Saturday, 18 November 2017

The Sure Thing

This is an 80's road trip movie about university students trying to find sex and love, directed by Rob Reiner. In a way it is a perfect dress rehearsal for When Harry met Sally which he directed five years later. The characters are engaging, the story whilst predictable, is easily subsumed in a drama that explores teenage relational angst in a way that is well thought through and which delivers a worthwhile and funny film - all without a sex scene between the main characters!

The lead character is Walter (Gib) Gibson played by a 16 year-old John Cusack who at a High School graduation party confides in his best friend Lance (Anthony Edwards) that he has lost his mojo with 'women' after failing to score using a number of cheesy chat-up lines. Lance tells him that he should  go to university with him in California where the sun alway shines and the beaches are filled with hot girls (see pic above), rather going to the cold and dour north-east to study. University begins and they go their separate ways.

Although there isn't much of a narrative arc that you won't see coming, I'll refrain from describing any plot details just in case you want to dig out this tribute to 1980's youth culture. Rather than steamy shower scenes and sleazy clumsy sex, this film explores the male desire for the physical and the female desire for the emotional in a way that requires a journey of 6000 miles, fights and jealousy to reach a consensus.

For me, it was only after having shared the common experience of the journey, it's initial destination, the disappointment it offered and then the realisation that opposites do attract, that the film delivers its own satisfying climax. In an age where everything is instant - especially gratification, this film is an amusing and entertaining reminder that things worth pursuing can take time to build and that if they are built well can last a long time.

This is true of so many things in life. I remember my own impatience in my teens and twenties - I wanted it all and I wanted it all now. A life time later, the journey that I have travelled gives me a different perspective and I am so thankful for what I have - not what I wanted! It is so hard telling someone who simply wants the destination that it's actually about the getting there that is important. As much as parents may wish to live their children's' lives for them, we have to muster the courage to let them go and find their own way, hoping and praying that the values we instilled into them during their upbringing and which our family espouses, will give them enough to safely navigate by.

This is a worthy film - even if the decades now make it a little cheesy (great soundtrack though!). John Cusack and Daphne Zuniga deliver strong performances in the lead roles. The film beautifully characterises the contrast between New England and California with the illusion of The Sure Thing framed on the beach under warm Californian skies and chilly and snowy Ithaca actually delivering something beautiful that is of lasting and fulfilling quality. I'll give it 7/10.

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