Mad Science Is The Best Science: Our 14 Favorite Crackpot Geniuses

By David Wharton | 6 years ago

LizardoDr. Emilio Lizardo (The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension)
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension is one of my all-time favorite movies, and one of my great joys in life is knowing that we’ll never get the sequel the ending promises. How could any movie follow the sublime madness and inspired weirdness of the first? It’s impossible. At its core, the film is a duel between scientists. Peter Weller’s rock star/brain surgeon/superhero Buckaroo goes up against the insane Dr. Emilio Lizardo, played by John Lithgow at the height of chaotic madness.

Lithgow is everything you want out of mad scientist. First off, he’s crazy. You can tell because he launched himself part way into the 8th dimension, and you have to be a little off your rocker to attempt that in the first place. Then, once there, or at least with the top portion of his body stuck through a wall, he gets possessed by an evil Red Lectoid named John Whorfin. Given all of this, you start to understand why he spends 50 years locked in an insane asylum. And why he attaches electrodes to his tongue, you have to be nuts or possessed to try that one. There are few actors out there who do crazy as well as Lithgow, and Lizardo shows him at the top of his manic powers. Lines like, “Laugh while you can, monkey boy,” are classics in themselves.

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