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This is one of the better "coming of age" movies I have seen. It's about
immature young man who makes up his mind to go to college at Oxford (long
before he ever sees and falls for Amanda Pays) and then gets there. When
falls for Amanda's character and becomes a member of the Oxford rowing
he learns a lot about integrity and honor and just being a
I found this movie much more deeply thought provoking than just the simple surface comedy (BTW, I never thought it was a comedy) about a brash American in a foreign country. Lowe plays the character perfectly, as a street-wise, intelligent, middle class young man with a desire to improve his lot in life.
His membership on the Oxford Rowing Team provides an interesting and realistic setting for him to learn about being part of a community and making a contribution to his team. His relationship with Amanda's character is a good platform for watching him learn about the difference between brazen boldness and real culture.
Through a series of mishaps and missteps, he learns the value of character, integrity, and honor. His passage from adolescent immaturity to valued adult friend and teammate makes this an interesting movie from start to finish. This is a great character study.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I really liked this movie when it was fresh. But that was 25 years ago.
And when it popped up online I had to watch it. Despite the years I was
surprised at the things I remembered from "No more second chances, no
more second chances" to "I think you're being paged, Lionel".
But that was 25 years ago. Now, the only redeeming value this movie has is a rather interesting perspective of Oxford. The plot premise is rather stupid: some kid from Las Vegas transfers to Oxford so he can date a Lady. He then acts like a complete bull in a china shop and for some reason manages to not so much win the heart of the Lady but at least get in her pants?? Bottomline, the characterizations are basically stereotypes, the plot is vapid, and he wins the race in the end. Oops! Spoiler!
OK, now that is has been several months since I watched this again following a 25 year hiatus, I can't get the movie out of my mind. I keep thinking about it. It has the same spell it had 25 years ago. Weird.
I found this video in a garage sale about 6 years ago , and bought it
because it had was set in Oxford and starred Rob Lowe.
If you like any so called "BratPack" type of film from the 80's you should
try and get hold of a copy of Oxford Blues. Yes it is true that its not all
that well put together and some of the acting is a bit rough around the
edges, But I have never got bored of watching it.
The main thing I liked about it was it did have a story line, which a lot
films dont have. Watching Rob Lowe's character make his dreams come true by
winning the heart of Lady Victoria , Gets my vote!.
I like people with ambitions and thats probably why I liked this film. So
dont be put off by any negative comments, as I think its a classic 80's
film. I had better warn you that finding a copy could be a nightmare!
This is a remake of the old "A Yank at Oxford," starring Robert Taylor and Maureen O'Sullivan. In the original, although Taylor's character was an overly-confident braggart, a lesson was learned because the guy really had a heart of gold and was able to sacrifice his own interests for those of others. He played a typical American idiot (i.e. the average college student) who comes into an environment of traditionalism and protocol, and adjusts to it. He was a well-rounded and sincere character whom the audience cared about. Lowe's characterization, however, was awful (I don't know if Lowe played it this way or if he was directed to play it this way). There is NO WAY anyone like this would be a student at Oxford. He was one-dimensional, obnoxious, and downright stupid. The entire movie just had the viewer wanting him to be hog-tied and thrown into the Thames, never to re-surface again, and to allow the other actors (especially Julian Firth and Julian Sands) to take over the film. Aside from Lowe's character, however, the other aspects of the movie are quite good, especially if you like the British university thing, and "Merry Olde England" in general.
During his career Rob Lowe has been compared as the Brat Pack throwback
to some of the matinée idols of the Studio era. That comparison was
sealed when he did Oxford Blues a more suggestive remake of the MGM
classic A Yank At Oxford which did so well for Robert Taylor back in
The same basic plot is retained for Oxford Blues from the original film. Rob with a little help from computer hacker brother Chad in an unbilled part, gets himself a transfer from the University of Nevada to matriculate. Funds for the trip and the tuition is won at the Las Vegas crap tables. And Rob even gets a Ferrari, courtesy of divorcée Gail Strickland, most satisfied with the extras that Rob provides for her when he's not parking cars. Stuff back in the day MGM would not show with Robert Taylor.
If you thought Taylor was a fish out of water at Oxford back in the Thirties, he's nothing compared to Lowe here. Oxford is a place steeped in tradition and Lowe's casual attitude really irks a lot of people from head man Michael Gough on down.
Worse than that he's got a casual attitude towards his sport of rowing. There even in their suits and gowns, the rowers are the jocks that rule in that place.
Though there are certain things that don't change. When Lowe is challenged to a 'sconcing' contest, he knows what chugfest is all about.
Like in the original Rob's caught between two women, matriculating student Ally Sheedy, fellow brat packer from America and Lady Amanda Pays who's well known nobility who occasionally winds up on the gossip pages. She's got a fiancé in the person of Julian Sands, but that doesn't deter Lowe one bit.
Another good role in Oxford Blues is that of Julian Firth who plays Lowe's roommate and a person who is in some wonder of Lowe's casual American ways. Farther down the cast list in a minor part as another Oxford student is Cary Elwes who would be a movie name in a couple of years.
Like the previous film when MGM filmed A Yank At Oxford on location there, Oxford Blues is also filmed at Oxford and I must say the place doesn't look like it changed much in almost fifty years. Then again a place steeped in tradition like Oxford isn't expected to change. Not even for Rob Lowe.
As for Rob himself, he carries off the part of Nick DeAngelo in the best hero/heel tradition of that other matinée idol of yore, Tyrone Power.
This is an excellent film with fine acting throughout. While the initial plotline might be slightly unlikely, the interactions of the main character while at Oxford are the real point of the movie, despite his initial reason. It is interesting througout the movie with a variety of well-rounded characters. The movie is well balanced between the action and excitement of the competitive scenes with the drama and romance at the heart of the story.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Rob Lowe is a hot but obnoxious Oxford-bound student who wants to meet
a beautiful girl enrolled there and also row his way to a championship
if he has the time.
When wreck-less Rob gets his cute little red sports-car wedged between two stone walls at Oxford, it becomes in his best interest to redeem himself with the school, though he fails miserably by showing up late for classes and acting like a royal pain in the butt. It seems Rob will decide to behave and row as long as his crew-mates let him wear his black leather jacket so he can stand out above everyone else.
Amanda Pays and Ally Sheedy co-star in this remake of 'A Yank at Oxford'.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A condescending hustler is in love with a woman he's never met. He cons
his way into enrolling at Oxford, to meet Lady Victoria. Because of his
exceptional rowing skills, he joins the rowing team with one chance
only. He is heartbroken to learn that Lady Victoria has a fiancé
(Julian Sands) His arrogance gets him into trouble, but with the help
of his friend Rona (Ally Sheedy) he may reach his potential after all.
I suppose this was an OK movie, albeit, a tad on the mundane side at times. Your enjoyment of this film may depend on how much you can tolerate the 80's coming of age story formula and all the clichés that come along with it. I usually love the 80 clichés, but this one succumbs to tedium a little bit too often for my liking. This had a lot of potential to be a memorable coming of age film, the talent was certainly there. I did enjoy some of the intense training scenes from Rob Lowe, along with the hi-jinks that you would often see at this stage. I'm not really into rowing very much, it ranks as one of the dullest sports next to Curling. The rowing race at the end is very well done and I have to give it credit. Rob Lowe isn't very good in this movie. He comes across like a poor man's Tom Cruise without the charisma to pull off the likable arrogance. In fact, he's plain unlikable for most of the movie. His obtuse personality isn't very easy to get behind, and I didn't find much redeeming about him. Another problem is that you know where Lowe's character is heading. When his character shows maturity it is far too late to care. His romance storyline with both Sheedy & Amanda Pays is rushed and not given enough time to be as effective as it wants. I like Rob Lowe. He is very talented when he wants to be, but not in this one. Ally Sheedy's character is supposed to be vital, but it sure didn't feel that way. She comes across as somewhat awkward and unsure on how to portray the role. She's cute to look at, but the script doesn't give her much to work with. As a result, she comes off as slightly inconsequential. Julian Sands's character is a bit ambiguous. He's neither a good guy or a bad guy, falling in the middle. Carry Elwes has a small roll as well.
Final Thoughts: I didn't hate it or even dislike it, it just isn't that good of a film. You can do better when it comes to coming of age films from the 80's. You won't regret watching it, but it isn't worth seeking out
Back in the day, Rob Lowe was devoid of talent (as were many of the
notorious Brat Pack members) but had that certain something that made
(mostly teens) want more. He was a very marketable commodity at the time,
what better role to give him than something that has already been done
little money spent writing, pre-production as possible before his fame
expires as we all remember it did in the form of a threesome with two
He can't act like Meryl Streep but he can deliver lines adequately and professionally; he is not so horrible that it is not watchable, and the story line is cute. Overall not an oscar winner but watchable. Some of his Brat Pack friends had big hits with their solo movies such as Ally Sheedy in Short Circuit, Emilio Estevez in Young Guns, etc.
I am from Oxford so am a little bias because I recognise the location. All in all it is a good comedy that all the family can enjoy (although it is a 15). Highlights include the stereotype of an Oxford student, The stereotype of an American, and trying to name all the pubs that you see. I recommend to anyone who is from or has ever visited Oxford to watch this film because it is of the highest quality and guaranteed laughter all the way. If you can not find humor in the romantic yet slightly far fetched plot line then at least in the great characters as each one is very easy to relate to and they all have great names. This is the best advert for Oxford University that I have seen, so work hard kids and you too could be just like Nick DeAngelo.
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