All The Right Moves [DVD]
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If Stef wants to escape a dying mill town, he must gain a sports scholarship which he can't afford to lose and therefore, he must make all the right moves.
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Stefan Djordevic lives in a nameless Pennsylvania town where two things seem to dominate life there. There's the huge grinding steelworks which employs the majority of the population and the high school football team, which for the players at least seems to offer a way out of this bleak town. Stef knows with some good performances in the few remaining games of the football season he should be offered a football scholarship to a good university where he can not only play football, but study engineering which is his main dream. This idea of escape seems to be shared by Stef's girlfriend Lisa Litski (Lea Thompson) who having her own dream of making music scholarship rails at the idea that the more academically challenged "jocks" will make it to university on the back of their sporting skills whilst she realises a life working in the convenience store of her hometown probably awaits.
Someone else who sees the rest of his life away from the high school is the football coach Nickerson (Craig T. Nelson) who imagines a career coaching a college team somewhere else. When after loosing the all important game against their local rivals Stef accuses Nickerson of being a quitter, Nickerson drops Stef from the team and scuppers his chances of a scholarship. To make matters worse Stef then takes part in some mindless vandalism of the coach's house which would seem to give the coach the green light to "black ball" Stef to every college he knows.
The film looks at all these happenings with the intensity and importance that only the young can give to these situations. There's part of me that simply doesn't believe that the nigh on abusive coaching methods employed on such young people actually goes on in high schools, but no doubt to those that are playing it seems every bit as extreme. Likewise the way the Stef comes to terms with the other problems in his life are seen through the eyes of a teenager, so for example, when one of the team is arrested for armed robbery, the players and their girlfriends raise a toast to him in his absence at their next party, when surely a more rounded attitude would be to think of the consequences this criminal's activities could have had on the people he stole from. But who ever claims that the views of the young were rounded.
In this sense the film is very good because is selfishly concentrates on Stef's issues. The film introduces a few other strands of plot, Lisa's college dreams and the pregnancy issue that Stef's best friend his girl find themselves in but we never really get any closure on these, and in many ways I guess this is like a typical teenager's attitude that the world revolves around them.
The film has a very gritty and murky feel to it, there's much use of damp and muddy fields and the steaming machinery of the steel works to prove how tough life is and how important the dreams of escape are. For all the awful 80's fashions and the cheesey 80's soundtrack this film could be enjoyed by teens today as it was when it was released.
The film itself is nothing to brag about. A High School football film again. Stef is a promising football player who could easily get a football scholarship in any college or nearly, if he could finish his senior year on the football team and even take the team to a victory.
He does not because he makes a mistake he had been warned about several times on the last game he plays (the last but one of the season). In fact his team loses the game because he attacks a player who had the ball after he had passed the ball away. He was attacking the man instead of following the ball. Penalty and the game is lost.
The coach is furious of course after the game but Stef is aggressive and in fact attacks the coach and makes him responsible. From this point to the catastrophe there was only one step and Stef crossed it. He is dropped from the team. Then he has to walk home, quite a good distance. So he thumbs a lift and is picked by a band of loafers from his city who decide to go spoil and soil the home of the coach and his cars. They manage to get Stef along and he is considered as responsible for it.
He is dropped from all prospective colleges. Since he is from a steel industry city in Pennsylvania, he has no future except working at the mill.
The film is supposed to teach us a lesson, just the way it does to Stef: apologize and forgive, but that's hard when you were wrong in the first place, though it is also hard when you get even with someone who is wrong by being wrong yourself, i.e. not forgiving and/or not apologizing. At the same time apologizing and forgiving may become a sort of encouragement to other people to go on being obnoxious.
Life at times cannot go without some strife and tension and people have to learn to step over it and just put it behind. But fear comes back into the picture. When you are afraid of life you tend to look back behind yourself and then you cannot put the past behind. If you try too hard it might backfire, at least in your dreams.
The myth in the film is that such strife and tension is typically masculine and it takes women to soften the situation: supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and the medicine goes down. Really? I am sure I will trip my foot in the carpet if I tried that magic potion.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
This is deffently worth watching but i wouldnt rush out to but it
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