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In the final few days of Pop's Paradise - a hamburger joint that's been a second home to Westwood High's senior class - and a group of friends must face the biggest decisions of their lives. There's Stick, a surfer headed for Vietnam, Pirate, who wants to discover America along Route 66, and Michael, whose political activism may destroy his Harvard-bound future. Little do any of them realize that their final carefree days will also mark the end of their - and all of America's - innocence.Written by
The seniors of Westwood High in Palm Springs, California are headed into the unknown. It's last day of summer school 1965. Pop's, the local hangout burger joint, is getting demolished for a new mall. Stick (Ricky Schroder) is a surfer heading for Vietnam. Pirate (Dermot Mulroney) wants to find America driving Route 66. Finnegan (Noah Wyle) is Harvard-bound political rebel and forced to take summer school as suspension from the dictatorial principal. Mary Beth (Lucy Deakins) has a crush on him and narrates the movie as an adult. She wants to go to Berkley but her parents insists on the less radical UCLA. Calvin works at Pop's and is the only negro in school. He would often visit his grandmother in Watts and then it explodes in riot. Finnegan is going out with rich girl Tracy. Pirate's girlfriend and Mary Beth's best friend Sunshine (Kelli Williams) discovers that she's pregnant. Babette is desperate to make it as a performer.
This is an overflow of '65 standard stories. The Watts Riot is literary a small chapter in this epic wannabe. It's trying to do too much. It's full of the expected characters. Stick's breakdown is the most surprising scene. The actors are solid but the movie doesn't have a cinematic feel. Floyd Mutrux has no cinematic sensibility and it has the look of a big TV movie.
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