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Sensitive study of a headstrong high school football star who dreams of getting out of his small Western Pennsylvania steel town with a football scholarship. His equally ambitious coach aims at a college position, resulting in a clash which could crush the player's dreams.Written by
Jerry Milani <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sports movies are often stuck in the same old clichéd formula, but more often than not, they work. To All the Right Moves credit, it doesn't follow that winning formula, but it also doesn't necessarily create its own well-strung story.
In one of his first acting roles, Tom Cruise stars alongside Craig T. Nelson and Lea Thompson as his coach and girlfriend respectively. If for nothing else, this film is worth a watch just for those performances alone. Cruise and Thompson prove to be fearless in their risqué high school roles, and Nelson plays a great antagonist and obstacle for Cruise's 'Stefen' character. I can't speak too highly on the film itself, but those performances are certainly worth 90 minutes of your time.
The biggest issue with All the Right Moves is that it actually tries to make too many 'moves' with its story, pun intended. It doesn't really know what it wants to be. On one hand, it's a nice coming of age story with Thompson and Cruise. The next it's an intense football drama between two schools. Or even a film that tackles the heavy themes of class struggle and sexuality, just to name a few. There's just no real focus here. The minute you start to get invested with what Nelson's team is doing, led by Cruise among others, it changes its course to another plot point entirely. I appreciate the film's intentions, it just didn't hit home the ideas that it set out to, and it suffers because of that.
What I can say is that this film was probably more of a product of its time. The soundtrack is blatantly filled with slow and smooth 80's tracks that can be distracting. The sound editing as a whole is pretty poor. The football sequences are borderline amateur. And some of the plot points have been done much better in more recent years. Sure, that's not the film's fault, but it does hinder its re-watchability to an extent. It's fun to watch a young Cruise and Thompson share great chemistry, but there's not a lot beneath that.
+Cruise shows promise
+Attempts to explore deep themes
-But fails at most of them
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