REVIEW: Revenge of the Nerd by Curtis Armstrong

Revenge of the Nerd: Or . . . The Singular Adventures of the Man Who Would Be Booger Book Cover Revenge of the Nerd: Or . . . The Singular Adventures of the Man Who Would Be Booger
Curtis Armstrong
Biography
Thomas Dunne Books
July 11, 2017
Digital ARC
336
NetGalley

Risky Business. Revenge of the Nerds. Better Off Dead. Moonlighting. Supernatural. American Dad. New Girl. What do all of these movies and television shows have in common?

Curtis Armstrong.

A legendary comedic second banana to a litany of major stars, Curtis is forever cemented in the public imagination as Booger from Revenge of the Nerds. A classically trained actor, Curtis began his incredible 40-year career on stage but progressed rapidly to film and television. He was typecast early and it proved to be the best thing that could have happened.

But there’s more to Curtis’ story than that.

Born and bred a nerd, he spent his early years between Detroit, a city so nerdy that the word was coined there in 1951, and, improbably, Geneva, Switzerland. His adolescence and early adulthood was spent primarily between the covers of a book and indulging his nerdy obsessions. It was only when he found his true calling, as an actor and unintentional nerd icon, that he found true happiness. With whip-smart, self-effacing humor, Armstrong takes us on a most unlikely journey―one nerd’s hilarious, often touching rise to the middle. He started his life as an outcast and matured into…well, an older, slightly paunchier, hopefully wiser outcast.

In Hollywood, as in life, that counts as winning the game.

My Review

I was browsing the selection on NetGalley and thought it might be fun to see what was available in the non-fiction section, specifically memoirs. When I came across Curtis Armstrong’s memoir, titled Revenge of the Nerd, I knew I had to request it.

Now, I’ve never seen Revenge of the Nerds, or if I did I was very young and it was on cable TV and I wasn’t paying much attention. It’s a movie a little before my time. However, I recognized Mr. Armstrong as Metatron from the fabulous CW TV show Supernatural.

I haven’t read many memoirs (Um…. I think this is my 2nd ever!) but this makes me want to read more! It was so much fun reading about his offbeat early life in Switzerland and subsequent return to Detroit. It was awesome to read all the candid behind the scenes stories from the making of all of the movies and TV shows he was on. It was a little heartbreaking to hear about how he left the cast of Supernatural and how the crazed fans at the conventions didn’t like him much just because he played a villain. (I loved you as Metatron, Curtis! I’d stand in line for your autograph!)!

There were a lot of stories about actors I’ve heard of (Tom Cruise, Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, etc.) as well as many I haven’t. If this book has done nothing else for me, it has encouraged me to seek out old movies I’ve never seen before, like Risky Business and Revenge of the Nerds, just so that I can have a fuller sense of the stories I read.

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely! Fans of Curtis Armstrong and those who have never seen his work alike will get a kick out of his fabulous stories and (often self-deprecating) humor. A+ Curtis. Thanks for the ride!

 


Quotes

What’s a nerd? For forty years I’ve been a professional actor, practicing my craft onstage, screen and television, building a career that many young actors have told me they envy, and that is the question along with “Was that really you belching” and “Did Bruce and Cybil really hate each other?” I am most frequently asked these days. (The answers are no and yes, respectively.)

 

If that sounds like a joke, it wasn’t meant to be. Unless you thought it was funny, in which case it was.

 

Actors spend a lot of time not acting, which is why so many of us take up hobbies, like drinking.

 

The headmaster was eventually let go due to some kind of arcane contractual dispute and not as you might think for the German-death-gas incident.

 

I had, by a rough estimation, dozens of girlfriends between the end of middle school and high school graduation. The catch was, none of these young women actually knew she was my girlfriend.

 

When Metatron, the Scribe of God, a hermit armed with a shotgun and surrounded by hundreds of thousands of books, made his first appearance, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Given everything I had seen on the page, I could see this fallen angel eccentric, violent, articulate, unpredictable and hilarious as being an unexpected gift to any lucky actor, even if he only lasted three episodes, which it turned out was the intention of the show’s writers at the time.

 

Jared and Jensen brought to playing brothers Sam and Dean Winchester extended to their real life as well. I would say they are as close as brothers but I understand from people who have brothers, like my sister, that you really want to kill your brothers most of the time.

 

One of the true signs of maturity is realizing that not gracefully surrendering the things of youth actually makes us better grownups. If more people embraced their inner nerd, the better off everyone would be.

 

My eventual proposal of marriage very eventual, to hear Elaine tell it; to me it seemed a little rushed was kind of like Revenge of the Nerd itself: mixed reviews at the time, but now generally regarded as a classic.

 


My (Writing) Life

SCHOOL IS BACK IN SESSION!

This is my first school year with both of my kids out of the house ALL DAY LONG for school. I’ll admit it, I teared up a little on day one because both of my babies are growing up, they no longer spend the majority of their time with me. I quickly got over it though and relished the peace and quiet. Even Henry (my devil-spawn cat) seems happier and less inclined to attack and bite!

So, what am I doing with my time? Sitting on the couch all day eating bon-bons of course! Just kidding, I’ve been diving head first into work! I’m catching up where I’d fallen behind with my work with the pub house I work for. Now that I’m not so deep in the hole I’ve also started work on my own projects again.

Tonight I finished my last pass through on PEACE IN FLAMES before I send it off to my editor. Yay! That means I need to get my butt moving on the overhaul of SUMMER OF PEACE. The sooner I pound that novella out, the sooner I can get started on my next project. For which I’ve already made a cover.

I’m also hoping, with the kids in school, to carve out time more often to post my reviews. I swear, my backlog of reviews is growing faster than I can post them! I hate having such a long delay between posts, so I’m really going to work on this guys. I hope!

Anyone else back to school or sent kids back to school? Are you as amped for the new school year as I am?

4 thoughts on “REVIEW: Revenge of the Nerd by Curtis Armstrong

    • I have a soft spot for celebrity memoirs I think. I do have another memoir from NetGalley that isn’t a celebrity… which is probably why I haven’t read it yet. :\

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