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Saturday, June 3, 2017

'Vision Quest' BD: Classic '80s Tale of Teen Wrestler Pinning Down Life's Ambitions

Warner Archive demonstrates the same perfect instincts regarding releasing the Blu-ray version of the Matthew Modine/Linda Fiorentino drama "Vision Quest" on May 16, 2017 as Warner Prime did in theatrically releasing the film on February 15, 1985. It is almost certain that a large percentage of real-life counterparts of high wrestling jock/aspiring outer-space gynecologist Louden Swain (whom Modine awesomely plays) got to steam up the windows of their pickups/Plymouth Dusters/Chevy Chevettes after a Valentine's date that included taking their best gals to see this sensitive tale of a teen athlete/wholesome farm boy next door pursuing his dream girl.

Archive releasing "Vision" at the beginning of the 2017 summer film season provides a new chance to see this '80slicious movie in an era in which the swimsuit season fare is not nearly as sweet and charming. You will want Louden to win the big match, get the girl, and ultimately perform Pap smears on a space station.

This release additionally nicely sets the stage for the Archive June 20, 2017 Blu-ray release for the 1990 Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan comedy "Joe vs. the Volcano."

The following YouTube clip of the general-audience theatrical trailer for "Vision" hits the trifecta in highlighting the goofy charm of Modine, the pillow-soft porn element of the movie, and the rockin' era-appropriate soundtrack of this film that includes the motion-picture debut of Madonna.


On a broad level, "Vision" relates to a statement by TV god Aaron Sorkin about his ABC sitcom "Sport Night," which revolves around an ESPN-style sports network. Sorkin essentially states that that series is not about sports. Comparably, "Vision" is an entertaining and cute coming-of-age story in which wrestling plays a minor role.

The "Rocky"/John Hughes influences on "Quest" are apparent from the early scenes of Louden stating in voice-over narration of his jumping rope that he aches to make his mark on the world; he explains that this involves his aforementioned plan to be a medical pioneer and his more immediate goal of dropping a health-endangering 23 pounds to achieve his dream of reaching the weight-class of undefeated wrestling champion Shute at a rival school.

Any obsessed high-school athlete or friend of such a jock can relate both to a legendary competitor at another school and to the desire for glory in the form of defeating that person. Further any wrestler or friend of one can relate to the obsession of the former to drop to a weight class and to friendships with benefits that include the sacrifice of drinking free milkshakes to provide those grapplers vicarious pleasure. A related experience is learning that goofiness infuriates legendary high-school wrestling coach Heb Evans.

Although the campaign for the titular enlightenment provides adequate fodder for a film, the Spokane-dwelling Louden having a chance encounter with "older woman" 20-something tough broad Carla, whose derailed personal quest is taking her from New Jersey to San Francisco, provides a major distraction. The extent to which Louden concludes that dames ain't nothin' but trouble remains to be seen until the final moments of "Quest."

Carla moving in with Louden and his divorced father does not help matters; her catching the younger Swain perving out with her being the obvious object of his affection likely scars him for life.

An additional potential love interest that is awesomely advanced for 1985 comes in the form of fellow wrestler/native American influenced buddy Guch. There are several indications that Guch wants to add certain benefits to his friendship with a charmingly oblivious Louden. There further is related symbolism regarding Guch regularly riding up to the hotel where Louden works just as the latter is ending his shift. This leads to Louden climbing on the hog of Guch behind him and firmly holding him by the waist as they ride to the home of Louden.

The parallel quests to drop 23 pounds for the big match, win that event, and have Carla take him out of "the brother zone" provide most of the action in the film. One of more memorable moments involves the classic scene, which is very relatable in 2017, in which Carla tells Louden that she likes men with big hands.

Anyone who has seen any John Hughes joint or similar film knows that Louden may not achieve all (or any) of his dreams but at least will end the film a little wiser than he is at the beginning. We further know that Carla may not be his first but will be memorable as the one who got away. This is a good thing in an era in which most films depict "getting some" as the sole objective of any romantic relationship.

The extras include the "green" general audience theatrical trailer for "Vision" and the (presumably) racier "red" version for restricted audiences.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Vision" is encouraged to email me; you also can connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.