Plot: What’s it about?
Stefan Djordjevic (Tom Cruise) lives in a small steel town in Pennsylvania, where the only future lies in the local mill, but even that is bleak these days. The mill has laid off a number of workers and with no other jobs available, that means the town will either shrink even more or simply fall apart, neither a good concept. So while Stefan never wanted to remain in town after high school, the recent events make it impossible, as he couldn’t even wrangle a position at the mill and that would leave him next to nothing. But as it stands, Stefan has some good elements in his life, mainly his girlfriend Lisa (Lea Thompson), his fellow football players, and his skills on the field. While he might not have the size or skills to think about being a professional player, Stefan is a good enough cornerback to move into the college ranks. This is what he wants too, as he wants to attend school on a football scholarship, leave the steel town in his past, and work toward a solid job down the road. But when he clashes with his coach (Craig T. Nelson) and is blacklisted by the scouts as a result, it looks his future might have ended before it began…
As a fan of movies based around sports, I was very pleased to see that Fox has released All The Right Movies, as it is a very solid, enjoyable picture. I wouldn’t call it great however, as it never really pushes itself to that next level, but it is a good movie, I think. Tom Cruise turns in a solid pre-superstar performance and is backed by a nice supporting cast, including Craig T. Nelson, Lea Thompson, and Chris Penn. The cast seems natural within the roles and that’s important, since these characters are normal, down to earth kind of folks. Most sports movies are upbeat and try to lift up the audience, but All The Right Moves isn’t like that, it is actually kind of dark at times and has a depressing tone, to be sure. This is to reinforce how important it is for the characters to succeed however, as we can understand why they would do whatever it took to leave the town behind, even if it meant making poor decisions. So don’t expect a comedic film like Major League here, as this is a more serious, downbeat kind of picture right from the start. I think this movie is well worth a look and while Fox’s disc is pretty bare, the price is more than reasonable.
Yes, there was a time when Tom Cruise wasn’t a massive star and in that forgotten era, he managed to be in this flick. Even though he hadn’t broken into the elite ranks, he still has the same screen presence and charisma, without a doubt. The same swagger and confidence is obvious, although he tones those traits down at times, when the material needs him to be more subtle, even depressed. His performance is more rough around the edges than his more recent work, but that adds to the impact of his character, I think. His screen presence is still good and while this is an earlier effort, all of the signs were there that Cruise was going to break into the upper tier of the business, no doubt about it. You can also see Cruise in such films as Mission: Impossible, Risky Business, The Color of Money, Rain Man, Days of Thunder, Magnolia, Jerry Maguire, and Eyes Wide Shut. The cast also includes Lea Thompson (Howard the Duck, Red Dawn), Craig T. Nelson (The Skulls, Tv’s Coach), and Chris Penn (Reservoir Dogs, Footloose).
Video: How does it look?
All The Right Moves is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. As expected, the material has some signs of wear & tear, but looks solid and fans should be satisfied, as the film has never looked this good on home video. The print has some defects and the grain is thick at times, but never enough to lessen the visuals, I don’t think. I found colors and contrast to be a little faded, but good enough and no real problems surfaced. So no, this isn’t a pristine looking transfer, but all things considered, it is quite good and I think fans will be pleased.
Audio: How does it sound?
A new Dolby Digital 5.1 track is included here, but the age & nature of the film limit how much depth & range is present. The track is more expansive than expected and has a natural, never forced texture however, so I’d say the added effort has paid off here. The music has a richer feel and while sound effects aren’t explosive, they sound as good as possible. No issues with dialogue either, as vocals are crisp and clean throughout, with no volume errors to discuss. This disc also includes mono options in English & French, as well as English & Spanish subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes the film’s American and Spanish theatrical trailers.