Over the Edge (1979)
Nobody listened. Nobody cared. Until the night they went "Over the Edge"
Ever find yourself thinking that kids suck? Ever think that kids were so much better and more respectful back in the day? Do you have anyone you'd like to instill a fear of children into? Well, this movie may tarnish your views of the happy-go-lucky younger folks, as this movie slowly turns your views from cute little spunky shenanigans into a weaponized militia of punks. Can this blast to the past show you a good time, or will you find your brain a battleground of chaos?
Way back in the 70's kids were pretty hardcore. Even in suburbia and housing developments in little towns that are just starting to grow, the kids can get pretty wild. The recreation center is pretty much the only place for these kids to really gather, but in a way that works out pretty well - it gives them somewhere to spend time and hang out with others just like them and keeping them (mostly) out of trouble. Granted, the kids are dropping more drugs than dubstep drops beats, but what else is a rebellious group of adolescents gonna do with nothing but a rec center to keep them busy? Of course, even amongst those kids there is gonna be the troublemakers - two of which end up shooting a cop car with an air rifle and cause a decent accident on the freeway. During the pursuit, the officer ends up picking up two kids who have nothing to do with it and putting whatever charges he can on them out of frustration - but of course, since they are so young nothing really to big is gonna come out of that.
Of course, the kids have their own things going as well. There's romances, there's the drugs, there's the every day stress of life as a kid. One doesn't seem to actually even be able to talk. During Some of these scenes, we get introduced to the fact that the kids like to party and have a good time - for the most part, they aren't thinking about the future, just the now and enjoying it. It doesn't really mesh with all their parents lines of thinking, but it's what they do. One of our lead characters even go's about trying to woo his own little love interest. Granted, the wooing ends up going somewhere after the kids find a gun and go have some quality time shooting some soda cans - where it turns out our lead is the best shot.
Now that we have established the fact the cops hate the kids, and that some of the kids are considered "bad seeds" and nuisances, we can introduce our next problem for the characters to solve. You see, a bowling alley and movie joint was supposed to go across form the rec center, but as it turns out that deal fell through and now some Texans want to turn it into an industrial park. Since the town wants to make a good impression to the potential buyers, the come up with the great idea of shutting down the rec center to get the kids out of there and prevent any potential trouble. This may have been a good idea, but instead it ends up to the start of a revolt amongst the kids. Tensions only rise even better when one of the kids starts ratting out others after striking a deal with the cops, and a cop shoots a kid who had a gun (even though it wasn't loaded). Will the town be able to withstand a full on heavy metal kid riot?
One of the best parts of this movie for me is the soundtrack. 70's and 80's makes up a good chunk of my go-to listening, so a soundtrack full of Cheap Trick is enough to make me enjoy what I'm listening to, regardless of what's going on in the movie. Besides that however, the song choice fits the movie pretty well, and the audio balance straddles the line of balance so you can hear everything you need to hear outside of a few whisper-quiet lines that are, well, whispered. Actors do a good job as well, particularly when you are trying to believe a bunch of drugged up kids are the majority of the screentime. They have youthful vigor, that particular adolescent attitude, and for the most part the main crew has some decent acting chops.
Plot here is what would probably make a modern parent cry themselves to sleep tonight. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm sure there are totally kids out there that act like this even today, and some of the issues that come up still happen for sure - such as a cop pulling the trigger on someone who is armed, but then getting nothing but accusing glances because the gun wasn't loaded - as though he would even be able to tell that in the moment. It's a solid plot, if not a bit dramatic, but having not lived back then I don't presume to make such crazy accusations of how kids acted. The main tenants you would expect to be shown in such a movie that wasn't just a modern "stupid humor" kind of flick are there though - the family interactions, the kids interactions, the interactions with 'the law', and of course the consequences.
There isn't much to talk about as far as costumes and sets here. Even effects work is pretty limited. See, maybe everyone didn't run around in short-cropped shirts showing off their abs as kids back in the day, but with how everything is presented in this movie as a realistic scenario inspired by (if not based on) true events, I make some logical assumptions that this very well would have been fashion at the time - which makes it very much the same to me as having modern day printed tees and jeans called "costumes." It's mostly fine though, as the attention is placed more upon the dynamics of the kids than any kind of cheesy effects, although we do get some over-the-top explosions and fires by the nearly Warriors like ending.
It's a decent flick, entertaining enough to merit a watch for those interested. Presentation and sound are all well done, and compared to some of the young actors of today there's a much better ratio of "believable" to "when did I start watching a B-movie" acting levels. If nothing else, it provides some solid social commentary for the time, some of which is even now still relevant, while keeping you from zoning out too much on the boredom front. Granted, parents may potentially never trust their kids again after watching this, but if that's the case then I kind of feel like they may not be fully understanding what some of the messages they can get out of this movie are trying to tell them.