Eddie Van Halen wrote the musical score of the movie and many of the pieces of what would become Van Halen songs. In some of the bowling alley scenes, the main guitar riff that would be used for "Good Enough" can be heard. In an early scene in the movie the piano melody for "Right Now" is heard. And during the party scenes, most of the guitar passages would be used for "A.F.U. (Naturally Wired)." See more »
During the scene where Jim has the music up too loud, Bill comes in and it appears that he yanks the plug out. After he leaves, Jim turns it back on by hitting play, not by putting the plug back in. See more »
The 'Wild Life,' like other 80s teen movies, are just one of those movies you watch not for story (since there really is no single, distinct plot directing the characters), but simply because you can have fun with the series of scattered events with which our characters wade through.
This one follows the spirit of 'Fast Times At Ridgemont High,' minus most of the controversial plot lines ('Fast Times' addresses abortion, but this one only somewhat addresses strung out vets). Although, that is not surprising since Chris Penn's character, Tom Drake, so closely models Sean Penn's character, Jeff Spicoli. This movie is what a spin-off of 'Fast Times' would be like if Jeff Spicoli were the main character.
There are essentially five main characters: Tom Drake (Penn), the anarchistic party animal; recent high school grad, Bill Conrad (a timid Eric Stolz who once played fellow surfer bonehead to Jeff Spicoli in 'Fast Times') who wants to prove that both masculinity and adulthood hinge on his having his own apartment; Anita (Lea Thompson) who is dating a sleazy cop; Eileen (the spunky Jenny Wright) who is much more independent that Anita, but no less able to entirely refuse her idiot boyfriend, Tom Drake; and Jim Conrad (Ilan-Mitchell Smith), the gloomy brother who is slightly less weirder than Josh Miller was in 'The River's Edge.' A crazy assortment of characters is typical in this variety of 80s comedy. Without a main plot, our characters' situations lead to some pretty hilarious subplots (most of them being between Tom Drake and Bill Conrad, who eventually become the 80s 'Odd Couple' when Drake moves in).
Look for minor roles by Rick Moranis, as Eileen's completely nerdy boss, Harry; Randy Quaid as drugged out Vietnam Vet, Charlie; Lee Ving (lead singer of 'Fear') who briefly appears as the cable guy; and Michael Bowen (Tommy in 'Valley Girl') as Tom Drake's equally braindead jock friend.
And, of course, it wouldn't be an 80s teen movie without boobs, beer, and house parties.
I didn't like this movie the first time I saw it because there is really no point to most things that transpire in the story. Why is the scene at the strip club or the younger brother's fascination with the war important? It doesn't matter. I watched it a second time, a little tired and giddy, and the 'Wild Life' became the perfect late night lazy movie. Turn off your brain and enjoy. (That party sequence at the end is hilarious).
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