A mother of two sons finds life considerably difficult on her own after the death of her beloved husband. Due to debt she must move them to Baltimore, and deal with the hardships and all ... See full summary »
Free-spirited fifteen-year-old Connie Wyatt may be too young to drive, but she's already driving the boys crazy. Her suspicious mother wants to keep her safely at home, but Connie would rather while away the languid summer days hanging out with her friends and flirting with boys at the local burger stand. But when she flirts with a handsome and dangerous stranger named Arnold Friend, she must prepare herself for the frightening and traumatic consequences. Based on the short story "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" by Joyce Carol Oates.Written by
Eric Zuckerman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The film is actually based on the short story by Joyce Carol Oates titled, "Where are you going, Where have you been?". It's often hailed as a literary masterpiece due to the many motifs and insightful views on modern culture. See more »
When the girls are looking across the street at Franks drive-in we see the gold Pontiac already in the lot, easy to pick out due to the left brake light being out. Then we hear the car coming down the road and see it turn into the parking lot, also sporting the non working light. See more »
You don't understand. I mean, it's not what you think. I'd never do that. It's just... the boys are so nice to you. When we're together... I never knew it was gonna be so nice. Did you ever have a boy hold you close and sing to you? This one boy, Eddie... he sang to me right in my ear. And he held me so sweetly. June, don't you know how that feels? Just to be held like that?
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PBS edited 2 minutes from this film for its 1987 network television premiere. See more »
The Joyce Carol Oates story this movie is based on, "Where Are You Going, Where Have You been" would have made an excellent thirty minute short. But to make it into a feature length film a lot of padding was necessary, and the sort of padding used was of the banal, coming of age sort you've probably seen in dozens of television programs and movies already.
Laura Dern is well cast as the blonde, leggy teen-aged Connie, a typical teenaged girl who is neither particularly likable nor unlikable when she and her gaggle of female friends tentatively strut and giggle around boys at a local mall (the drive-in sixties of Joyce's story is updated easily enough to the shopping mall eighties). Later, when she is home alone with Arnold Friend, the very bad character all that flirting has inadvertently attracted (Oates based him on an actual serial killer, Charles Howard Schmid, who murdered several teens in Tucson, Arizona in the mid sixties) she is very convincing when she is shaking and crying for her mother. Oates' story ends with a terrorized Connie departing with Arnold--her fate is unknown, but going by Arnold's threats and crude, brutal banter it seems more likely than not that Connie will be raped and killed. However, in the movie, Connie is brought back home by Arnold a few hours later, a bit shaken but not particularly the worse for wear--in fact she is more thoughtful and kind than she was before towards her nattering mother (well played by Mary Kay Place) and frumpy older sister. In other words, we have gone from Oates to Degrassi High and the horror that characterized the second half of Oates' text (and that the first half was leading up to) has been pretty much bled out of the story.
"Smooth Talk" is worth checking out for the strong performance of Laura Dern in an early role but don't expect Oates.
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