One of the very first commercially recorded VHS tapes I ever purchased was this movie, Grandview U.S.A. (1984), which I had already seen several times in it's short-lived theatrical run. (I think it was also the last movie I ever saw at a drive-in theater.) Pre-recorded VHS tapes were very expensive back in those days, but even though $80 seemed like a lot of money, I paid it. Why? Seems pretty obvious: It starred C.Thomas Howell.
Much more after the jump.
Directed by Randall Kleiser, who had just had huge successes with Grease and The Blue Lagoon, Grandview U.S.A. is a small, slice-of-life comedy/drama about three people, played by Jamie Lee Curtis, Patrick Swayze, and the top-billed Howell, living in a small midwestern town, whose lives become intertwined at a demolition derby. Curtis wants to run her late father's dilapidated demolition derby in peace, Swayze wants his trashy wife (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to stop screwing a reptilian appliance salesman (Troy Donahue!), and Howell just wants to graduate high school and get the hell out of Dodge. It isn't a great movie, nor is it a terrible one. It has some lovely moments, and some profoundly strange ones, but nothing much really happens, and the dramatic stakes are so low that the whole thing doesn't amount to a hill of beans. But still... I shelled out that $80, and I was glad to do it.
|Recognize Tommy's shirtless sidekick? It's John Cusack!|
Red Dawn, a notoriously fascist, jingoistic, domestic war fantasy, took advantage of a very special moment in cold war history and cleaned up at the box office. Tommy signed on to his next headlining vehicle, Secret Admirer. But that's another story.
Enjoy the rest of the pictures.