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Mark Boone Junior
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An iconic tribute to a culture, place and state of mind that defined small town America in the early 80s. It is a universal moment in time, when everything you know to be true starts fading. The story is personal, yet familiar, set against a visually arresting landscape of music and vistas of Americana. Written by
If you don't like it, it's because you don't get it
This is one of those movies that sneaks up on you and you don't even start to realize how good it is until you're halfway through it - but you have to 'get' it. People who suggest that this should have been a comedy, or who don't think it compares to a different movie, well those people just didn't 'get' it. This is not a formula story with a predictable plot; instead, it's an offbeat story that puts you right in the background of the lives of ordinary people dealing with the kinds of things you might have back in that day. I know that is how it came across to me, and why it connected with me so well.
I won't go into the whole plot line but I will share two moments I really liked. One was when Richie's friend has sold the skate rink where he has worked for the last few years. Richie asks if he can close the place up one last time, and in the deserted rink he plays the same music, runs the flashing lights, talks over the PA system, and just relives countless moments he's had during his time working there. In one brief moment his head drops and you know the sadness is really hitting him. Young people are usually new at learning what loss is all about and it can be painful watching them experience it. Another scene I like, earlier in the film, is when Richie is working at the rink and sees a few young men shooting pool - and they were the ones who were indirectly or directly involved in the death of his best friend. With the 'limbo' pole in his hand he makes for them and flips out on them, venting his rage, almost killing one of them.
The story is deceptively low-key but so much of real life is just that way. This is not a nostalgia comedy - not all nostalgia is necessarily light-hearted comedy - so it may not be the best movie for a lot of people who would do better with something like 'Dazed and Confused'. If in your past you knew people and situations like the ones here, you'll 'get' it and enjoy it.
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