Why Buckaroo Banzai Made Me Want to Study History

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Scene from Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. Photo from http://www.filmlinc.com.

Robocop 1 and 2 and The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension have ranked among my favorite movies since the first time I saw them, so it makes sense that I would become a fan of Peter Weller, though I didn’t know his name until recently. It’s also no surprise that movies like this would have an effect on my life’s aspirations, especially as a kid, because anytime you watch a movie with a cool hero you want to be just like him. I think Robocop would make any reasonable person want to be a cyborg and Buckaroo Banzai definitely makes you want to be a scientist (even if that means switching brains with an alien from another dimension and going insane), but it wasn’t until I happened to see Weller on the history channel talking about the Aztecs or something that he actually notably influenced me.

It was totally by chance that I walked by the TV and saw the end of his documentary. I was like, “Hey, that’s Buckaroo Banzai!” I didn’t know his real name, but I was still enough of a fan to sit down and watch the documentary. Right after it ended another one came on where he was talking about the Great Wall of China, so I watched it too. I finally learned his name from the China documentary and now I sometimes actually refer to him as Peter Weller instead of Buckaroo Banzai (he probably wishes his name was Buckaroo Banzai). Apparently he retired from acting some years ago and became a historian. I think that is so cool. He looked like he really enjoyed studying history and telling other people about it. It really made me want to do something like that too.

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Robocop. Photo from screenrant.com.

I’ve always wanted to be some sort of historian or scientist, and it seriously bums me out that I went to school for journalism. Looking back I can’t remember exactly why I gave up my electrical engineering major to study writing. I think I was just looking for something more creative. My engineering classes were disappointing. I always loved sciencey stuff and imagined that being a scientist or an engineer would be more like something out of the comic books. I wanted to build giant robots or invent a new kind of car or study alien biology. I thought electrical engineering would be cool because maybe I could work for a company like Marshall or Fender and design guitar amplifiers and equipment. I thought maybe later I could go on and study entomology or some kind of earth science and then maybe travel around studying life in different parts of the world. When people started laying out more realistic career goals for me, I backed out. At least with writing, if you think of something that can’t be done, you can create a world of your own where it can be done. Maybe that’s what drew me to writing.

Still the fact remains that the real world is much cooler than anything I can come up with as a writer, and I would still love to study it. I’m still young, so I don’t see why not. I took an archeoastronomy class in college that really piqued my interest in ancient world cultures. We studied Stonehenge, the pyramids (both Mexican and Egyptian), early Native American art and architecture, and much more. I want to study anthropology now, and so I’m saving up money to go back to school. There are so many things you can do in a lifetime, but we usually only pick one dream to follow, and sometimes don’t even see it through. I think it’s a tragedy. Buckaroo Banzai was a scientist, inventor, neurosurgeon, musician and martial artist all at once. I don’t see why I can’t do something like that. It’s totally doable.

“Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well.” – Vincent Van Gogh (brainyquote.com)

“No matter where you go, there you are.” – Buckaroo Banzai (imbd.com)

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Buckaroo Banzai. Photo from msulearntech.pbworks.com.

All original content copyright S.D. de la Rosa, 2013.

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~ by Sara on March 1, 2013.

4 Responses to “Why Buckaroo Banzai Made Me Want to Study History”

  1. Go to this link and pick your birthday gift and email it to me:
    http://starland.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=25&osCsid=03616303717122515c01b22a1bd162d8

    • Haha awesome! I’ve always wanted a Robocop action figure and one of the original Buckaroo Banzai comic books. But I bet the comic books are pretty expensive. The stuff on this website is awesome.

  2. I couldn’t agree with you more! I think too many people set their sights on only one dream, instead of chasing several. Leonardo Da Vinci was skilled in many different studies. He was a painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer. I used to think he was just an artist, but when I learned he was much more, it made me want to expand my interests.

    • Yeah! That’s really cool. Sometimes it’s hard to manage time when you have several passions, but if you want to you can make it happen.

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