"My name's Louden, Louden Swain. Last week I turned 18. I wasn't ready for it. I haven't done anything yet. So I made this deal with myself. This is the year I make my mark."
release year: 1985
genre: feel-good, high school, sports
viewing setting: home DVD, 3/27/15 and 11/10/01
what I expected: n/a (seen it too many times before)
what I got: an inspiring story about dreams, goals, and keeping on track
synopsis: High school wrestler Louden Swain is the best in the state in his weight class, and a college scholarship is inevitable - but he puts that at risk when he starts dropping weight so he can challenge another school's star wrestler, a compact monster of a kid who's considered unbeatable. On top of the physical and mental challenges, he gains a new one: he falls in love with an older woman he can't have.
impressions: This was sort of a high school version of Rocky. The difference is that this protagonist is younger and has his whole life ahead of him - he just doesn't know what he wants to do with it. What he does know is that he just has to take on this other wrestler, even though all his friends and family think he's crazy. There were some nice, inspirational moments, not all of them from the training or wrestling (watch for the poem-reading in the English classroom.) I got two messages from this film: 1) if you feel strongly that you have to do something, do it now, because you might never get another chance, and 2) even small spans of time (like your senior year, or a 6-minute wrestling match) can have great significance, depending what you do during them.
acting: Matthew Modine did a great job in the lead. There were a number of good supporting roles, namely Linda Fiorentino as the older girl and Ronny Cox as Louden's dad.
final word: Good uplifting feel-good movie (good soundtrack is a bonus!)
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