Fox Home Entertainment presents
All the Right Moves (1983)
"I'm looking to trade football for an education and still be able to walk."- Stefan Djordjevic (Tom Cruise)
Stars: Tom Cruise, Craig T. Nelson, Lea Thompson
Other Stars: Christopher Penn, Charles Cioffi
Director: Michael Chapman
MPAA Rating: R for language, nudity, sexual situations
Run Time: 01h:30m:19s
Release Date: 2002-03-05
DVD ReviewAll too often, coming-of-age dramas fall into formulaic traps and tell the same old story of a troubled and confused teen. All the Right Moves's Stefan Djordjevic (Cruise) certainly fits this profile, but below the surface is a much more unique individual than we usually see in this genre. If this story had focused more on Stefan and its many other intelligent characters, it could have broken free of its routine mold and been a great film. Unfortunately, it never reaches the potential for which it strives.Stefan is an astute high school senior who wants nothing more than to graduate from college with an engineering degree. He also happens to be an incredibly gifted athlete who aspires to win a football scholarship. His passion is education, but a football scholarship is the only way he can afford college and avoid a lifetime working in the steel factory of his mundane town. The uncommon idea of a teenager wise enough to place education before his super-jock status certainly grabbed my attention.On the football field, Stefan is hard working and dedicated, but finds himself at variance with Coach Nickerson (Craig T. Nelson). Nickerson has an insatiable passion to win, and even relates winning in football to success in life: "Quit on this football field, you're gonna end up being quitters and losers!" Though not overtly so, Nickerson has the same motivations as Stefan. If he proves himself successful as a high school coach, it might just mean a chance to coach at college level and break free from this bleak Pennsylvania town. The connection between these two characters is another aspect that piqued my interest.Off the field, Stefan spends time with his girlfriend, Lisa (Lea Thompson). Rather than the immature and neurotic girlfriend frequently seen in high school films, she is depicted as bright and headstrong. Her stand against pre-marital sex is firm, but she does not selfishly place all of her wants and needs before Stefan's. She even goes so far as to encourage him to try for an out-of-state scholarship, likely resulting in their separation. Her logic is simple: she loves him very much and wants nothing more than for him to be happy. A teenage relationship with so much loyalty and depth is yet another concept that I found appealing.Where All the Right Moves falls dreadfully flat is in exploring all of these interesting opportunities. They are laid out on the table within the first 10 minutes, but never fleshed out or resolved. The film has a beginning and an end, but there are no peaks, no valleys, and no curves; the audience is simply taken down one continuously straight road. Without any engaging events to move the story along, the convenient resolution at the end seems terribly contrived.Director Michael Chapman does a decent job of getting down to the grit of what life is like in a small town, but he does not put enough emphasis on it. These characters are real people rooted in realistic situations, which often creates the most compelling entertainment. To focus entirely on the people and their relationships with one another is the right decision; however, Chapman never succeeds in tearing down the curtains to their souls. Stefan's father (Charles Cioffi) is a tender and caring man, rather than the typical drunken, deadbeat dads who often dominate this genre. Yet, he is given too little screen time to offer any real insight, and I found myself remaining stoic towards his affection. All of the actors display talent, especially Tom Cruise, but they lack the necessary direction to fully develop their characters.It is truly a shame that All the Right Moves did not make better use of its material. While I did enjoy some of the performances, the whole of the film falls into the trap of not knowing what it wants to be. On one level it is a love story, on another it is a character study, and yet another it is a simple football film. All of these ideas are poorly handled, and none of them come together to form a cohesive vehicle. All the Right Moves has noble intentions, but never succeeds in moving the ball into the end zone.
Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: C
|Aspect Ratio||1.85:1 - Widescreen|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: The 1.85:1 anamorphic print exhibits a soft and dirty characteristic, no doubt due to the age of the source material. There are surprisingly very few aliasing problems, which are what I always find most annoying. Though not terribly bothersome, I found the main distraction to be excessive grain, which was magnified during darker scenes. Color saturation is not stunning, but its vibrancy exceeded my expectations and proved to be pleasant throughout. I also found black levels to be above average. Its presence is dark and rich, although shadow detail sometimes seems compromised. Given the age of the film, I feared the worst for this transfer. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised.
Image Transfer Grade: B-
Audio Transfer Review: Both the original monaural soundtrack and a new 5.1 mix are offered, but there is little discernable difference between the two. The only noticeable improvement of the 5.1 track is considerably increased depth. Otherwise, this new mix is surprisingly mono in nature, with little stereo separation and surround channels that lie dormant. Fidelity is severely wanting on both tracks. Dialogue is shrill, unnatural. Purists will certainly appreciate the inclusion of the theatrical mono mix, while I preferred the range of the 5.1 track. Both are sonically disappointing.
Audio Transfer Grade: C-
Disc ExtrasStatic menu
Scene Access with 26 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
2 Original Trailer(s)
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Less Than Zero, Taps, Say Anything
Layers Switch: 00h:58m:13s
Extras Review: This disc unfortunately does not have the right moves when it comes to special features. All that is offered are two theatrical trailers, with one narrated in English and the other in Spanish. In the completely irrelevant category is the "Fox Flix" icon, which contains three trailers for films unrelated to All the Right Moves. All the trailers are presented in anamorphic widescreen, boosting my grade a tad. I didn't expect much more for an all-but-forgotten film, but surprises are always welcome. A Tom Cruise, feature-length commentary would have been very nice. I think fans would enjoy a chance to hear him reminisce about the days of old.
Extras Grade: C-
Final CommentsAll the Right Moves aims to be a romance, a drama, and a sports film all in one. Fans of all genres will be disappointed. With its abundance of cheesy pop synthesizer music, the best it offers is 1980s nostalgia.
Brian Calhoun 2002-03-05