Sunday, July 02, 2006

Ode To The Boys I've Loved Before

At the tender age of seven I was introduced to The Outsiders. I watched it over and over again. With the help of Teen Beat magazine circa 1983 Rob Lowe (Sodapop), C. Thomas Howell (Ponyboy), Matt Dylan (Dallas), and Ralph Macchio (Johnny) were plastered on my walls. And then, when I was twelve, I read the book. I realized that the movie left certain things out. The film failed to resolve issues such as the relationship between the Curtis brothers, and the recovery and trial of Ponyboy. Issues that if added to the movie, would give it even more depth. And then recently my wish came true, Francis Ford Coppola released The Outsiders the Complete Novel on dvd.
To my astonishment, this film holds up. With the addition of key resolution scenes (Johnny's mother appears, Ponyboy and Cherry in court, the Curtis Brothers heart to heart), and changing his father's original classical score with music from the sixties, (including Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan) Coppola has crafted a film that is better then most of the "serious" movies out today. The now famous cast of unknowns could teach todays teenage actors a thing or two. I can't imagine any other actors portraying the beloved characters of S.E. Hinton's classic. What really amazed me was the story of why the film was made. It's simple, in 1981 after reading the book, a middle school class wrote a letter to Francis Ford Coppola asking him to make it into a movie. The finished product (the new dvd) is as classic as the novel. I don't think I have seen or will ever see another ensemble cast so perfectly matched for their roles, or a classic story of family and acceptance so perfectly executed.
The new version in no way changes the story, it simply enhances it.

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