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Reminds me of what it was like to be 7 years old in June
Alright, Star Wars was the movie for every other 7-year old at the time, as it was for me. But seeing this film after more than twenty years instantly invaded my senses. I smelled the popcorn, felt the heat of summer, and the heard handful of change my friends and I would use to get into the double features playing at a theater that has long since been bulldozed for a mega Gap store. It has all of the elements of a perfect summer movie. Action, romance, Maureen McCormick in tight shorts, Billy Barty in a characteristic though cliché tuxedo, and music. Plus, it gave us Patrick Swayze in his first screen role.
Now the plot is as formulaic as they come. Basically a dumbed down Romeo and Juliet on roller skates with bad disco on the Jersey Pier. Greg Bradford, who did nothing before or after this movie, is a young and studley out of towner whose sister, Maureen McCormick, takes him to the local skate, disco, super-rally-roller-rink where he acts like an a pathetically nieve boy next door type; but with blonde hair and biceps. No surprises when he falls instantly in love with the pettiest, most aloof girl in the joint. This ballerina on rubber wheels just happens to be the kid sister of Ace Johnson. Aka Patrick Swayze. ACE, isn't that a great name for the leader of a tough talking, fast moving, skate gang.? So, no surprises, Ace isn't thrilled with his kid sister and the new guy. There's a lot of empty threats from the Ace and members of the tough talking skater boys and notable appearances by Scott Baio who, as a friend of Maureen McCormick, tries to defuse the situation.
Of course he can't keep things from degrading, which they do, first into a "skate off" which might as well have been filmed on ice for how choreographed as feminine it was. And then it degrades further into a skate death match. Now this is where the movie is really trying hard to be as formula as possible without looking like they are trying to be formula. Now in a regular testosterone-machismo film, this is where the two can't back down let alone think teenagers would match up in a car race towards a cliff before they ditch at the last second and send their muscle cars over a cliff making us all cry. There are no cliffs in Jersey and this is a roller skate movie. The testosterone is tainted with estrogen, the pants are too tight, the skates are laced even tighter, and they race each other down a pier towards the Atlantic ocean on rocket powered skates. I kid you not.
I don't want to give away anything else, but I will say that the most challenging thing about this film is obtaining a copy. They never produced in on VHS. It hasn't been shown in years and years in a theater. Never shown on TV to my knowledge. And no plans for a DVD release that I have heard of. I just happen to have a bootleg copy that I had to sell my soul for. Cheers
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