The last night before a group of high school friends goes their seperate ways.
And so much more.
Firstly, this is a movie that is extremely well set in its time and place. Every detail is perfect- the characters, the small town, the songs, the cars, the clothes, the language. Perfect. George Lucas grew up in Modesto, CA, and this is based (loosely) on his memories of growing up in a small town and finally escaping.
Secondly, it’s a great movie. The characters are so believeable, and so likeable (even the annoying ones) that you can’t stop watching to see what will happen to them. The script is funny, touching, and very very real.
The actors, most of whom are (from the perspective of thirty-five years later) unbelieveably young, are excellent: Ron Howard, Richard Dreyfuss (one of his three good movies, Jaws and The Goodbye Girl being the other two, although I did like him as the Player King in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead), Cindy Williams, Serious Honey Harrison Ford, MacKenzie Phillips before she crashed and burned, and of course Wolfman Jack looking amazingly normal. It’s a walk down Memory Lane for this old Otter, although actually the characters are about 15 years older than me. Mr. Otter, on the other hand, shall we say, identifies with it strongly…not to say anything about relative age, of course…
But seriously, this is one of the few good movies that George Lucas had a hand in (the others being THX1138, and the first three Star Wars movies.) The rest of what he’s done has been resting on those laurels, or trying to recapture his glory, and frankly it’s all been downhill since then (I won’t go into the “George Lucas Sucks” rant, it’s part of the long review of Attack of the Clones, but suffice it to say that I consider George Lucas to have been wasting the air he breathes since about 1985.)
But this movie was made when he was young and still lived up to his ideals.
And an excellent movie it is.