28 October 2004 | Bob-45
Trite Plot, Sappy Star; so WHY is it so GOOD?
While I bought the soundtrack to 'Vision Quest' while the movie was still new, I didn't bother to see the movie until recently. While a great soundtrack and a braless Linda Fiorentino was quite appealing, the 'high school wrestler' plot didn't interest me at all. A few years later, after seeing the sappy Matthew Modine in 'Married to the Mob, ' I lost all interest in 'Vision Quest'. However, after catching (I wish) Linda Fiorentino in 'Men in Black,' and finding 'Vision Quest on ENCORE, I thought, 'What the heck? It's free.' So, my wife and I snuggled in and watched. We were glad we did. Sure, Modine was sappy, but so was his character, Loudan Swain. Loudan's a goofy kid who just turned 18. He's also smart and athletic and decent. He's a wrestler and he plans to beat the best high school wrestler in the state. Loudan wants this not for glory or awards; he just believes he can do it and makes a superhuman effort to lose the weight required to compete in the champ's weight class. His buddy, Kuch, who fancies himself an American Indian, observes Loudan is making a 'vision quest' for self discovery. During Loudan's journey and 'rite of passage to manhood' he meets Carla, a street smart, sexy girl three years his senior. Loudan falls for Carla and now has two dreams, to fight the champ and to win Carla.
Daryl Ponicson ('The Last Detail,' 'Cinderella Liberty) wrote the fine, incisive screenplay from the novel by Terry Davis. The movie has a lot to say about life and how dedication leads to genius. The language is rough, but quite natural. Linda Fiorentino has the movies funniest line, which refers to the 'Holland Tunnel', but J. C. Quinn, who plays Modene's chef friend, has the most poetic monologue, regarding Pele and soccer. Even though things don't work out exactly as Loudan expected, he's uplifted and exhilarated and you will be, too.
The outstanding soundtrack contains music by Tangerine Dream, Journey, REO Speedwagon and Madonna, among others. While the songs were not written for the movie (except, probably the Oscar worthy 'Crazy for You'), they work extremely well. Credit director Howard Becker ('The Onion Field,' 'Sea of Love') for getting the best from his talented cast of actors and musicians. 'Vision Quest' is not a great movie, but a good one. I give it a '7'.