Fire with Fire (1986)

“Two lovers. One chance. No time.” In this offbeat teen romance directed by Duncan Gibbins, “Lisa Taylor” (Virginia Madsen), a beautiful student at a Catholic boarding school nestled in the mountains, falls in love with “Joe Fisk” (Craig Sheffer), a tough juvenile delinquent from a nearby prison work camp. Sparks fly and the young couple decides to run away together as both the nuns and the sadistic prison “Boss” (Jon Polito) freak out in this fairly entertaining melodrama supposedly based on a true story. You will probably recognize Sheffer from the classic 1987 teen drama Some Kind of Wonderful where he portrayed “Hardy Jenns,” one of the biggest assholes of 1980’s cinema. Madsen would go on to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role as “Maya” in Sideways (2004). The solid supporting cast includes D. B. Sweeney, David Harris, Kari Wuhrer, Jean Smart, Kate Reid and J. J. Cohen. Also look for Ann Savage, who portrayed the evil “Vera” opposite “Al” (Tom Neal) in the classic B-movie Detour (1945), as “Sister Harriet.” Tragically, Gibbins died at the age of 41 in 1993 as a result of severe burns he received in a Malibu, California, wildfire while attempting to rescue a stray cat near the guesthouse he was renting. Useless Trivia: Polito is perhaps best known among film buffs for his portrayal of gangster “Johnny Caspar” in Miller’s Crossing (1990).

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