The Internet has failed. I can’t find a clip of two of my favorite lines from this movie: “I have seen some bad drivers in my time, but you, miss…you will be awarded a cake,” and the immortal “Wouldn’t…you…like…to be…a Pepper too.” Oh well. More on Ben in a bit.
If you haven’t seen it, Short Circuit is the tale of a robot designed to be the ultimate battlefield killing machine. It gets hit by lightning, winds up in the care of an Oregon hippie chick, then has to convince her and his creators that the lightning strike gave him life and a childlike outlook on same. That’s really it. There is, of course, the poignant moment when he (he goes by Johnny 5 once he’s sentient) learns about mortality; they should have sent a poet, but they sent Ally Sheedy:
By nobody’s standards, even mine, is this a great movie. I saw it when I was 12, which is really the perfect age to have seen it, what with the crude humor, the fun action sequences, and the tantalizingly short Ally Sheedy bathtub scene. Steve Guttenberg is nominally the star, but Johnny 5 steals the show, and Sheedy and Austin Pendleton (as the harried military scientist) do their jobs just fine. Which brings us to Ben, played by Fisher Stevens in what would be a horribly stereotyped and quite offensive South Asian accent if it wasn’t…well, there’s no getting around it; it is. I guess credit to Stevens for trying to walk the tightrope. Judge for yourself (watch out, the video has pointless sound effects at the beginning and end):
Let’s just chalk that up to the Reagan era, OK? There’s talk every few years that they’re going to reboot this movie (and then I have to lie down for an hour because the whole “reboot” thing HAS TO STOP NOW), but so far, no dice. Which is fine. All they would do anyway is make the robot more sinister-looking, throw some affable yutz into the Newton Crosby role (probably without even the backing of the Stonecutters), and make Ben either more or less offensive, neither of which would be true to the spirit of the original. And I bet they wouldn’t even reboot this fiasco:
Seriously, if you can tell me what the hell is going on in that video, I’ll give you a cupcake. And even in that sea of insanity, the most perplexing things about it are (a) Steve Guttenberg was somehow too busy to appear in the video and sent a cardboard cutout in his stead, and (b) somebody at one point made a cardboard cutout of Steve Guttenberg. (Don’t bother. I already checked.)
Hint as to what #98 might be: Ben Stiller’s second appearance on the list(!).