The Outsiders (1983) Review

Welcome to Day 2 of Coppola Week, in which I’ll be reviewing four movies I saw recently directed by Francis Ford or Sofia Coppola. Yesterday I reviewed Sofia’s The Bling Ring (it wasn’t my favorite). So now I’m reviewing one from her father (it’s easily my favorite of the four I’ll be discussing). Let’s talk about The Outsiders! ๐Ÿ™‚

The Outsiders (1983)

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola

Based on The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Starring: C. Thomas Howell, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Diane Lane, Emilio Estevez, Tom Cruise, Leif Garrett, Tom Waits

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
The rivalry between two gangs, the poor Greasers and the rich Socs, only heats up when one gang member kills a member of the other.

My Opinion:

I still can’t quite believe that I had never read The Outsiders or watched the movie until recently, especially as the movie contains so many well known actors from my generation. I should have had a crush on every single one of them! None of them were really favorites of mine, though. The only one I’d have possibly had a crush on was the one who kind of went on to do the least after The Outsiders – C. Thomas Howell, which is weird as he’s the main star of this one. He was pretty cute! And pretty hot now. I like how he keeps popping up in small roles in things like The Amazing Spider-Man. Well, he did star in Soul Man… Bet he’s not thrilled about that one now!

Sorry to go on about “cute boys” but I was just pointing out that I’m not sure why I never saw this. I read the book a couple of years ago and really liked it (it was my second favorite book read in 2014). It’s less surprising that I never read it since I was never really encouraged to read much when I was younger (I’m glad I decided to become a reader anyway). I have to say that I was perfectly happy with the film and think it was a good & faithful adaptation. I was worried when I looked this up on IMDB as it has a really low “metascore” (which is a collection of reviews from critics) of 38 out of 100 while it has a respectable user rating of 7.2 out of 10. Are you kidding me on that metascore?? I didn’t actually read the critic reviews to see what their problem was with this movie. I don’t care. This is why I don’t read reviews from actual critics – I trust the opinions of us regular movie-loving bloggers more. I’m usually somewhere in between the metascore & user rating (user ratings are always WAY too high on current mainstream movies) but I agree with the user rating this time. It’s a good film, not a great film. But those who love the book and those who love the amazing assortment of hot young 80’s actors that Coppola got together for this will be big fans of the movie. I’m sure it’s a favorite film of some people my age & I’d possibly have the same nostalgia for it if I’d seen it around the same sort of time that I became obsessed with Stand By Me.

As for the acting, I can’t fault anyone. They all felt like genuine teenagers/early twentysomethings and fit the characters from the book very well. Although, knowing of the movie and who played who, I may have been picturing the actors as I read it. That’s why I hate reading a book after seeing its movie… I especially liked Ralph Macchio & C. Thomas Howell, who were the two most important characters to get right from the book. Patrick Swayze & Rob Lowe were also great as Howell’s protective older brothers. Yes! Even Rob Lowe was good!

I also loved seeing Diane Lane, with the most gorgeous shade of red hair, as I’ve become more of a fan of hers in recent years (this movie is pretty high on my list of My Top Ten Diane Lane Movies). It’s quite a small role as boys are very much the stars of this story but, hey, that’s how it was written. By a girl. Speaking of its author, S.E. Hinton, I still love that the book was written when she was only 16. I think that’s so impressive. Imagine a teenager today managing to do that! Or anything, really. Apparently, Hinton played a nurse in this. Cool! I didn’t even know that until looking at the credits for this review. Also, Sofia Coppola played a “Little Girl” and Heather Langenkamp(!) is listed but not given a character name so I have no idea where she was in the movie (okay – I did some Googling & her scenes from the drive-in movie part were deleted).

Hey – look at Patrick Swayze being all tough & sexy like he was in Road House! He’s gonna rip that guy’s throat out. Yes, I’m still obsessed with Road House after seeing it for the first time over Christmas. Road House!! I wish Sam Elliott had been in The Outsiders… That would’ve been awesome. 

Of course, Sam Elliott was too old to be in this as there are hardly any adults to be seen throughout the whole movie. That’s what’s so great about it – it was written by a teenager about teenagers, which is probably what helps make the characters feel so genuine and why so many young people have fallen in love with the book over the years. I totally understand the story’s appeal, even though I experienced it too late to appreciate it as much as I would have as a teenager. It’s one of the first true “young adult” books (back before the young adult genre was this huge thing with the somewhat bad reputation it has these days) so maybe that’s what some critics don’t like about it? I don’t know but it’s a classic story with some very rich characters and I’ll most definitely be passing the book onto my daughter to read as an early teen. Perhaps she’ll fall in love with it in a way that I wasn’t fully able to at my age. And then we can watch the movie together! It’s one I’d definitely watch again sometime. ๐Ÿ™‚

My Rating: 7.5/10

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