It’s as heavy-handed as someone trying to text with boxing gloves, the script could have been a lot better given the source material, and it really drags in parts, but nevertheless, if you are of a certain age, there is no way you cannot like this movie. Coppola was such a huge talent–it’s incredible, mind-blowing, even, to think that this is the last truly great film he ever directed.
The real story of this story, however, is the number of careers it launched. Francis and his casting director reeled in enough young talent to fill a “short bus.”
In the display case of Posterity, Ralph Macchio is pinned down forever in the elegant pose of The Crane, but he does a decent enough job playing a dirty-faced wastrel here. Still, let’s face it, he’s the Karate Kid now and forever, everything else he’s done is irrelevant.
Patrick Swayze prowls around the Curtis household like an agitated panther, and on rumble night gets to show off the physical skills he’d later use to great effect as Johnny Castle, executing a nice half turn handstand and dismount off the top of a chain link fence with the ease of someone tying their damn shoe.
I remember re-watching this not long ago and thinking C. Thomas Howell is fourteen? Could’ve fooled me, he looks like he should be hanging out with the college-aged crazies of Less Than Zero. Except that the joke was on me because he was fourteen when they filmed it. No wonder I never win a plush animal at the “Guess My Age” booth at the county fair!
Emilio Estavez brings such awe-inspiring levels of EKG-flatlining stupidity to his role you’d swear he was channeling his half-brother Charlie.
As a real life drug-addicted jerk-off playing a drunk preppy asshole, it’s not surprising that Leif Garret nails his role so well that when he gives his life for the Soc cause you want to not only cheer but stroll over and give his madras-draped carcass a kick or two.
“DO IT FOR JOHNNY, MAN!!!!” Matt Dillon and only Matt Dillon could get away with a line reading like that, punctuating things even further by stabbing a big hole in a perfectly good hospital bed for good measure. The truth is, he does well enough in this movie that when the Tulsa cops lay waste to him, you really do feel sad.
Rob Lowe looks just like Ash from Pokemon in this!
Last but not least, this movie provides a rare (and perhaps only) opportunity to see Tom Cruise bare his natural born choppers on the big screen. The effect is staggering–he looks like some Okie Nosferatu. No surprise that he took his check from this film and fixed that shit up real quick!
Oh, yeah, I almost forgot–my God, Diane Lane looks too beautiful in this film to even look at, let alone speak to. I mean, really, where did those greasers get the nerve!
The only thing missing is a James Spader cameo–can’t you just picture him playing the older brother of one of the Socs, arriving right before the rumble starts, having driven all the way up from SMU in his Lancia Fulvia for the sole purpose of making some sneering remarks at Darry and crew? He would never actually fight, of course, but observe the proceedings whilst slouching against the fender of his car puffing on a Dunhill.
Even without that, The Outsiders is a movie worth seeing!