film reel image

film reel image

Monday, May 13, 2024

Across the Tracks 1990 * * * 1/2 Stars


Projecting itself as a sort of Vision Quest for the track world, where Brad Pitt is a more agitated Louden Swain, Garon Grigsby is a more kinder Brian Shute, and Carrie Snoggress is the female version of Larry Swain, 1990's Across the Tracks is a heavy-handed drama set in the more seedy areas of good old Shaker Town (that would be Los Angeles, CA). "No you will never be better than me at anything". You tell 'em Brad. Hey watch the Brad run like the wind. Run Pitt-ster run!

Directed by an unknown (Sandy Tung) and featuring track and field, dolly shots that are just fancy enough to suffice, Across the Tracks has Joe Maloney (Pitt) and Billy Maloney (played by Rick Schroder) as brothers/middle distance runners who compete against each other via rival high schools. Joe is the good bro, the firstborn, the dude trying to keep the whole household together. Billy is the troublemaker, the black sheep if you will, a guy trying to turn his life around after he realizes he has mad skills in the half-mile. Both are very different from each other and their brotherly love (and loyalties) get blurred through the other's drug use, theft, and veritable peer pressure. "Then how come I'm running the race today Joe?" Ah the irony. 

Never released in theaters (or maybe it was) and distributed by California Pictures (makes sense), Across the Tracks doesn't overwhelm you from a sports aspect. Nah, it would rather concentrate on family emotions and coming-of-age, character-driven slants, making the film the most heightened, rough around the edges Afternoon Special that's not an actual Afternoon Special. Pitt and Schroder, well they give raw, disciplined performances and after this flick Brad Pitt ascended to A-list stardom while Rick Schroder became um, Costco boy. Oh well. The presence of these two on screen will still be forever frozen in time. "Across" this board.  

Written by Jesse Burleson 

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