Vision Quest is a movie that I have always been surprised that I haven’t seen, considering there were not many coming-of-age movies from the 1980s that I missed. The only thing I really knew about it going in, other than it starred Matthew Modine, was that it was Madonna’s first movie appearance and featured her hit “Crazy for You”.
Lowden Swain (Matthew Modine) is a wrestler who has decided that in his senior year of high school he needs to compete against the state champion from their biggest rival. In order to do that, he must drop two weight classes. Along this journey, he is supported by a fellow wrestler Kuch (Michael Schoeffling), the head of the school newspaper Margie (Daphne Zuniga), and his boss from the job where he works nights doing hotel-room service.
To complicate his challenge, Lowden’s father, Larry (Ronny Cox), has provided a difficult home life since Lowden’s mother left them for another man. Larry loses yet another job as a mechanic when he defends a young woman, Carla (Linda Fiorentino), who has spent all of her money on a car that refuses to operate. Lowden and Larry take Carla in as she tries to save up her money to travel to San Francisco to be an artist. It is clear from the start that Lowden has strong romantic feelings for Carla. She attempts to dissuade him at first but things develop between them as time goes on.
After watching the movie, I was thinking about why it wasn't as successful as others of that time It is not nearly as well written nor does it contain the originality of some of the more popular ones such as The Breakfast Club or Sixteen Candles. It is entertaining in its own right but it tries to do too much. It tries to combine sports with romance along with a buddy flick and does none of it very well. There are several positive messages about finding yourself and never giving up; however, it never establishes believable strong relationships or deep chararacters.
Schoeffling and Zuniga are two of my favorite actors from this time period and while their roles are small, it was nice to see them back on screen. Interestingly, Schoeffling won several medals for wrestling including a gold medal for the United States as part of the National Junior Team before becoming an actor and model. It is a shame that don’t do anything to highlight his skills in the film. Instead, he plays the underdeveloped role of the goofy sidekick.
The Blu-ray has been given a 1080p/MPEG-4 AVC encoded transfer displayed at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The audio is available as DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. The soundtrack is definitely the highlight of the film featuring songs from Madonna and also Journey, John Waite, Sammy Hagar, and Foreigner. They all sound robust.
If you have a nostalgic love for the music and movies from the '80s, you will enjoy Vision Quest.