Saturday, June 16, 2012

Breaking Away (1979)

Synopsis: Italophile innocent idles in Indiana, hopeless Hoosiers hustle, Cutters commence cycling!

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “This charming, Academy Award winner (1979, Best Screenplay) cycles high on comedy as four friends come to terms with life after high school. When top-notch cyclist Dave (DENNIS CHRISTOPHER) learns that the world’s best bicycling champions are always Italian, he attempts to turn himself into an Italian, driving his parents (BARBARA BARRIE, PAUL DOOLEY) crazy. But everything changes after he meets the Italian racing team – an encounter that ultimately leads him and his friends (DENNIS QUAID, DANIEL STERN, JACKIE EARLE HALEY) to challenge the local college boys in the town’s annual bike race.”

What Did I Learn?: 1) Used car salesmen really don’t like to hear the word “refund”.  2) A bowling ball stuck to your hand can be quite useful during a university cafeteria brawl. 3) “Everybody cheats”.

Really?: 1) I have a bit of trouble believing the former high school quarterback would hang out with a couple of un-athletic losers, or that the three of them would hang out with Dave, who spouts phony Italian all the time. 2) I wonder how the folks at Cinzano felt about their brand being used to represent a slimy racing team that pushes Dave into a ditch during a critical moment.

Rating: Breaking Away is a brilliantly-written, funny and surprisingly timeless coming-of-age movie about four dead-end, post-high school kids trying to enjoy one last carefree summer in Bloomington Indiana. Highly recommended. 10/10 stars.

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