“When I stepped out into the bright sunlight…” – Film Fest Friday

the outsidersThe Outsiders
Book release: 1967
Movie release: 1983
Where to watch: A drive-in movie theater. Sneaking in would make for a more authentic experience, but that’s your choice.

For years I thought that S.E. Hinton was a dude. This could perhaps be because the voice of her characters, mainly boys, are so convincing and authentic. She started writing her first book, The Outsiders, when she was in high school. Seriously, read her biography; Susie was a pretty cool lady. She wrote other books, some of which feature characters we meet in The Outsiders. These books have the same setting and share many of the same themes. And, like her first book, all but one of those have a movie adaptation. Well, I think I know how I’m going to be spending my weekends.

Oh, and the names in the book? Fantastic. I plan to name my firstborn child either Ponyboy or Sodapop. Sorry, Darry.

The story:
Ponyboy Curtis is a member of the gang from the wrong side of the tracks, the Greasers. He tells the difficulties those living on the East Side have living as what he perceives as outsiders. Their rivals are a group of richie riches who live on the West Side, the Socs (or Socials). There are rumbles, murder, a fire, acts of brotherhood and heroism…Lots of lessons to be learned here, folks.

Better in the movie:

  • Everybody is in this movie. Okay, not everybody…Kevin Bacon didn’t make the cut, but he’s not too far separated. See, the film’s director, Francis Ford Coppola is uncle to Nicolas Cage who starred in the terrible-but-I-can’t-help-but-watching-when-it-comes-on-tv movie, Gone in Sixty Seconds, with Angelina Jolie who’s married to the ridiculously hunky Brad Pitt who was in the movie that scarred me for life, Se7ev, with Gwyneth who made a cameo in Austin Powers in Goldmember with Tom Cruise who plays the cake-eating Greaser, Steve. Now we can say everybody is in this movie. Bam.
  • Matt Dillon’s ridiculously dramatic performance is the reason this is one of my go-to movies. Upon waking each morning, I like to declare,  “Let’s do it for Johnny, man. We’ll do it for Johnny!” to get me going. It sets a good tone for the day.

Worse in the movie:

  • Some people would argue that the ridiculously dramatic acting (ahem, Matt Dillon) is too much to handle. These people are wrong, but whatever.
  • It’s pretty spot on. The only better than watching the movie is holding a worn paperback copy, but I think that’s obvious.

Conclusion:

Duh! Stay gold, Ponyboy.

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