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Don't be afraid to chase your dreams
jimbospence16 August 2006
Any time I need to get psyched up this is the movie I think about. I learned watching it back in the 80's that if you have a dream you have to go after it because nobody is going to give it to you. It doesn't matter if you are a wrestler, a financial analyst, an astronaut or a bartender everybody has a dream. Louden set a goal, had a plan and went after what he wanted, that's what we all need to do. This movie has had a great effect on my life. I guess everybody has their own motivational tools and cheesy or not this is one of mine. From the peg board climbing scene to the Pele description scene to the warm up scene playing out to "Lunatic Fringe" before his match with Shute this movie, in my opinion is an inspirational masterpiece. I really wish they would re-release the soundtrack because I can't find it anywhere.
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Still a fun movie
Ghenghy31 March 2002
I've been a fan for over 10 years, both my daughters love this movie, and as a former HS wrestler I'm probably hooked for life. Begs to be remade with less emphasis on the goo goo eyes for Linda Fiorentino but Matthew Modine is just terrific, both as kid on a mission and a wrestler. 9/10
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Trite Plot, Sappy Star; so WHY is it so GOOD?
Bob-4528 October 2004
While I bought the soundtrack to 'Vision Quest' while the movie was still new, I didn't bother to see the movie until recently. While a great soundtrack and a braless Linda Fiorentino was quite appealing, the 'high school wrestler' plot didn't interest me at all. A few years later, after seeing the sappy Matthew Modine in 'Married to the Mob, ' I lost all interest in 'Vision Quest'. However, after catching (I wish) Linda Fiorentino in 'Men in Black,' and finding 'Vision Quest on ENCORE, I thought, 'What the heck? It's free.' So, my wife and I snuggled in and watched. We were glad we did. Sure, Modine was sappy, but so was his character, Loudan Swain. Loudan's a goofy kid who just turned 18. He's also smart and athletic and decent. He's a wrestler and he plans to beat the best high school wrestler in the state. Loudan wants this not for glory or awards; he just believes he can do it and makes a superhuman effort to lose the weight required to compete in the champ's weight class. His buddy, Kuch, who fancies himself an American Indian, observes Loudan is making a 'vision quest' for self discovery. During Loudan's journey and 'rite of passage to manhood' he meets Carla, a street smart, sexy girl three years his senior. Loudan falls for Carla and now has two dreams, to fight the champ and to win Carla.

Daryl Ponicson ('The Last Detail,' 'Cinderella Liberty) wrote the fine, incisive screenplay from the novel by Terry Davis. The movie has a lot to say about life and how dedication leads to genius. The language is rough, but quite natural. Linda Fiorentino has the movies funniest line, which refers to the 'Holland Tunnel', but J. C. Quinn, who plays Modene's chef friend, has the most poetic monologue, regarding Pele and soccer. Even though things don't work out exactly as Loudan expected, he's uplifted and exhilarated and you will be, too.

The outstanding soundtrack contains music by Tangerine Dream, Journey, REO Speedwagon and Madonna, among others. While the songs were not written for the movie (except, probably the Oscar worthy 'Crazy for You'), they work extremely well. Credit director Howard Becker ('The Onion Field,' 'Sea of Love') for getting the best from his talented cast of actors and musicians. 'Vision Quest' is not a great movie, but a good one. I give it a '7'.
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Louden Swain gets the glory!
petshoproy2 February 2004
I have to be bias about this movie. First of all, I was high school wrestler, and there wasn't much out there for exposure in this sport. Yes, the plot is saturated with cliches: high school jock trying to fullfil a dream while winning the heart of a woman. It's so 80s! I needed a movie to psyche myself up and I was so inspired that it made me sweat in a rubber suit and starved myself till I dropped

(thankfully, I don't do that anymore). Bottom line is, this film is all about glory-and everbody dreams about glorifying themselves-and Louden Swain is no different. I also like to mention that this film has one of the best movie soundtrack

compilations ever (better than Rocky, and who wants to listen to Survivor over and over again).
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It was made for the wrestlers and fans!
glentom17 October 2004
Its not hard to understand why some viewers would dislike this movie, since less than .1% of the worlds population ever wrestled in a competitive environment.

But, for those that have, and for the friends and parents of those wrestlers, this movie is a solid 9/10 rating. The movie hits on every aspect of this sports tortuous rigor: losing weight every week, not eating, training, and the mental gymnastics involved with having to believe that you can beat anyone at anytime.

And most realistically, this movie also shows the hardships of doing what every other high school kid does, in combination with the rigors of the sport. They have love relationships, they have classmates, they have to deal with the teachers and coaches, as well as their own family, plus they have to deal with their own teammates each week who may want to take over the top position at their weight.

As one who had over 100 high school matches (15 years before the making of this movie), I can confirm that there is no better movie than this about high school wrestling. When you rate this movie you should not think about how good it is among all other movies, rather you should rate it solely based on its ability to achieve the objective of accurately portraying its subject.

I guess that some would think Louden is not a "team player", but wrestling is an individual sport, no matter how others would want to portray it (although if you win your team gets points). Now that this diatribe (which it might be to some) is about over, I will summarize as follows: Do not watch the movie if you don't care about seeing an exceptionally good story about high school wrestling, you won't like it!
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A coming-of-age plot that works due to chemistry & dialogue.
Heiwa25 December 2000
This isn't a movie about wrestling, it's a movie about a young 18-year-old wrestler trying to find his place in the world.

Louden Swayne (Matthew Modine) decides last minute to switch weight classes in order to be able to take on the best wrestler in the state, but his half-American Indian friend tells Louden that he's on a vision quest, trying to find his purpose in life, to "find the answers", even if he doesn't know the questions. The vision quest theme is not flushed out that well, but it's certainly a better title than "Crazy For You", which makes this movie seem like nothing more than a sappy romance flick.

His path crosses with Carla, a struggling artist (Linda Fiorentino) who gets stranded in Spokane, WA due to her lemon car; she ends up staying with Lauden and his father. Fiorentino gets all the good lines in this script, with Modine stuck playing the naive, hormonal teenager his character is for most of the movie.

Their relationship begins as a fraternal one -- she even declares him a "stepbrother" at one point, to his eternal dismay; he's already fallen in love with her.

At his job filling room service orders at a hotel, Lauden becomes good friends with the short-order cook, Elmo (J.C. Quinn), and the two have unusual conversations which serve to fill in Lauden's character without being too boring or overtly expositional.

Surprisingly good acting from Fiorentino and Quinn (especially during his Pele speech near the end), some snappy dialogue and a quick cameo from Madonna all lead to a movie that is easy to watch, with characters easy to like and to care about. Just remember -- no matter what anyone else says, it's not a wrestling movie.
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Wrestling Is More Than A Sport...
possumopossum17 February 2007
...It's a way of life. Anyone who has ever wrestled, as I have, has learned lessons that stick with them for the rest of their lives. Even those who never make it to a tournament, or who don't get past being an "exhibition" wrestler learns these lessons. More than any other sport, wrestling teaches valuable lessons about self reliance, self determination, self confidence, and to get through life without making excuses for failure. It also teaches about setting lofty goals and not giving up when things go wrong, about what it takes to succeed in any station in life. This movie conveys these lessons well. Many folks who say this is a typical eighties movie should also know that the lessons it teaches are timeless, no matter what time period is depicted here. It could easily have been set in the fifties, sixties, nineties, right up to the present day and still say what it has to say. It's really a shame that real wrestling hasn't caught on too well in this country because it has some valuable life lessons to teach for those who become involved with it. Because when it gets right down to it, life is one big wrestling match. That is the theme of the movie, and it dramatized it very well.
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Decent effort doesn't quite score a pinfall
Dave Kavanaugh20 November 1999
A slightly different spin on the traditional Underdog Athlete Overcomes the Odds storyline, Vision Quest is a decent film for most viewers (for those who have actually endured the challenges of the collegiate wrestling world, the movie is practically required viewing!). Modine and Fiorentino, who went on to better-known films such as Equinox and Jade, respectively, are solid if unspectacular in roles as a high school wrestler and the world-weary object of his desires. Among the other notables who appear in the movie: a young Forrest Whitaker, James Gammon, Michael Schoeffling (Sixteen Candles), and Madonna, who contributed "Crazy For You" and "Gambler" to an underrated soundtrack. The wrestling sequences are gritty and realistic, as are the frequent portrayals of training. But the screenplay's dialogue is often choppy and does little to develop the potentially interesting characters. Subplots are hinted at but are not followed through with. And there is a lack of smooth transition between sequences. Still, Vision Quest is watchable and worthwhile as a rental (if you are a wrestler, this is especially true).
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classic eighties movie
james_horatio12 June 2004
We used to watch this before big games. I especially like the Ronnie James Dio / Don Henley / Madonna soundtrack.

whatever happened to shute??? I hate wrestling but this is a classic underdog story.

Linda Fiorentino says she really likes 'big hands'. Hilarious. The wrestler character here is only about 100 times more believable than the Emilio Estevez character in Breakfast Club. Linda Fiorentino has great 80's hair in this film. The scenes with him climbing up the peg wall are the best non-Shute scenes by far. This picture has really solid naturalistic dialogue.
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Unrealistic. But inspirational. Possible spoilers enclosed. I'll know when I get there.
jaydoubleu6 April 2003
Warning: Spoilers
From the winter of 1989 until the Spring of 1993, I was a high school wrestler. During that time period, I watched Vision Quest so many times that I wore out my taped copy of it. Recently I saw the DVD on sale for $7.99 at Best Buy (blatant plug for Best Buy?) and I said what the hey.

I suppose with ten years more wisdom behind me, it allowed me to watch the movie with a more critical eye. And allowed me to see how untrue to life the movie really was. Granted, it's not Saved By the Bell fake. You know, where Slater eats a pre-weigh in cheeseburger and proceeds to pound a supposedly tough opponet in ten seconds while wearing no headgear and Vans. If it wanted to be more realistic, the story would go more like this.

* Four days before the match, Lowden Swain checks in at 180 pounds. He then proceeds to go get five sweatshirts and a garbage bag, which will make up his outfit for the next couple of days. All eating will stop from here on out.

* Three days before the match. Lowden is probably down to about 177 lbs at this time. That's a good start, but not enough. Lowden proceeds to mess with the wrestling room thermostat, cranking it up as high as it can go. The end result with 40 other guys sweating in the room is a temperature slightly higher than a June Day in Saudi Arabia.

* Two days before the match. Lowden is at 172 pounds. But oops, he had a bite of post-coital pizza. He's now back at 174 pounds. It's your own fault for messing up your metabolism so badly Louden.

*One day before the match. Lowden works back to about 170 lbs. From now on, he won't be allowed any liquid or food. With the exception of Jolly Ranchers, which he'll use to generate saliva that he can spit out.

*Day of the match. The bottle Lowden has been hocking into is now nearly full with Jolly Rancher spit. He's still half a pound over, so he stands on his head for a half hour or so while spitting. It's time for weigh ins. Louden, you're over. What were you thinking wearing a T-Shirt to weigh ins? Take it all off and try again. After you make it, you can eat that deli sandwich you've been saving. Kick Kuch's ass, and coach may even take you out to Sizzler afterwards so you can get a week's worth of calories back in your system. But be ready, on Monday the pain starts again.

This would probably be a pretty horrible movie though, and what Lowden does to cut weight really isn't the most important part of the script. Elmo points out what this movie is about, "It's not six minutes, it's what happens in the six minutes." Which is part of it, but not all of it. As my old wrestling coach pointed out incesantly, if you believe in something hard enough and are willing to work for it you can make anything happen. I'm quite sure if they ever make Vision Quest II, Lowden Swain will be a Doctor in Outer Space.

Anyway, after watching Vision Quest for the million and first time, I proceeded to get off my butt and run three miles. It's been ten years since I last donned a singlet and headgear. But that doesn't mean there aren't other things out there for me to conquer.
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Another one of those "growing up" movies...
moviedude15 January 2004
Modine is a high school wrestler who's just turned 18 and is in so much of a hurry to grow up. In the first 45 minutes of the movie, he's chosen 3 or 4 different careers. (Ah! To be young, again!) The movie follows all the basic plot lines concerning coming of age that does stand the test of time, because, even though this movie is almost 20 years old, a lot of the kids today can relate to it.

Along the way, Modine's father (Cox) has lost his job, Modine decides to move down, not just one, but two, weight classes to take on the best wrestler in the state, and a very pretty Jersey girl (Fiorentino) shows up on his doorstep to take up all his spare "thinking" time.

This is really not a bad movie. It examines some of what goes on in someone's head when they get in the frame of mind that they want something that just about everyone else feels is unattainable for them. Modine does a very good job in bringing the character of Louden to believability, and the surrounding cast puts in a good effort as well. It is a better-than-average teen flick movie, but not much (but I think it's only because I haven't been a teen ager in so long, myself).

6 out of 10...
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An uplifting movie, reliving your high school day's!!!!
Supernova90026 April 2004
A great movie from start to finish.The sound tract was also fantastic, Journey, John Waite, Madonna. I've seen this movie a couple time's and I think it is great. To relive your teen year's and I think they do a good job taking you back to those day's. I give it an 8 of 10. When you was young all you had was your friends and dreams. All young men had a girl they dreamed of. So many of today's movies are about the rich and their toys, which the majority of us did not have when we were growing up. It's a realistic movie that generates passion and desire.I recommend it to those who like a a good movie to lift their spirits. If your fan's of these actors you will enjoy this film.
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I´m crazy for this movie !
nana18_33 June 2003
The first time I watched this film I was ill in bed so I finally fell sleep.The day after I was very angry because I really wanted to see this movie and also I wanted to hear Madonna singing crazy for you.One year after I could watch this film with no problems at all. I just fell in love with Matthew Modine in his role of Louden Swain and , althought her appearance was very small, Daphne Zuniga was so funny in the role of a student that thinks that everything that Louden does is wonderfull.
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Waste of a great book
mingo-26 September 2000
This movie takes a great book about a real human relationship, and turns it into Porkys. In the book, Louden's motivation is not just to loose his virginity. In fact I don't recall that it was mentioned if he WAS a virgin or not. But this bit of teenaged fluff took out the parts were he treats the female lead like a human being.
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Finally Weighing In
gregstinesinop23 May 2007
It's now 2007 and this movie came out 22 years ago... I'm old and still love the soundtrack! For any high schooler that is interested in the sport of wrestling, watch this movie. It shows how a young man can set goals in a sport (And Life) and achieve them.

I started wrestling late in my high school career just like Louden Swain. After moving back to my home town and being known as a total inept nerd, my goal was to make the varsity team and then after doing that the State tournament. It happened. This movie and all those peers from my high school inspired me to do it. I will never forget that winter of 1992 when I made it to fabled Gallagher-Iba arena. Man that's a great memory.

If you're a wrestler and need some motivation watch this movie!
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68 Dodge Flatbed For Sale
msmmole8 February 2006
We have the truck that was used in the movie and are wanting to sell it please contact me at if interested in making an offer.It is in good shape with few modifications and would be fun to have as a piece of memorabilia from the movie or as a farm or work truck. I don't have anymore info as the late father of my boyfriend purchased the truck after the movie and has since died and we bought it from his business. to quote "This is really not a bad movie. It examines some of what goes on in someone's head when they get in the frame of mind that they want something that just about everyone else feels is unattainable for them. Modine does a very good job in bringing the character of Louden to believability, and the surrounding cast puts in a good effort as well. It is a better-than-average teen flick movie, but not much (but I think it's only because I haven't been a teen ager in so long, myself)."
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One of my all-time favorites
keilj26 January 2003
This movie is a skilled and human look at a young man's life. It offers inspiration, triumph, and realism. The power of this movie is its realistic feel and its all-American music. It presents many of the struggles that a young man faces in his high school years, and presents them in down-to-earth terms. Louden has to tackle issues that accompany the maturity to adulthood, including his internal goals, his limitations, and his loyalties. The fact that this film is set in the Midwest comes through on screen. The teen years are a time of decision and this film depicts that with triumph.
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a young man comes of age
sinapu6611 July 1999
After "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid", probably my favorite movie of all time. This movie was released a year after I graduated high school and immediately became a favorite as I found myself drawn to the "quest". Although some faults can be found with the movie, it hits home in a lot of different areas.

As a high school wrestler, I could relate to the struggle to "make weight". And what teen-aged male wouldn't kill to have Linda Fiorintino's character, Carla, stuck in town and forced to live under the same roof? Throw in a great soundtrack, and you've got a great coming of age story.

Louden's vision quest, achieving excellence by dethroning the reigning wrestling champ, is clouded by the arrival of Carla. Louden must struggle to lose the weight, maintain his grades, and deal with his infatuation for the older Carla.

Again, the movie has some flaws, and the storyline isn't original (think Rocky, Karate Kid, et al), but the acting is great and young athletes, particularly wrestlers, will find themselves cheering for Louden and his Vision Quest(s) .
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The High School Wrestlers Bible
truthfromabove24 December 2011
From middle school to high, i watched this movie at least 4 times each wrestling and freestyle season. This movie depicts the weight cutting, inner team competitiveness, and young athlete determination of high school. But at the same time, it shows a young man juggling a job and "womanly needs". Shute is probably the coolest "villain" of all sport movies, and his scene with the pole and bleacher walk makes every schoolboy thank god they never wrestled him. Louden is your unlikely hero, but its realistic when you grow with him and watch him work for it. The acting in this movie is nothing to marvel at, but it does not hold or distract you from a great story. Even though i rated this movie a 7, it is one of my favorites, and is a true hidden gem.
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Awesome movie with an awesome soundtrack
rpizek31 December 2009
This is such a classic movie! This of yourself as the guy who always wants to get down to that weight where you can go against the guy they all say would crush you. I wish they made more movies like this now a days! This gives such inspiration to people who want to reach that goal of wanting to beat out your opponent. Matthew Modine was awesome in this movie and it made me want to get up and go running in a silver sweat suit. It was cool to see some characters from other classic 80's movies in it as well. You get a little sports and a hot chic and you have yourself an awesome 80's teen movie! I thought this movie was so good and a must see if you haven't already.
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Likable '80s Flick
james-obeirne15 July 2008
Don't let the title, or the fact that this movie is about wrestling, deter you as it almost did me. Vision Quest is not a campy sci-fi flick, nor is it about a sweaty muscle head frolicking around in a leotard to Cyndi Lauper; it's an entertaining tale with hints of the irreplaceable 1980's luster that most of the great films from that era provide.

Louden Swain is sort of a goofy character, but he's authentic and ironclad. Louden drives through the experiences of youth with all the wonder and ferocity anyone could hope for. A combination of solid writing and acting render him a palpable character who's easy to empathize with. The northwestern city atmosphere helps.

Linda Fiorentino puts out a relatively deep character, and her looks don't hurt anything. There are some good performances elsewhere; happily, there really aren't many two dimensional characters to speak of.

Initially, the movie feels a little kitsch, but if you stick with it, you'll find it's more about coming of age and romance than sports. Not really a mind-blowing script or anything too memorable, but not at all a bad way to blow ninety minutes.
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It's not just about a wrestling match...
gator_bravo27 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This is a very good, uplifting movie... Louden Swain isn't just a high school wrestler, he's wrestling with his entire life... This movie is about setting AND reaching personal goals...

Hollywood didn't make this out to be some make believe deal... Louden's life, struggles and goals are all actually doable... Watch this movie and look at life through the eyes of an 18 year old, that isn't afraid to hope, to dream... This movie motivates me... This movie makes me feel good, that there are people in this world like Louden...

If any of you rent this after reading my post and don't agree, I'll email you a check for your rental fee...
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Great Spokane scenes
gd0933526 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Besides the accurate HS wrestling theme, what I enjoyed most all the location shots in and around Spokane, WA. Especially the Spokane Falls scenes and the Ridpath Hotel interior shots and the club where Madonna sings. Who would have thought- Madonna's first movie appearance was in Spokane! I ran cross country and a lot of the wrestlers at my high school ran cross country to condition for wrestling. They all had a inflated sense of themselves and were a little nuts but we had a lot of fun! I still remember little 5', 98lb Jimmy Tsurita climbing up and down the gym ropes in pike position 10 times in a row just to show he could! Or him being determined to be the last one to quit running wind sprints up and down the 50m sand hill. Yet he couldn't place in the top 10 of the 2 1/2 mile cross country meets to save his life! But he would always go to district in his weight class for wrestling.
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Powerful to anyone who has wrestled
weirdo_man18 August 2006
The night before sectionals in high school wrestling, my team would go to the coaches' house and watch this movie. This movie embodies what wrestlers go through.

While it might be a bit extreme, it's very difficult to describe to someone who hasn't wrestled what high school wrestling is like. The training and effort required is much more extensive than any other sport, and it is physically and mentally grueling.

This movie holds a special place in me because I did wrestle in high school, and hopefully, it can help show people who haven't wrestled how important wrestling is to those who do wrestle.
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Nosebleeds, Sweatpants and an Awful Film
MySportsComplex4 March 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This film, which features Madonna about the time she hit it big, stands as the only major studio work about high school or collegiate style wrestling. The film tells the story of Louden Swain, a high school senior who has been wrestling for barely two years. Because of his "balance" and natural gifts, he's already a state champion and the best in his weight class. But that's not enough. The tall and lanky wrestler, played by Matthew Modine, decides that the path to glory is to starve and sweat himself down two weight classes so that he can challenge the unbeatable 3-time state champion, Brian Shute. Shute trains by walking up and down stadium bleachers holding an 18 inch wooden telephone pole.

For Swain, making weight is a long and arduous process, consisting of constant running and frequent nosebleeds. Swain's sanity and competence are questioned by everyone else in his drab suburb of Spokane, WA. Meanwhile his only inspirations come from a beautiful, feisty 20-something wild flower named Carla, played by Linda Fiorentino, who drifts into town and bunks with Swain and his dad for a while.

All in all there are a lot of problems with this film. First off, the writers have little understanding of Wrestling as a sport. Matches end for no reason and scoring is inconsistent. In one scene, the home team forfeits the match simply because the away team has taken the lead, meaning the last couple wrestlers forgo their matches. Anyone who knows Wrestling remotely knows that this doesn't happen. Imagine your hometown baseball team is down 10-0 in the 3rd Inning. Even the Cubs would finish that game.

Also, like with Chess, champions in Wrestling are never made in a matter of two seasons. But inaccuracy and uninformed fantasy aside, there's more.

When not starving himself and risking his health to reach his goal, our "hero" is babbling on about virtues and character. Yet in one scene he tries to force himself sexually on his house guest/love, Carla, before she punches him in the face (prompting nosebleeds, again), only to have it brushed under the rug when she shows up to cheer him on at his wrestling meet.

In the end, boy wins girl, boy beats the unbeatable champion, and returns to high school and a normal diet. But Vision Quest will leave you and anyone who's not an anorexic, nerdy, sexually deviant excuse for an athlete wondering what the hell you've just watched for two hours.

But social issues and hang-ups aside, Vision Quest is just a bad, bad film.

written by Andy Frye,
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