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Friday, May 10, 2024

Vision Quest 1985 * * * Stars


My latest review titled Vision Quest, is based on a novel of the same name. For every single-leg takedown there's a tender moment between a high school athlete and his older, would-be girlfriend. For every Spokane, Washington locale there's a song by Madonna and/or Journey that blasts through the small speakers of your shiny flat-screen. "Quest", well it was something of an enigma back in the middle of the "Greed decade", for reals. Containing no known stars, groggy landscapes, and a single, meaningless climatic dual meet, Vision Quest is the little flick that could. "It's gonna happen coach, it's bigger than both of us". Indeed.

Directed by Harold Becker, a guy known for helming anything but the funny (remember The Onion Field and Taps?), "Quest" gives us the story of Louden Swain (Matthew Modine), a top-notch wrestler who attempts to drop 20 pounds (and two weight classes) in order to go head-to-head with the best in the state, Brian Shute (played by butch-meister Frank Jasper). Swain also along with his father, takes in a striking, female drifter named Carla (Linda Fiorentino) who he tries to get with romantically possibly blurring the lines of his ultimate, grappling goal. 

Vision Quest, yeah it's 80s machismo and 80s coming-of-age, a real sweat-hog of a movie. You can smell the lather of the wrestling mats, you can feel the destitute of the main characters, and you can hear the ripe soundtrack that's almost bigger than the film itself (it sold 1 million copies, no joke). Helmer Becker, well he doesn't just give you a poster child vehicle for the sport of arm drags, pancakes, and fireman's carries. No-no no he adds some romantic drama as well, fashioning what might be the second installment in the imagined trilogy of 1983's All the Right Moves. Double "vision".  

Written by Jesse Burleson

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