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Strays (1997)

R | | Drama | 18 January 1997 (USA)
A macho cruiser comes of age. Frustrated by the repetitious grind of one night stands and aimless hustling, study drug dealer Rick is looking for meaning and intimacy in his life. Like his ... See full summary »

Director:

Vin Diesel

Writer:

Vin Diesel
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Vin Diesel ... Rick
Joey Dedio ... Fred
T.K. Kirkland T.K. Kirkland ... Rodney
Mike Epps ... Mike
F. Valentino Morales ... Tony
Suzanne Lanza Suzanne Lanza ... Heather
Darnell Williams Darnell Williams ... Keith
Mihaela Kolich Mihaela Kolich ... Danielle (as Mihaela Tudorof)
Eugene Osborne Smith Eugene Osborne Smith ... Willie
Temple Brooks Temple Brooks ... Amy
Loni Sabrina Stuart Loni Sabrina Stuart ... Nicole
DeAngela Parrish DeAngela Parrish ... Suzanne
Marko Kalfa Marko Kalfa ... Chris
Joey Iovino Joey Iovino ... Kenny
Louis Albert Von Steidl Louis Albert Von Steidl ... Jerry Saperstein
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Storyline

A macho cruiser comes of age. Frustrated by the repetitious grind of one night stands and aimless hustling, study drug dealer Rick is looking for meaning and intimacy in his life. Like his testosterone-tweaked buddies, Rick is a "stray" # lacking a traditional family structure and wrestling subconsciously with the psychological bruises inflicted by his father's absence. Shielding any vulnerability under the toughened cloak of detachment, Rich has administered his life with deliberate effort to avoid reliance on anyone or anything. But things are about to change. When Rick meets Heather, a corn-fed walking talking "girl next door," he suddenly perceives a new avenue and an opportunity for an open, committed relationship. Though the chemistry between the couple is immediately charged, Rick's street cheek and volatile aggression flare, threatening to extinguish their relationship before it begins. Trying to assimilate into Heather's world, Rick takes heat from his perpetually adolescent ... Written by Rebecca Yeldham

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong language, some sexual content and drug material | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 January 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Instinto Assassino See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

One Race Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Strays (1997) is' Vin Diesel's directorial, writing, producing and lead acting debut. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Heather: Are you alright?
Rick: Are your parents still together?
Heather: Yeah, why?
Rick: My mother used to see this guy, Frank. He's was an illustrator, not that he had done anything. But he used to bring me these books, children's books, as gifts. He eventually uh, left my mom - most of them did. Anyway, he bought me this, this one book, and it was the only book that I begged my mom to read to me. It was called Ferdinand, Ferdinand the Bull. And he wrote on the inside, To a very special kid. And then, Life's...
See more »

Crazy Credits

On the DVD release, the end credits feature an MMVII (2007) copyright date, which reflects the date the DVD was published. See more »

Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Vin Diesel Moments (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Come To You
Written by Shani Rigsbee
Performed by Shani Rigsbee
Publishing by Cherokee Charm Music (ASCAP)
Courtesy of Cherokee Music Group
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Another great movie with unexpected depth that practically no one will see.
21 January 2008 | by ucanusemySee all my reviews

Vin Diesel. He can write, he can direct, and he can act. The movie is a macho man version of a chick flick, and he and a great supporting cast (Joey Dedio in particular) completely pull it off.

Do yourself a favor and read the children's book "The Story of Ferdinand" before you see this movie. It will take all of 5 minutes.

Rick, the main character, has a huge drawing of Ferdinand on the wall of his Bank St. apartment, and the book has had a significant impact on his life (besides the fact that an illustrated bull has been just about the only male role model he has ever had). If you don't know the story, you won't see the (rather obvious) parallels between Ferdinand and Rick, such as: what you look like on the outside doesn't always translate into what you are like on the inside, "life is a matador" and we all know what happens to the bull if he takes the bait and fights, just because you are a bull doesn't mean you have to act like one, and if you make the right choices and stay true to yourself, you can survive and ultimately be happy.

The dialogue between Rick and his posse rings so true that it comes across as unscripted. It's completely natural, as is the acting. The cast genuinely makes you forget that you are watching a movie. Some of the uncensored conversations his friends have amongst themselves are downright hilarious and truthful at the same time. I was genuinely surprised to learn that some of the male cast members had not known each other before auditioning for this movie. The bond between them came across as genuine.

Stereotypes abound, but each and every one is someone most people can relate to knowing or having known. The acting is so good that you forget they are indeed acting and begin to wonder exactly how much of this was drawn from real experiences and conversations. Rick is hot, broke, street-smart and sought after by women who think that getting him into their body will somehow get them into his heart in return. The only problem is that Rick has begun to mature and change, and he is gradually becoming aware of the fact that his life has no real meaning. He has taken care of his body but not his spirit. He desperately wants to show who he really is on the inside, and watching him take each uncertain step towards that goal is poignant.

The blank looks that two of Rick's friend's (Joey Dedio and Valentino Morales) give him when he explodes after hearing them laugh over something truly reprehensible that one has done to his girl, and the pivotal self-realization that Rick experiences as a result of witnessing the callous and clueless responses of his friends is painful to watch, as it should be. Rick, while gradually introspective, is clearly not fully prepared for the regrets and emotional upheaval that true self-examination brings.

Watching Rick make choices that go against everything he (and his life so far) have conditioned him into believing are all that matters combined with the realization that he truly is all on his own, is touching without being sappy. The true extent of his vulnerability becomes apparent in a scene where one of his friends brings up a conversation he and his mother had about Rick. Rick's eyes and face express just how troubled he is over an unresolved situation with his own mother, and it becomes clear to him how this has immobilized him in other areas of his life. He conveys all of this without speaking a single word.

Watching Vin Diesel emote is something most people aren't used to, but he does do it well. Witnessing Rick slowly but surely allow himself to become increasingly emotionally vulnerable and hopeful of the possibilities that may result from doing so, even with an unsure outcome, is moving.

The movie's low budget works entirely in its favor as far as realism goes. Shot entirely on location, everything from Rick's apartment with the bathroom in the hallway to the street scenes around the Bank/11th/Hudson/Bleeker area along with all the West Village locations is a real visual treat. It's Rick's life, and not all prettied up Hollywood style. Rick is a small-time drug dealer, and he doesn't have an unrealistic seven grand a month "Friends" style apartment. Everything on-screen is authentic and real.

I loved it.


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