Review by Steve Rhodes|
2 stars out of 4
Since my son's class recently finished reporting on the S.E. Hinton novel, "The
Outsiders," we decided to view the 1983 movie of the same name. My son swears
by the book, and I was ready to swear at the movie. Although not a really bad
film, it completely wastes an excellent cast, which includes C. Thomas Howell,
Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Tom Cruise
and Diane Lane. And, for some, the biggest surprise of all is the director of
this tale that plays like a Disney movie that might be titled SPIN AND MARTY GET
SERIOUS. It is none other than Francis Ford Coppola who made the film after
APOCALYPSE NOW and the first two GODFATHERs.
The movie's stilted dialog is by first-time screenwriter Kathleen Rowell, who
went on to write screenplays for television movies. With few natural scenes in
the film, the acting is never convincing. The movie plays like one long
introductory class in method acting. Compare, for example, the pretentious
performances in THE OUTSIDERS with the more recent BULLY by Larry Clark, which
was frighteningly realistic with the actors delivering translucent and riveting
The story, set in the late 1950s, is a classic one of rich vs. poor as the rich
kids called "socs" mistreat the poor ones known as "greasers." Rather than
ending in the big game, it culminates in the big rumble as the greasers try to
get their revenge.
The best part of the movie is the sometimes deliciously dreamy and other times
decidedly dramatic score by Carmine Coppola. But, like the rest of the movie,
it has its problems, namely that it never fits. In Carmine Coppola's defense,
one suspects that if the acting were more credible, the music might not have
felt so out of place.
Read the book. Skip the movie.
THE OUTSIDERS runs 1:31. It is rated PG for violence. The film was released
before the PG-13 rating was introduced. If it were released today, it would be
PG-13. The film would be acceptable for kids around 11 and up.
My son Jeffrey, age 12, gave it ***, saying it was pretty good. He loved the
book and enjoyed the movie.
Copyright © 2001 Steve Rhodes