Starring: Dennis Christopher, Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern, Jackie Earle Haley
Director: Peter Yates
Four teens have graduated from high school in Indiana, and are mooching around their university town, where everyone is either a student or associated with the university, or a cutter, that is, the working class offspring of quarry workers. Whilst none of them is sure what they want to do next, Dave (Christopher) is a huge fan of the Italian cycling team, and his day is taken up with riding around and pretending to himself that he’s Italian.
When the university decides to hold a cycling race, his friends push him to enter, in an effort to show those snobs that they aren’t all that. The challenge is on for them to win and put their names on the map.
Whilst it’s ostensibly a film about growing up and coming of age, it really focuses on class in America, in a really clever way. While Dave loves Italy and all things Italian (or at least what he identifies as Italian), his father really hates him putting on airs and behaving like a foreigner. And Dave, also, in order to woo a college girl, pretends to be an Italian exchange student, feeling that she’d never accept a mere local cutter. While all of this is portrayed as very sweet and quite hilarious, it’s focus is on class and belonging, more than on individual triumph. The ultimate goal is pride and acceptance, without a college degree.
Joined by Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern and Jackie Earle Haley as his best friends, all of them so very young, this film feels really fresh and bright, full of humour and hope, and because of that, it’s a really lovely film to watch. Also worth pointing out is that it’s a film about America by a British director, Peter Yates, who also made Bullit.
Definitely one to check out.
See It If: you ever felt sidelined as a teenager, or wished for glory. I really delightful, funny film.