the Man Who Would Be Booger.” Why am I doing this? With everything Curtis does for me, I feel the need to do things for him, and this is one of those things.

“Revenge of the Nerd” is an autobiography Curtis has begun creating earlier this decade. This is going to contain some information on his early years in Detroit, a city which actually coined the term “nerd.” There’s also gonna be a focus directed towards his acting career, including some things behind the scenes of some of Curtis’s various projects.

I have not read this book yet, nor has many other people, so I can’t really give my own thoughts on it, it’s actually yet to come out. The official release date for this book is next Tuesday, July 11. This seems like a short promotion, and yeah, I did basically say just about everything worth saying about the book itself, however I’m not done.

Curtis has been going around various places promoting his book, in fact, when the book releases, there are more promotions coming up. I actually have a list right here. Right now, Curtis is actually at Indy Pop Con, in Indianapolis, but once that’s over, plenty of more promotions are on the rise.

NEW YORK, NY: Barnes & Noble Tribecca (July 11, release date of the book)

BOSTON, MA: Brookline Booksmith (July 12)

PORTLAND, OR: Powell’s Books (July 13)

PASADENA, CA: Vroman’s Books (July 18)

CHICAGO, IL: Chicago Flashback Weekend (August 4-6)

TULSA, OK: Circle Cinema *INCLUDES REVENGE OF THE NERDS SCREENING* (August 26)

BURBANK, CA: Monsterpalooza (September 15-17)

HUNT VALLEY, MD: Monster Mania (September 29-October 1)

PROVIDENCE, RI: Rhode Island Comic Con *INCLUDES REVENGE OF THE NERDS CAST REUNION* (November 10-12)

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: 80’s in the Sand (November 13-18)

You know how I mentioned, looking back, I felt like I was in a movie when saying goodbye to Curtis? Well, my plans which are set for this Wednesday may as well be considered the sequel. In case you guys wanted to know, I’m going to at least one of these promotions. I’m gonna be going to the one in Boston on July 12, and it’s quite possible I’ll be at Rhode Island Comic Con from November 10-12. I mean, I went the past two years, so why wouldn’t I be there? If you didn’t know, Armstrong is famous for playing Booger on “Revenge of the Nerds,” and he often finds people who recognize him as Booger, he’s not offended at all, he’s actually delighted by it. So viewers, I want to know in the comments, out of curiosity, do people ever call you nicknames? This can also include ones people don’t call you much anymore. Also, I REALLY want to know, have you ever had a nickname that had some sort of relation to something disgusting? For me, I don’t recall receiving any disgusting nicknames throughout my life, but I want to know if you’re any different. I’ve received some nicknames throughout my life including J-Man, Dr. J, Jackson 5, and Dr. Ees. Also, guys, I got another Christopher Nolan movie review coming up pretty soon. Stay tuned for that. As far as new theater releases go, I’m not sure which movie I’ll see next, maybe “War for the Planet of the Apes” even though I haven’t seen many of the other movies. Only time will tell. Stay tuned for more great content! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

TAKASHI: Excuse please, but why do they call you “booger?”

BOOGER: *Picks his nose* I don’t know.