Written by: Carroll Jenkins on October 18th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1983
Director: John Sayles
Writer: John Sayles
Cast: Rosanna Arquette, Vincent Spano, Joanna Merlin, Jack Davidson, Nick Ferrari
DVD released: July 1st, 2008
Approximate running time: 105 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Legend Films/Paramount Pictures
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $14.95
Synopsis: A spoiled Jewish girl in high school circa 1966 catches the eye of an Italian greaser. Perhaps the differences in personality, education, and cultural background are part of the mutual attraction. But can the romance endure as the characters mature?
Director John Sales takes the well-worn story of a doomed romance and imbues it with a life all it’s own. It contains episodic slice-of-life episodes (like American Graffiti) and raunchy comedic scenes (like Last American Virgin). This illustrates a dual strength and weakness of the film, a schizophrenic quality which manifests itself in glaring 80’s inconsistencies with the mostly well presented sixties setting. Even the soundtrack includes great period pieces like Wooly Bully and Surfin’ Bird mixed in with Bruce Springsteen tracks.
The performance of Rosanna Arquette in her first starring role is absolutely stunning. Her character and performance is compelling from beginning to end. Victor Spano, who played an uncouth juvenile delinquent in Over The Edge, here plays an uncouth young hoodlum. The film begins in the senior year of high school in Trenton, New Jersey with a full roster of friends and acquaintances for both Jill and Shiek. Following graduation, Jill attends an exclusive women’s college, which introduces a whole new cast of characters. Throughout the film the supporting characters are excellent and portrayed with pathos and humor. There are numerous bit parts as well including Matthew Modine (Full Metal Jacket) and Frank Vincent (“The Sopranos”).
The presentation is interlaced and in anamorphic 1:78 rather than the OAR of 1:85. According to the credits, the Bruce Springsteen songs are performed by Bruce Springsteen, which alleviates a problem present with prior home video incarnations. No subtitles are provided, but close captions are included.
This is an engrossing romantic drama that boasts excellent performances, great locations, and features many name performers in the dawn of their careers. Recommended.