Day 115: The Flamingo Kid (1984)

220px-FlamingokidposterThere are actors from the 1980’s that I have always thought were iconic and Matt Dillon (The Outsiders) is certainly one of them. So, when I saw that a movie of his was on sale at a grocery store for 3 bucks, I jumped at the chance to watch it. So, today’s film is the 1984 film The Flamingo Kid which stars Dillon as Jeffrey Willis. Jefferey is your everyday average 18 year old who just graduated from high school. He is certainly uncertain as to what the future may hold for him despite his parents expectations. That summer, Jeffrey gets a job a very exclusive beach club called The El Flamingo and he begins to think he knows what he wants when he listens tot he club’s prestigious gin player Mr. Brody (Richard Crenna). Brody fills his head with dreams of fortune, but Jeffrey will have to figure it out for himself on this coming of age story. The film also stars Hector Elizondo (Pretty Woman) as Arthur Willis, Jessica Walter (Archer) as Mrs. Brody, Janet Jones (The Beastmaster) as Carla, Brian McNamara (Caddyshack II) as Steve, Fisher Stevens (Short Circuit) as Hawk, Leon (Above The Rim) as Fortune, Bronson Pinchot (Risky Business) as Alfred, and the film was directed by Garry Marshall (Pretty Woman).

fkWe call it a coming of age story because the character goes in not knowing a lot and through some event, he grows and comes out smarter than before. Jefferey Willis has a coming of age story through his relationship with Carla and his experience with Mr. Brody. Her thinks Mr. Brody is the king sh**, but soon learns through an event that he’s just as much a phony as anyone. He comes out at the end knowing what’s right and what’s wrong and what he should do with the rest of his life hence the coming of age story. One thing that we can certainly say about Matt Dillon is that he puts on an incredible performance in the film as he normally did back in those days. The truth is that a lot of the actors in the film did an amazing job including the great Hector Elizondo who plays the hard working father with a dream that feels threatened by the flashy Mr. Brody. I loved how the film was set in the 1950’ss I believe with the cars, the clothing, and the music. The 50’s is definitely one of my favorite eras of history in America. The set designers and wardrobe people along with hair and makeup deserve some definite kudos from me for the good job they did on this film. Overall, this is just a great film from beginning to end and it’s definitely one you should check out if you are a fan of Garry Marshall. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade. Plus, How many of us out there can relate to Matt Dillon’s character when we were 18 years old? I bet it’s quite a lot!

Day 87: All The Right Moves (1983)

all the right movesSince the beginning of this bog, I don’t think I covered a film that starred Tom Cruise (Top Gun) who was one of my favorite actors from the 80’s. For today’s film, I chose All The Right Moves which stars Cruise as Stefen Djordjevic, a kid from Ampipe, a steel town in Pennsylvania. You see in Ampipe, there are only two options it seems for most of their residents, you either work in the dying steel mills or you go to college. All Stefen ever dreams of is to have the chance to get out of Ampipe and so he uses football as the means to an end. The only problem is that Stefen’s attitude and his high school coach Nickerson (Craig T. Nelson) stands in the way of his escape. The film also stars Lea Thompson (Back To The Future) as Lisa, Charles Cioffi (Shaft) as Pop, Gary Graham (Alien Nation) as Greg, Paul Carafotes (Fight Club) as Salvucci, Christopher Penn (Best Of The Best) as Brian, Sandy Faison (Guiding Light) as Suzie, Leon (Cool Runnings) as Shadow, Jonas Chaka (Biker Boyz) as Mouse, Keith Diamond (Dr. Giggles) as Fox, James A. Baffico (Dawn Of The Dead) as Bosco, and the film was directed by Michael Chapman (The Clan Of The Cave Bear).

all the right moves 2This was your average early 80’s teen flick that happened to star a future megastar and one of the finest women of the 80’s. While the scene between Thompson and Cruise isn’t very long, it surely is a really good one. Tom Cruise was well he is Tom Cruise so he puts on the performance you would expect from him and have seen in all of the movies he has been in. Lea Thompson is great as the first under appreciated girlfriend who has to make a tough decision later on in the film even though it could be the end. The football parts of the film are pretty good, but the real story of this film is the town itself. There was a time in this nation when certain production heavy cities like Pittsburgh and Detroit were in big trouble because production was moving elsewhere and you see that touched upon in this film. People are getting laid off and one character whose in high school even resorts to armed robbery because he feels he has no other option. So, while the film is essentially about the struggle of two characters who are looking to get out of this town, there is a bigger picture around it. I didn’t understand the title of the film because clearly Cruise’s character makes all the wrong moves, but it all works out for him in the end because even Coach wakes up. I liked the movie and so I am going to give it an B+ for a final grade.