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STUDIO: Warner Home Video
RUNNING TIME: 95 Minutes
• Commentary Track
• Theatrical Trailer
“It’s the dramatic parts from the TV version of Fast Times At Ridgemont High mixed with KIDS minus AIDS!”
Matt Dillon (a year away from his celebrated role as Melvin Moody in My Bodyguard), Michael Kramer, Pamela Ludwig, Vincent Spano, many unknowns.
Richie (Matt Dillon) and some other kids run around causing trouble in a suburban housing development called
"Hey man, tag me out, I’ve got to piss!"
For some reason I’m not sure of, the term "matted widescreen" bothers me, but the picture itself looks okay, despite its age and lack of restoration. There is a rockin’ soundtrack, including FOUR Cheap Trick tunes and songs by The Ramones, The Cars, Jimi Hendrix and Van Halen. The Dolby Digital mono sound doesn’t ever sound better than when a song is playing. More than a few bits of dialogue are hard to hear, and a muffled sentence at one point potentially screws up an important scene upon first viewing. The commentary track with director Jonathan Kaplan, screenwriters Charlie Haas and Tim Hunter and producer George Litto is a friendly, scene-specific reunion after all the resume pimping and name-dropping ceases. The whole enterprise comes off as a bunch of seasoned
"Holy crap! It’s Lucy, and she’s in the sky! With diamonds!"
You know, sometimes parents just don’t understand. Vincent Spano had the exact same acting instincts as a teenager that he has now. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, just an observation. Even with some stiff dialogue delivered by the mostly teenage cast and the presence of a drug dealer who looks like a Hanson band member, the film is solidly written and acted. Matt Dillon shows flashes of his future self as the leader of the underage pack, and Michael Kramer as Carl shows some range that we would never notice from him again. Personally, I’m creeped out by movies (like KIDS) that portray children who appear to be 10-12 years old guzzling booze, smoking pot and talking openly about sex. Jesus, I had just started using pointy scissors when I was 12! Only a couple of kids appear that young in the film, but one deals drugs and the other talks about showing off her cleavage, which really doesn’t seem to be there yet.
The teen practice of huffing gunpowder from moving bullets was short-lived.
The only concrete failing of the film is that it doesn’t build up much tension until about halfway through. We see a lot of bad behavior and an overzealous police officer trying to dampen the kids’ good time, but it takes a while to learn where this is all going. When the action starts, however, it doesn’t stop. Much. Leave it to the only caring adult – the attractive, childless Rec Center operator – to act as the moral center here, because you can’t really empathize with any other grown-ups or most of the kids. After all, kids seeking attention and love from absentee parents don’t usually flip over cars, brandish firearms or blow up buildings. But then again, the movie was filmed in