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My Science Project

Year: 1985
Production Co: Silver Screen Partners
Director: Jonathan R Betuel
Writer: Jonathan R Betuel
Cast: John Stockwell, Danielle von Zerneck, Fisher Stevens, Barry Corbin, Dennis Hopper, Richard Masur
What a cool movie. When a UFO crashes at Roswell in the 1950s, the military brass at the time orders it buried in a long-forgotten parts depot.

Years later, when teenager Mike Harlan (Stockwell) agrees to take nerdy but cute Ellie (von Zerneck, Richie Valens' girlfriend out of La Bamba) on a date to salve his hurt ego after his glam girlfriend dumps him, he sneaks her into the military junkyard to find something to pass off as a science project for ex hippy science teacher Bob (Hopper).

But the artefact they recover from the crashed UFO decades before is still very much switched on, and it has powers bigger than Mike, his sidekick Vince (Stevens), Ellie or nerdy hanger on Sherman can comprehend.

When the machine emits a strange field that whisks Bob away from their world and a creepy cop comes calling asking Mike questions, the quartet have to try to unravel the machine's secrets, travelling across time to stop it destroying the fabric of spacetime.

It's an unashamedly teen movie, and lost a lot of ground thanks to that other 1985 movie and a teen time traveller. But Harlan has a cool car, we slowly fall in love with Ellie, Stevens is his smarmy, sidekick best, and there are some scene of genuine atmosphere and mood.

Stockwell went on to play the pilot in Top Gun who bows out early and then moved into directing where he still does okay (such as in Blue Crush), Stevens has always popped up in the strangest places, I've never seen von Zerneck since, but I got a real charge out of learning writer/director John Betuel was the guy who wrote The Last Starfighter.

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