Tom Cruise started his career in 1981 with "Taps" (also on DVD the same week) and finally struck gold with serious box office success for "Risky Business". Cruise followed up "Business" with a safe - and enjoyable, if not that noteworthy - film about small town America called "All The Right Moves". Cruise stars as Stefen 'Stef' Djordjevic, a talented football player who is looking for a way out of the small Pennsylvannia steel town; a football scholarship would get him into a college where he could recieve a fine education.
The film follows the usual path of cliches that these kind of small-town sports (see "Varsity Blues") trot out. There's the coach (played by Craig T. Nelson as a more stereotypical character than the often hilarious and entertaining coach he played in his 1989 TV series "Coach") who clashes with Stefen, the fellow player whose girlfriend is now pregnant and other familar elements. Still, while one may have seen these elements in other films, "All The Right Moves" is assisted by performances that are sincere and occasionally, even moving. Cruise and Chris Penn provide good lead performances, while even Lea Thompson shows what she was capable of before she started her inane sitcom, "Caroline in the City". Overall, this isn't a particularly memorable film, but it has fine performances and remains a sincere look at a group of kids trying to escape small town life and make something more for themselves.
VIDEO: "All The Right Moves" is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen by 20th Century Fox. Age and low-budget may play a factor, but either way, "All The Right Moves" has not aged very well at all. Sharpness and detail are lackluster and vary from fair to poor in the darkest scene.
The list of problems with the image is a bit lengthier than I'd like, which is unfortunate, considering that this picture has a considerable fan base. Some stretches can look fairly clean (and the movie does start too look consistently cleaner in the second half), but a sizable amount of this film showed mild-to-heavy grain. The opening credits look particularly worn, while instances of marks and specks appear throughout several scenes during the remainder.
The film seems to have a subdued color palette in the first place, but colors still looked rather faded here on occasion. Overall, this is a decent transfer, but there are patches of the film that appear worn. A funny note: "Twister" and "Haunting" director Jan De Bont was the cinematographer on this film.
SOUND: I was startled to see that the film has apparently been remixed in Dolby Digital 5.1 for this DVD release. Yet, the track provides almost exactly what I expected from the film's audio, which essentially stays mono for the entire film. The original mono presentation is also included, but doesn't sound too much worse than the 5.1 presentation, which remains slightly clearer throughout.
MENUS: Very basic film-themed images serve as backgrounds.
EXTRAS: Not a whole lot: the film's theatrical and Spanish trailers as well as trailers for "Less Than Zero", "Taps" and "Say Anything".
Final Thoughts: "All The Right Moves" is a fairly entertaining drama that uses familiar elements, but develops the characters enough and offers strong enough performances from the actors that I was involved. Fox's DVD is a nicely priced ($19.99 or less) effort, but the picture does show its age noticably at several points, while the sound is only fair and supplements minimal. Still, Cruise fans may want to check it out.