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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 2/21/02

All the Right Moves
1983 (2002) - 20th Century Fox

review by Drew Feinberg of The Digital Bits

Enhanced for 16x9 TVs

All the Right Moves

Film Rating: C-

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): C-/C/D

Specs and Features

90 mins, R, letterboxed widescreen (1:85:1), 16x9 enhanced, single-sided, single-layered, Amaray keep case packaging, theatrical trailers (for All the Right Moves, Say Anything, TAPS and Less Than Zero), scene access (26 chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1 and mono) and French (DD 2.0), subtitles: English and Spanish, Close Captioned

Poor, poor Stef Djordevic (Tom Cruise). He lives in a working class Pennsylvania town where the boys grow up to be men slaving away at the steel mill. His girlfriend (Lea Thompson) won't let him get past second base. His typing teacher/football coach (Craig T. Nelson, deja vu) is a petty jerk, and he's cursed with, well, a girly name like Stef. Pretty depressing stuff.

But Stef has no intentions of working at the mill and spending his evenings yammering football at the local watering hole (I half-expected to see Walken, De Niro, Savage and gang huddled in a corner comparing deer hunting notes), for he has football skills that can get him a scholarship to college. He intends to milk his talent into a degree in engineering - he has no false hope of playing for the Steelers. After all, Stef knows that "there's not much call for a 5'10" white cornerback in the NFL," which confirms that even back in 1983, Cruise was fudging his height.

This is a your standard, paint-by-numbers teenager trying to bust loose (Footloose! Kick off your Sunday shoes!) from one-horse town and do their own thing kind of movie that you've seen a thousand times before. It's chock full of the clichés that you can basically check off your list as each mundane event occurs. The football coach is a seemingly soulless bastard, but ultimately has a soft spot in his heart. Shocker! The girlfriend doesn't want to put out no matter how much Stef whines, but then waves him the "ready for takeoff" lights once he's hit rock bottom and is not expecting it. Unheard of! The steel mill bursts open, spewing molten iron throughout the town, causing each lame-assed character to be painfully scalded to death as punishment for being in such a trite film. Par for the course! Okay, I made that last one up, but a guy can dream, can't he?

All the Right Moves is, to sum it up in one word, blah. The look is drab and unspectacular, which is surprising considering that Jan De Bont (Basic Instinct) was the cinematographer. Sure, it's a movie about an ordinary working-class town, but one can make a movie about a dreary place and still give the viewer something to look at. The soundtrack is a low, low rent Footloose knockoff. The performances were all adequate across the board, and who knows, had Risky Business not come along to showcase Cruise's cocky smile, we might have being seeing him in Losin' It IV: Quest for Penicillin next week. The only thing that really stands out, is that this is the movie where Tom Cruise frees his willy for the world to see. As I said, blah.

The disc itself doesn't fare much better. Although presented in 1:85:1 anamorphic widescreen, the picture is average for the most part, and the print is borderline terrible in places. It seems like Fox didn't put much effort into cleaning it up. Dark scenes are somewhat grainy (the scene where Cruise and Thompson are hiding in the auditorium is especially heinous), and dirt and artifacts can be seen throughout the movie. This can be partially excused due to the age of the film, but only partially. I mean, Poltergeist came out the year before, and it's light-years ahead of the quality of this picture.

All's quiet on the audio front. The rear speaker front, that is. This DVD claims to have a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, but for the life of me, I couldn't find any use of the rear surrounds. I literally put my ear up to my right rear speaker sporadically, praying to be deafened, but alas, my hearing remains completely intact. Hey Fox, why did you bother with 5.1 if you ignore the rears? Most of the audio comes through the center channel, which is pretty crisp and clear, at least. Also included are English and French mono tracks, for the French people out there in Region 1 who have their DVD player hooked up to a gramophone.

As for extras... there's almost nada. You've got two letterboxed trailers for the movie - one theatrical and one that's called a Spanish theatrical trailer, yet all of the dialogue is in English, save for the voice over. Que pasa? Also included are letterboxed trailers for three other Fox movies coming out shortly: Say Anything, Taps and Less Than Zero. The menus are static, silent and utterly forgettable.

All in all, All the Right Moves is both a mediocre movie and a mediocre disc. The only people who are going to get a kick out of it are ones who enjoy any teen movie regardless of quality (i.e. Varsity Blues), have a masochistic desire to watch bad 80's sports melodramas (i.e. Youngblood), or want to see full frontal Tom Cruise and Lea Thompson. But why get a DVD simply to see nude celebrities? We all know, that's why the Internet was invented.

Drew Feinberg
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