Explorers (1985)

Young Ben Crandall (Ethan Hawke) spends his free time watching sci-fi films, playing video games and reading comic books. Surprisingly, his affinity for all things fantastical yields a real result -- when he has a vivid dream about technology, his science-loving friend Wolfgang Muller (River Phoenix) manages to create a working spacecraft. Joined by their buddy Darren Woods (Jason Presson), the boys take off into outer space and encounter some very odd extraterrestrial life.

Explorers Quote: “Smooth move, Ex-Lax.” – Darren Woods

“The Explorers” had everything an ’80s kid could want in a movie: three buddies building a spaceship from a Tilt-A-Whirl, magical computers, teenage aliens, and cool special effects from Industrial Light and Magic. What this 1985 sci-fi adventure lacked was enough time to fully develop.

“Gremlins” director Joe Dante was forced to rush an unfinished film to theaters, dooming an otherwise promising project that starred future superstars Ethan Hawke and River Phoenix. What we got was a movie that’s both classic and catastrophe, mixing innocent dreams with eerily sexual spacemen.

Shat The Movies listener James B. commissioned “The Explorers,” giving the Shat Crew runway to talk about Big D’s Radio Shack shoplifting, Gene’s discovery of Catholic sex, King Bee’s online harassment skills, and Roger’s knowledge of Brazilian Space AIDS. We also recall our failed childhood inventions, including bungee jumping with sewing supplies.

Plot Summary: “Explorers” Young Ben Crandall (Ethan Hawke) spends his free time watching sci-fi films, playing video games and reading comic books. Surprisingly, his affinity for all things fantastical yields a real result — when he has a vivid dream about technology, his science-loving friend Wolfgang Muller (River Phoenix) manages to create a working spacecraft. Joined by their buddy Darren Woods (Jason Presson), the boys take off into outer space and encounter some very odd extraterrestrial life.

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