Sensitive study of a headstrong high school football star who dreams of getting out of his small Western Pennsylvania steel town with a football scholarship. His equally ambitious coach aims at a college position, resulting in a clash which could crush the player’s dreams.
Jerry Milani <[email protected]>
User Reviews: As Stefan Djeordjevic, Tom Cruise wants to move out of Ampipe, Pennsylvania as badly as George Bailey does from Bedford Falls. He plays football, but harbors no illusions about a career in that direction. The pros won’t take anyone his size so he just wants to get to college to study engineering. His working class father and brother can’t get him there and as a B student no academic scholarships are in the offing. Football really is his life.
The difference between Bedford Falls and Ampipe is the difference between a rising and falling economy. If you remember in It’s A Wonderful Life, George Bailey gets Sam Wainwright to re-open the old glass works for a plastics factory instead of locating in Rochester. There’s a future in Bedford Falls, like there is none in the Eighties Ampipe where industry is relocating to the south and even out of the country. The future is definitely not in rust-belt Pennsylvania.
Everybody wants out of that place except those with no future. Cruise’s girlfriend Lea Thompson is jealous because as a band-member there ain’t no scholarships for him. The coach Craig T. Nelson wants a winning season so he can get a prize college coaching job. All his other players have ambitions like Cruise.
All the Right Moves was Tom Cruise’s sixth film and first dramatic lead, it’s the film that made him a star. He was first billed in Losin’ It and Risky Business, but this one showed what a good actor he was. If it wasn’t for All the Right Moves, Tom Cruise’s career would have faded with the eighties.
Lea Thompson gives good support to Tom and Craig T. Nelson is far from the coach that we see in Coach. He’s a bitter driven man and not happy when some in the town toilet paper his house after a loss and he sees Cruise on the scene.
Paul Carafotes and Christopher Penn are a couple of other football players whose lives take an abrupt change in direction by other reasons than football. Best supporting player in the film though is James Battico who’s stayed all his life in Ampipe. He turns out to be a malevolent creep, very similar to Robert DeNiro in This Boy’s Life.
Ampipe stands for American Pipe&Steel. The town, the high school is named it. But the very name I’m sure gives rise to other less flattering nicknames that I’m sure anyone reading this will come up with.
All the Right Moves is one of the best coming of age films ever made and should never be missed when broadcast.