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This is nothing new from what we've seen plenty of times before--but this one has one big difference--it's accurate. I graduated from high school in 1980 (when I first saw the film) and I was surprised at how realistic it was. They got the dialogue, clothes and attitudes down completely right. Even the main song of the movie ("On the Radio" by Donna Summer) was a big hit before this came out. This film hit me harder than any other teen film of the time because I could understand and relate to the characters. I knew girls in high school who were just like this! The film is (of course) dated but it captures a time we will never see again.
The acting is good on all counts with Foster giving the best performance. The relationship between her and Kellerman (who was excellent) was realistic and well-done. Even Scott Baio (who has a small role as a friend of the girls) more or less realistically played a teen boy.
A very good movie--essential viewing if you came of age in 1980. The film has a deserved R rating (plenty of drug use and swearing) but should be seen by all teens. I give it a 8.
And therein is the core of the movie. It's not about partying, it's not about sexuality, but about these 4 girls and their final time as still young girls before they have to go the world alone.
If you have ever had a friendship like that in your life, you will feel this movie--it will mean a lot to you, no matter what era it is set in, or what era you grew up in. We all knew these girls in school, or at the very least knew of them. We all knew the frustrated virgin, half wanting to hold onto childhood and half wanting desperately to grow up and thinking that will do it for her. We all knew the boy-crazy one, the fashion plate whose vanity hides her fear of the world, her fear of acceptance. We all knew the party girl, the one they whispered about, with tales of not only her sad home life but of her notorious exploits. And we all knew the "mother figure", the one a little more real, a little more grounded, a little more sad because she knew what would happen. Maybe you were one of those girls. Maybe, like me, you had been each one at one time or another...
This film really captures that fragile time in life when want, needs, pressures, womanhood, childhood, the world and loneliness are all embodied in each female's head, each factor on the precipice. Which aspect do you hang on to? What do you toss over the edge, no matter how you may want to hold on? And how painful is goodbye to everything you've known? That's what this movie is--steps into womanhood while clinging onto childhood, and how damn tough it is to keep walking. If you were there, you know...and love this film, as I do. Aching and tenderly done. A fine piece of captured femininity.
And who better to clarify this existence than Jodie Foster and Cherie Currie? Portraying Annie was probably no stretch for Cherie Currie who fronted The Runaways. She probably understood Annie very well.
People often dismiss the acting as amateurish. I would say not polished but how many teens have a polished act at that age? Nothing is perfect nor understood perfectly at that age. The parents here understand life but can't be understood by their teenage children. Very realistic to me. If the acting had been polished this film wouldn't work. It's the very fact that things seem slightly amateurish that makes this film believable.
The film is gritty, grimy, smoggy but also gentle, and young-slightly naive.
If you want a peek at life in LA seen through the eyes of it's youth at that time then check this out. Life had it's complications back then even without cell phones, I-pods and Blackberries.
This picture offers a poignant, insightful, often devastatingly credible and thoroughly absorbing examination of broken, dysfunctional families which exist directly underneath suburbia's neatly manicured surface and the tragic net result of such families: tough, resilient, but unhappy and vulnerable kids who have to confront the trials and tribulations of growing up on their own because their parents are either too inconsiderate or even nonexistent. Adrian ("Fatal Attraction," "Jacob's Ladder") Lyne's direction is both sturdy and observant while Gerald Ayres' script is somewhat messy and rambling, but overall still accurate in its frank, gritty, unsentimental depiction of your average latchkey kid's nerve-wrackingly chaotic, capricious and unpredictable everyday life. Leon Bijou's soft, dewy, almost pastoral cinematography properly suggests a delicate and easily breakable sense of tranquility and innocence. Giorgio Moroder arranged the excellent score, which makes particularly effective use of Donna Summer's elegiac "On the Radio." The top-notch cast includes Sally Kellerman as Foster's neurotic, insecure, peevish mother, Scott Baio as a sweet skateboarder dude, Randy Quaid as Kagan's rich older boyfriend, British 60's pop singer Adam Faith as Foster's feckless, absentee rock promoter father, and Lois Smith as Kagan's smothering, overprotective mother. Appearing in brief bits are Robert Romanus (Mike Damone "Fast Times at Richmont High") as one of Foster's morose ex-boyfriends and a gawky, braces-wearing Laura Dern as an obnoxious party crasher. Achingly authentic, engrossing and deeply moving (Currie's grim ultimate fate is very heart-breaking), "Foxes" is quite simply one of the most unsung and under-appreciated teen movies made about early 80's adolescence.
Just like Alan Parker in Bugsy Malone, he teams up Jodie Foster and Scott Baio taking a meandering look at the friendship of four teenage girls growing up in LA's San Fernando Valley in the late 1970s as they deal with sex, drink, drugs, partying, love and growing up. Jodie Foster tries to protect them all but some are hell bent on self destruction. Giorgio Moroder provides the tinny synth music and Donna Summer sings the infectious title song 'On the radio.'
Looking at the film over three decades later it features a more grimy and seedier suburb, its still contained in the disco era where even the adult characters seem lost and screwed up. British actor Adam Faith has a cameo as Jodie's dad who is a tour manager.
Despite the on-screen talent which contains several Oscar nominees this is a rather dull and plodding film with very little point to it. The music livens it up a little as Glam rockers Angel make an appearance.
Lyne makes good use of lighting and establishes a visual look that will become popular in the 1980s.
Watch for a young Laura Dern. Why they didn't have more songs from the Runaways I'll never know ?
I did have a problem with Randy Quaid's character deflowering a 16 year old girl. While he was away she and her friends have a party that destroys dude's house. The cops come and everything but no mention of all the underage drinking and how these kids got their hands on this stuff.
Foxes belongs right there with Over the Edge, Fast Times, Dazed & Confused, and Kids as one of the all time teen angst flicks.
I say buy it and watch it with your kids and talk about it all.
Its theme of teen angst is as relevant today as it was 25 years ago and Jodie Foster and sk8er boi Scott Baio (remember him?) lead a fine young cast that's well worth watching.
The film follows four Southern California girls as they move through a rootless existence of sex and drugs and devoid of parents. The teens spend their days in and out of school and their nights at parties, concerts, or out on the street. Seldom are they home because instant gratification is a pill, party, or boy away.
But rather than condemning them, the film is sympathetic, blaming absent, uncaring adults for forcing the teens to grow up alone. And the charismatic cast is impossible to dislike.
The film's opening a long and loving pan - sets the tone for what follows. We see the girls asleep at daybreak amid the objects that define teen girlhood, from Twinkies to a picture of a young John Travola, while Donna Summer's "On the Radio" is scored beneath.
From there the movie picks up speed as the girls head off to school and to life. Annie (Runaway rocker Cherie Currie) is the wild child who lives for the next party or pill. Deirdre (Kandice Stroh) is the boy crazy drama queen. Madge (Marlilyn Stroh) is the shy girl in over her head. And Foster is the one with the plan. It's her job to keep this crew together long enough to finish high school while also holding her divorced and desperate man hunting mother in line (Sally Kellerman).
It's an almost impossible job and one that Foster ultimately fails at.
Despite its age, "Foxes" remains a pleasure to watch. Dated hair, clothes, and references to Olympic skater Dorothy Hamill haven't hurt the movie.
The cinematography is simply stunning, with breathtaking filtered shots of the L.A. basin at dawn, dusk and at night. Giorgio Moroder adds a 80s soundtrack featuring the likes of Donna Summer and Janis Ian.
Perhaps the movie's biggest disappointment is that the young stars around Foster never broke out like the casts of "St. Elmo's Fire" (1985) or "Empire Records" (1995). "Foxes" shows why they should have. But perhaps like Bowling for Soup's song "1985," they just hit a wall.
"Foxes" pretends to be an "edgy" and "gritty" examination of teenage life during the Disco Era; a sort of precursor to the films of Larry Clarke. Everything about it, though, reeks of phoniness. The film's "American Graffiti" styled plot ends with our heroes making various life decisions, Madge marrying an older lover, Deirdre learning to resist boys and Jeanie, the film's voice of young wisdom, graduating from high-school. Everywhere the film's wistful subtext clashes awkwardly with its phony neo-realist surface.
6/10 – See "Ghost World".
Director Adrian Lyne doesn't seem interested in the kids (which includes a pointless Scott Baio with a Linus blanket skateboard), but rather, how atmospheric the lighting affects each close-up shot: which are very abundant. We never get the feeling of placement nor do we establish any distinct, or interesting, location.
And why are these girls so miserable and what they're escaping from? Other than dull conversations with their miserable parents in scenes fitting to an acting workshop, it feels more like an After School Special than a teen rebellion flick.
The music lacks the essential hard-lined energy of, say, OVER THE EDGE. The melancholy intro of Donna Summer's pop tune "On The Radio" is not only played throughout, but pops up whenever things get "deep." And Cherie Currie's wild girl character has potential, but lacks screen time and is so doomed she should have a paper taped to her back reading: BURY ME.
This ponderous melodrama starts off well: good actors and some cool Hollywood Boulevard exterior locations. But none are used for very long, and never establishes our protagonists or their destination, which is pretty much nonexistent.
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You could choose to pursue academics, school sports or extracurricular activities. You could get a part time job,explore church, do volunteer work or practice a musical instrument. You could be in a committed relationship or listen to classical music.
These girls are choosing the White Trash option. None of their parents are unemployed or living in a trailer.
I always wonder about the hygiene of such kids. It's not like they did a lot of flossing or ate whole foods. They vomited, ate junk food, smoked, drank, did drugs and slept around. Wouldn't their breath reek and their clothes be crusty? Disgusting.
I think it's completely ridiculous to say that this is the way teens of that era were in So Cal. Some were, but plenty weren't.
Having said all that, this movie had grit and that was its' best quality. The street scenes, the freestyle dialog, and the concert footage were real and made an impact. Real people do not live in a polished way, even the educated, and real people do not speak from a script.
Great opening and utilization of Donna Summer/Giorgio Moroder music. Also nice use of a climax that would inevitably lead to a permanent change in course for the girls. Actions have consequences. The blonde chick was a train wreck waiting to embrace her fate.
While it's true that the sheer size, commercialism, and heat of the Valley can lead to alienation, it didn't have to be that way. Back then there were plenty of parks, book stores, skating rinks, and single family homes with pools and orange trees. You just had to choose your friends wisely and stay focused on productive pursuits.
Their hair, clothes and speech were outdated but the emotions and the desperation of each situation were so familiar! I remember thinking how real it was and how I wished that they would make movies like that still.
In fact I saw this movie the night after I had been at a crazy party (not so unlike the one in Jay's house) which had been crashed by what we considered the loser derelicts who hung out on the fringes of our crowd. A world class BS'er and "responsible" mother figure type I identified immediately with Jeanie (I was also the one with a car) although I had a little bit of Madge's insecurities floating around in there too. My best friend was a Deidre and her good friend from childhood was our Annie.
Watching the scene when Jeanie is in school or the one where her and her boyfriend break up and then she is telling Madge how much she loved him felt like conversations and situations I had personally had.
Now at the age of 27 I recently saw the movie again and felt a surge of emotions because it was like watching back a piece of my own youth (though none of my friends died). I think this is a must see for all girls 13 and up.
This film teaches us how to let go, even when it is painful, and does so with a sweet, melancholy, but informed style whereby Foster talks philosophically about feeling the pain of life. I loved that scene. It was my favorite scene in the movie, actually.
The transition from funeral to wedding was meant to show that life does go on, and so must we. Baio's skateboarding through a pack of goons and outrunning them was meant to show us that the troubled times will pass, and we are meant to get through them, to better times.
The whole metaphor of "moving on," and the procession of life, is present throughout the film, and serves to give us hope, in the end.
I like this movie, though I do not watch it often, as it tends to make me melancholy.
It shouldn't be viewed by young children, and probably only those raised in the 1970's-80's would want to.
It rates a 7.4/10 from...
the Fiend :.
"Foxes" was such a huge departure from all of that.
Where other young female actors of that era turned to sexual puerility disguised as comedy ("Little Darlings", anyone?), Jodie went for a depressing and tragic tale of teens dragged to their demise by the powerful allure of temptation and addiction.
This was not Disney. This was not Porky's. This was not "Halloweed". This was a dark & powerful story of the destruction of young lives. Sadly it's a tale that still plays out on a daily basis all over the country, this film could be replayed (with a current soundtrack) and still be wholly relevant.
It's not the best film ever made, it is tired at some parts, not all the performances are particularly outstanding. But Jodie Foster continued to show her chops as a real adult actor (a trend started when she was very young in Taxi Driver).
7 out of 10 Barky
It was so worth it then luckily I was able to record it off of cable a few years later so I got to really see it without interruptions.
My favorite scene is when they are cruising down Hollywood Blvd. looking for Annie and we get a glimpse of all the oddball characters: the Mary Weirdo, the dog smoking a pipe, etc.
I only wish that I could now get this on DVD. Great, great film.