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In the final few days of Pop's Paradise - a hamburger joint that's been a second home to Westwood High's senior class - and a group of friends must face the biggest decisions of their lives. There's Stick, a surfer headed for Vietnam, Pirate, who wants to discover America along Route 66, and Michael, whose political activism may destroy his Harvard-bound future. Little do any of them realize that their final carefree days will also mark the end of their - and all of America's - innocence. Written by
Saturday Night @ the movies w/"There Goes My Baby"
So,much like Steve-O who just posted his review today,I just last night (3/31)@ 11pm watched this film. Unlike Steve,I like it quite a bit more.
Although I will agree that,yes,we've gone down this memory lane before at the movies and truthfully I'd never even heard of it. It was pretty entertaining but this particular plot was done on a stronger level in the TV movie "The 60's" a few years back and as mentioned "American Graffitti". Still,I think it could be a good introductory film for young people to watch as a way to teach them about this era.
A great plot idea to set it around the closing of the favorite high-school hang out,complete with one of those fun but at times annoying DJ's (The Beard),who used to talk in rhyme! Places like "Pops" stand as a symbol of the innocence of the previous era that was soon to be lost.
Now,Rick Schroder is a good actor,not great like say Johnny Depp or (I can finally say without laughing)Leonardo DeCaprio. He's almost first billed but doesn't do as much as I though he would. His emotional breakdown at "Pops" was done quite well along with the scene with his character's father.
Pirate is he school's delinquent who is always at odds with Principal Maran (they call him moron of course). The actor who plays the principal is okay but should have played it a bit stronger. Pirate,for being a delinquent,sure is a quiet one...at least until later.
The early days of Vietnam protest and the Watts riots are recreated very well also but are not as graphic,as done in other films. I found it a bit odd to put "Turn-Turn-Turn" by The Byrds over the riot scenes. Could they not find an appropriate song by an African-American act?? I could say the song might be lyrically relevant but musically,it's too light for such scenes.
In the middle of this a young man named Morrisey burns his draft card and is,roughed up by the police and then later hangs himself. The scene that comes later of Pirate and crew (no joke intended)burning the statue in front of their school,is truly the strongest scene in the whole film. I would say the Watts riots as first,but again,The Byrds song kind of waters that scene down.
The young ladies in this movie are good at portraying the females of the time,who are the last generation to grow up with "finish school,find a man,get married & have kids". The actresses do an admirable job and the emotions from them really felt genuine to me.
The music is great of course because,hey,these are classics. Although some have been used countless times before in movies.
Overall it's not a bad little film but I do once again agree,it could have been so much more for a movie depicting the beginnings,of the most turbulent of times,in our country's history. By the way,this movie was filmed & then shelved in 1990.
8 stars because...again..a stronger sense of the mood of times,as they were,would have made it a 10 star. (END)
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