Friday, April 10, 2009

Foxes (Adrian Lyne, 1980)

The portrait of Los Angles in the late 1970s as a frivolous wasteland full of inane people petering out their apathetic lives in a smog-fueled daze has been done to death. The wonderfully naturalistic Foxes on the other hand, perfectly captures the palpable energy of the city in a new and entirely unique manner. Depicting it as a place where everyone comes from a broken home and Scott Baio is a sensitive skateboard enthusiast, Adrian Lyne has created a thoughtful coming-of-age story that is rich with amazing cinematography (the sunny, burnout quality of the photography made Hollywood Blvd. look as enticing as ever), a sleek score by Giorgio Moroder (repeatedly complimented by Donna Summer's soothing "On The Radio"), and some of the finest teen acting I've seen in quite some time. Revolving around four friends: Jeanie (Jodie Foster), the responsible one; Annie (Cherie Currie), the rebellious one; Madge (Marilyn Kagan), the reticent one; and Deirdre (Kandice Stroh), the refined one. This girly foursome looks out for one another like most friends do, but they mostly find themselves taking care of the aimless Annie, who has a tendency to wander off on these strange, narcotic-related tangents. This errant behaviour worries the other members of their little idiosyncratic clique, especially Jeanie, who bares most of the burden when comes to Annie and her unpredictable antics. However, it should be said that Annie's not the only with problems, as the stressed out Jeanie, the virginal Madge, and the seductive Deirdre have their own issues to deal with.

Beyond a scene that involves the girls taking care of plastic babies in some sort of home economics class and a couple of hallway moments, the film spends hardly any time at school. Which is kinda appropriate, because neither do the characters. Nope, the majority of the takes place in the unstable homes of the four girls, well, except for Deirdre. But I'm sure her home life was all kinds of kooky. Anyway, the bond these girls share as they engage in sleepovers, attend concerts (Jeanie's dad manages a rock band), and throw dinner parties is the main strength of the film. I also liked how each girl is given own unique personality. Yeah, they probably wouldn't be friends in real life (young people, and people in general tend to hang out with people who are most like themselves). But nonetheless, I appreciated the fact that an attempt was made to flesh out each character (like the fact the Deirdre doesn't know how to shop for groceries).

The acting in Foxes was superb across the board. Sure, there were a couple of dodgy moments involving Sally Kellerman as Jeanie's flaky mom that gave me pause. But on the whole, I found the cast to be topnotch in terms of raw emotion and unaffected pathos. She may have been only a teenager at the time, but Jodie Foster displays a real maturity as Jeanie. The fact she plays the most reliable person in the entire might have illuminated this trait more substantially. However there's no denying that Jodie gives an impressive performance. Her best scenes, funny enough, are when she's with Scott Baio, who, I must say, does a great job of listening to Jodie as she waxes semi-poetically about her nerve-wracking existence.

The bespectacled and slightly awkward Marilyn Kagan somehow managed to turn the dorky Madge into my favourite fox. Which is not the easiest thing to accomplish when you consider that Miss Foster and the charismatic Cherie Currie are constantly wandering around in the background. The whiny, teen-based turmoil surrounding Madge's relationship with her insufferable mother are what drew me to the character in the first place. There's real pain there and Kagan draws it out in a genuine manner.

Lithesome and sporting the blankest of expressions, Cherie Currie gives a hypnotic performance as the troubled Annie. You can totally see why everyone, including Jodie's character, is drawn to her. She has a magnetic quality about her that just sort of messes with you, and it's not a looks thing, either, as I didn't really find her to be that appealing, you know, physically (Kandice Stroh's Deirdre is the babe of the picture). No, there was something strangely alluring about Miss Currie as Annie. I can't quite put my finger on it, but she exudes a special type of allure that not everyone possesses.

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10 comments:

  1. My image of Erin Moran is forever tainted by her appearance on this dumb American reality show, Celebrity Fit Club. Her behavio(u)r was wacky, to say the least.

    So...Billy Bob Thorton compared y'all to "mashed potatoes with no gravy." Uh...

    I bet you like a certain article in the latest EW. ;)

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  2. Hokey smokes! I just bought this soundtrack on vinyl yesterday! You can never go wrong with original music by Giorgio Moroder.

    Sometimes I think you're spying on my brain, Yum-Yum...

    Another treasure in my record collection is Cherie Currie's Beauty Is Only Skin Deep. I find Cherie strangely attractive...but I have to agree with you on Kandice Stroh's amazing looks. What ever happened to that fox anyway?

    The other LP I scored was Sean Penn's BAD BOYS...while not as disco-rific as FOXES there are some gems on it.

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  3. Karim Amir: I guess you mean the kind of wacky that isn't good and stuff. :D

    Y'all? I don't think he was referring to me personally, as I have not... Wait a minute, I've attended concerts in Canada. So, I guess, Billy Bob Thorton did just compare me to mashed potatoes without gravy. Well I never!

    A certain article, eh? Sweet. I can't wait. I bet it's something Anna Faris related. Or, either that, something to do with Ernest Borgnine.

    Oh, and, Go Adam Lambert! I heard his version of Mad World by accident the other day.

    Mr. Canacorn: Yesterday? Wow, that is kinda freaky.

    Giorgio revolutionized music, man. He's a god.

    "Sometimes" being the key word there, as my brain is completely void (unfortunately) of women with horse cocks.

    The jacket for Beauty Is Only Skin Deep is gorgeous. (Mmmm, boots.)

    I heard that Kandice Stroh hosted a talk show for five minutes back in the '90s.

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  4. I saw this movie years ago. I had pretty much forgotten about it. Thanks for posting such a cool writeup on it. Hope you had a great holiday weekend. Cheers!

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  5. One of my favorite films ever.

    Great write up!

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  6. thanks for this review - foxes is one of my favourite favourite favourite films. i can remember sneakily taping it off the TV (I mean on a tape recorder *ancient*) when I was a teenager because I wasn't allowed to watch it and I knew that I'd love it. Aeons later I still do. The novelisation is also good - gets all the details right down to jodie foster's Too Many Boys Too Little Time t-shirt ...

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  7. I enjoyed yet another write up on some great movies.
    I have had this on LP for years, mixing it in live
    to the soul-funk-disco nights and could never have imagined
    the movie would be solid and a great cast ( I guess I never looked beyond the music of the OST..which is another Gerigio banger). I thought it was about some coked out hollywood night. Complete contrast. Downloading it from Demonoid to review it. Peace thanks

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  8. Just to let you know Yum-Yum, "Foxes" is coming to Blu-ray in January 2015.

    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/topic/334563-foxes-1980-coming-to-blu-one-of-jodie-fosters-best/?hl=foxes

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