Monday, September 15, 2008

Breaking Away

Dir: Peter Yates, 1979 (8.5*)

Best Comedy Picture (GG)
This is a sports movie with everyday heros that we can all cheer for, namely some locals, called "Cutters" from working in the local stone quarry, that are living in the shadow of Indiana University. The small group is led by Dennis Quaid, the ex-quarterback and local ladies man, and the film’s star Dennis Christopher, a lonely and lovesick biker with a dream of racing with the big guys, the Italians, and backed up by funny-man Daniel Stern, and pipsqueak Jackie Earle Haley in his first major part.
Most of the comedy in Steve Tesich's Oscar-winning script comes from Christopher’s dysfunctional dad, Paul Dooley, in his funniest film role as the local used car lot owner who literally has a coronary when his son suggests giving a student a refund for buying a lemon there, while the patient mom, Barbara Barrie, wants her son be happy. We get a little sports, a little romance (with Robyn Douglass as the college girl Dennis fools into thinking he's Italian), but a lot of comedy about growing up, dreams vs. reality, and trying to make your place in the world, whether you break away from your home town or not. A G-rated gem, all done in good taste, without sentimentality. 5 nominations, One Oscar (Screenplay)
Quote: I'm tired of all this "ini" and "oli" food, I want some American food - bring me some French fries! (Paul Dooley)
Quote2: Well, my dad's birthday's coming up soon, I could fail the SAT's for him - then he could say "it's alright, Cyril" (Daniel Stern)


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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