It's the proverbial end of the summer 1962 in a small southern California town. It's the evening before best friends and recent high school graduates, Curt Henderson and Steve Bolander, are scheduled to leave town to head to college back east. Curt, who received a lucrative local scholarship, is seen as the promise that their class holds. But Curt is having second thoughts about leaving what Steve basically sees as their dead end town. Curt's beliefs are strengthened when he spots an unknown beautiful blonde in a T-bird who mouths the words "I love you" to him. As Curt tries to find that blonde while trying to get away from a local gang who have him somewhat hostage, Curt may come to a decision about his immediate future. Outgoing class president Steve, on the other hand, wants to leave, despite meaning that he will leave girlfriend, head cheerleader and Curt's sister, Laurie Henderson, behind. Steve and Laurie spend the evening "negotiating" the state of their relationship. Meanwhile... Written by
The Beach Boys song "All Summer Long" - which plays over the end credits - was released in the Summer of 1964 although the movie is set in the Summer of 1962, some two years before the song's release. But the characters do not hear it, only we do; and it is a suitable way of moving into the post-1962 "future". See more »
Hey, what do you say, Curt? Last night in town... you guys gonna have a little bash before you leave?
The Moose have been looking for you all day.
[hands a check to Curt]
They got worried... thought you were trying to avoid them or something.
What is it? What do ya got?
That's $2,000 man! Two thousand dollars!
Mr. Jennings gave it to me to give to you. He says he's sorry it's so late, but it's the first scholarship the Moose Lodge has given out. And he, uh, says they're ...
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Worded epilogues prior to the credits shows what happen to the characters following the movie. While this has since become commonplace in films, it was considered innovative at the time. See more »
Nostalgic look at one night/morning of a small California town and some of its teenagers. Story-wise this is nothing new--all the stereotypes are in place--the loving/bickering couple (Ron Howard and Cindy Williams); the rebel (Paul Le Mal) stuck with a 13 year old (Mackenzie Phuillips); the nerd (Charles Martin Smith) having a disastrous date with a blonde (Candy Clark); the hood (Bo Hopkins) showing the good boy (Richard Dreyfuss) a night out and Harrison Ford and Suzanne Somers in small parts.
What makes this movie better than average is the great direction by George Lucas--he fills the Cinemascope screen masterfully; the non-stop soundtrack of 50s/60s hits; a great script and the cast of then-unknowns. It's incredible to see some of these actors so young (especially Ford and Dreyfuss) and full of life. Without this cast, this movie would probably have long-since been forgotten.
So, no great shakes, but very sweet and nostalgic with some good acting. Worth catching. Try to see it letter-boxed or on a big screen.
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