Eye of the Needle: vintage trope-ridden thriller
Risky Business is kind of a dark movie

Less than the sum of its parts: The Outsiders

The compilation disk approach to movie collection has some interesting aspects.  Hitherto, I've mostly gotten access to film I was interested in, but would never buy on their own.  However, I'm also getting exposed to films I didn't even know about.

Such is the case with The Outsiders.  I had no idea there was a film that starred Mat Dillon, Patrick Swayze, Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez,  C. Thomas Howell and Ralph Macchio.  Oh, and Diane Lane.

The reason why I'd never heard of it is that it's bad.  The story is some sort of neo-Marxist tale of class privilege between the underclass ("greasers") and the prep/college class ("socs" an abbreviation of social, so pronounced "sosch").

The tale comes from a story written in 1967, but the film feels like a rebuttal to the Happy Days/Grease nostalgia of the 1970s.  In this telling the poor and well-off are bitter enemies, fighting vicious brawls in parks and are finally driven to kill.  Adults are entirely absent, and while this is supposed to be a coming of age story, it feels completely forced.

The America of that period was one with remarkably low violent crime, and the notion that a small towns would permit organized brawls strains the imagination.  Again, it feels like late 1960s revisionism with a Marxist gloss translated into a 1980s indictment of American materialism and classism. 

For instance, the rich boys are the ones taking liberties with women, being boorish and drunk whilst the virtuous lower classes only ask to get ahead and are the truly sensitive ones.

The only value of the film is its ensemble cast, which will soon dominate the box office.

As such, it's something of a novelty act - you watch it because of who is in it, not because it's any good.

 

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