Best friends Dave, Mike, Cyril and Moocher have just graduated from high school. Living in the college town of Bloomington, Indiana, they are considered "cutters": the working class of the town so named since most of the middle aged generation, such as their parents, worked at the local limestone quarry, which is now a swimming hole. There is great animosity between the cutters and the generally wealthy Indiana University students, each group who have their own turf in town. The dichotomy is that the limestone was used to build the university, which is now seen as being too good for the locals who built it. Although each of the four is a totally different personality from the other three, they also have in common the fact of being unfocused and unmotivated in life. The one slight exception is Dave. Although he has no job and doesn't know what to do with his life, he is a champion bicycle racer. He idolizes the Italian cycling team so much he pretends to be Italian, much to the chagrin...Written by
Visible in the upper corner of a mirror when Dave is talking to his parents in the dining room. See more »
[looking at Dave's beat up bike]
Doesn't look that bad to me...
That's cause you don't have to ride it!
Well, you know, you don't have to ride it either, Dave. We're not gonna beg you.
We may plead, but we would never beg!
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I recently saw this on the big screen here in Tokyo (July 2012).
I hadn't seen it for years, going back decades probably. I saw it originally when it came out, as I was only a couple of years junior to those portrayed on the screen. Like others have mentioned, the acting was superb and true to life. Not one second on screen do you feel anyone is acting. Dennis Christopher as lead character David Stoller is really a joy to behold. His enthusiasm is never forced or fake. He pulls it off beautifully.
And Dennis Quaid's Mike character is probably all too common in this world of high school stars peaking with graduation. His story is quietly repeated among so many who saw their best years in high school only to watch others get the longer lasting glory. The speeches he gives are poignant, deep and yet perfectly fitting of his character. He does a wonderful job of showing the frustration of change.
Daniel Stern's Cyril is perfect as the more comical of the bunch - simply perfect casting. Some of his lines are just priceless.
And Jack Earl Haley and 'Moocher' looks like so many of us looked like back then, me included (though I wasn't short). Long straggly hair, t shirt, jeans and string-bean skinny.
Paul Dooley and Barbara Barrie were wonderful. As were the brief shots of others at the Little 500. I can only imagine they were locals hired as extras.
Hart Bochner (Lloyd's son) did a fine job as the snob jock. Gotta admit, they didn't come better looking than that back then. I sometimes wonder if Paul McTiernan didn't intentionally subject Hart to that somewhat comical but deadly ending in "Die Hard" out of payback for being such a jerk in "Breaking Away".
Katherina played by Robyn Douglass was wonderful. She had that perfect look of girls you would just die for back then. She even resembled a girl me and my pals were all in love with back in Chatham Township high school. I loved her scenes and her moment when she finds out the truth. Really jolts you out of your seat. Choked me up.
Watching this film really made me aware of how we've changed, not just in our clothing or hair styles, but in our entire lives. Everything is brand-name now, everyone is so conscious of who made the object they desire and how much it cost. The more expensive the better. Everything is new and shiny. Every single element in a movie is examined from eyeglasses to shoes to pens. Everything is measured for its affluence and brand quality.
Back then, we had Schwinns, Huffys, Raleighs, even Sears and whatever else we could afford. We wore clothes just like those kids in the movie wore, T shirts, old jeans cut-offs in summer, and ripped up sneakers. We had fishing holes or swimming holes and spent enormous amounts of time riding bikes, or just laying in the grass or on rocks in the sun, or up in some tree house, just thinking or talking or planning out the universe... and also about girls, which none of us had actually had any meaningful contact with yet. A magical time in a boy's life.
Reminds me of the time we discovered an old playboy in the woods under a fallen tree. It was a huge deal with us at the time. We'd hide it back under the tree trunk wrapped in some plastic and go back to it when we were back there. Nowadays, the most descriptive and graphic porn that even Ripley wouldn't believe is simply a click away 24/7. It's a different world, indeed.
(Ironically, as a side note, the Playboy issue, we found out years later was the one that highlighted the ill-fated Dorothy Stratton.)
Nowadays, can you imagine anyone, especially a 19 year old kid sitting still out in nature or anywhere else for that matter for even ten seconds without whipping out a smart-phone or some other gadget? Or being seen not having just the right clothes, just the right Nikes or Adidas sneakers? We had converse back then, and they were the cheap sneakers.
It's just sad that such a time in life is gone forever, not just in the styles which were, yes, sloppy, an unkempt, but in the way kids lived. It's an entirely different world today and I wouldn't trade my childhood in the 70s and early 80s with any kid today for all the money in the world.
I sat through the film twice, loving it so much and knowing I'd probably never get a chance to see it on the big screen again. Watching it with tears in my eyes, I really felt such an urge that if I could have, I would've climbed into that screen in a second to go back to that time once again that is never more. Just like Willoughby must've been to Rod Serling.
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