Saturday, May 28, 2011

Lucas (1986)

On my quest of diving into Sports films of the 80s, I have struck another film where the sport at hand takes a backseat in the movie. The film focuses on Lucas, a boy genius who has skipped several grades, and is a sophmore in high school. He immediately befriends new comer Maggie (also in the goonies), and they bond in the first weeks of school. Like the typical nerd to hot girl friendship in movies, Lucas broadens Maggie's perspective by teaching her about nature and classical music. Lucas starts to think he has a pretty good chance with Maggie, until she starts falling for the hot shot football player Cappie (Charlie Sheen). Cappie isn't like any of the other jocks who torment Lucas because of his runt size, and acts as Lucas's main protector. It was actually quite refreshing to see Sheen as the good guy in the movie. He makes an effort not only to be nice and protect Lucas from his football friends, but also includes Lucas in his nightlife. However, Lucas becomes extremely jealous of the obvious Chemistry between Cappie and Maggie. In a desperate attempt to win her over, he tries out for the football team. It is apparent that Lucas is out of his element, but being juxtaposed against the football players in the locker room magnifies this truth. Even though he is the runt, he still stands up to those that torment him. Notably Spike (Jeremy Piven) and Bruno (Tom Hodges). The torture that Lucas endures from the football players is personally the most embarrassing scene I have ever witnessed. Although, Lucas still fights on. Besides the stupidity of Lucas, you have to respect his moxy in the film. Everyone is against him playing football, and with good reason. At 5'2, 90 pounds, I'm surprised he didn't die. However, he fights and fights with the coach to let him in. "Don't call me a pissant, you dumb fucking jock! When he finally gets in, it is apparent that he does not belong and is getting in the way with everyone. He runs around on the field aimlessly, and even takes his helmet off mid play, which results in his hospitalization. When he returns to school the next day, everyone stares at him, and the scene sets up the fact that Lucas is about to get pounded by the football players. To his surprise, he opens his locker, with fellow football players looking on, to find a letterman jacket with his name on it. A slow clap ensues and everyone cheers his name.
The movie served as a kickstart to several booming careers. It acted as the first role for Wynnona Ryder and Jeremy Piven, and gave serious momentum to Charlie Sheen and Corey Haim's careers. However, my favorite appearance in the movie is the role of Bruno, played by Tom Bridges. Eight Years Later, Tom went on to star in one the most underrated Ben Stiller movie of all time, Heavyweights. "Please put your fat finger down.... you have broken my camera!"
Lucas in essence is about an outsider who refuses to give up, even when against the greatest adversity. This is not a movie about someone who overcomes all odds and succeeds. At the size of an average 10 year old, it is physically impossible for Lucas to become a stud football player. However, he refuses to take no for an answer. He knows what he wants, and does not stop until he gets his way. This movie is the epitome of the old saying, "it's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog."

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