“My name’s Louden, Louden Swain. Last week I turned 18. I wasn’t ready for it. I haven’t done anything yet. So I made this deal with myself. This is the year I make my mark.” I recently purchased the Vision Quest soundtrack album at an antique mall for just $3. With such classics as “Only the Young” (Journey), “Change” (John Waite), “Shout to the Top!” (The Style Council), “Gambler” (Madonna), “Hungry for Heaven” (Dio), “Lunatic Fringe” (Red Rider), “I’ll Fall in Love Again” (Sammy Hagar), “She’s on the Zoom” (Don Henley), “Hot Blooded” (Foreigner) and “Crazy for You” (Madonna), I think it was a steal. In fact, the soundtrack itself might actually be better than the movie! Matthew Modine portrays high school wrestler “Louden Swain” in this above-average, coming-of-age flick. After turning 18, Louden decides to set the lofty goal of dropping two weight classes and defeating “Brian Shute” (Frank Jasper), a three-time state wrestling champion from a rival school. Things start to get complicated when Louden falls for “Carla” (Linda Fiorentino, in her film debut), a down-and-out artist renting a room from his father (Ronny Cox). J.C. Quinn (Barfly) practically steals the show as “Elmo the Cook,” who delivers an inspirational speech to convince Louden to pursue his dreams (“You ever hear of Pele?”). Directed by Harold Becker, Vision Quest was based on a 1979 novel of the same name by Terry Davis and filmed in Spokane, Washington. The supporting cast includes Michael Schoeffling (“Jake Ryan” from Sixteen Candles) as “Kuch,” Charles Hallahan as “Coach,” Daphne Zuniga as “Margie,” Forest Whitaker as “Balldozer” and Roberts Blossom (Deranged) as “Grandpa.” Also look for Madonna singing in the bar scene.
Useless Trivia: Vision Quest was released in the United Kingdom and Australia as Crazy for You.
remember being in Coney Island the day that Luna Park burned to the ground. The year was 1944. I was a boy. But there was a sudden stirring on the beach, a movement away from the surf to the boardwalk, and then great clouds of black smoke piling into the cobalt sky. You could hear voices: Luna Park’s on fire. People were running then, and we could hear the sirens of the Fire Department and saw high arcs of water rising in a beautiful way and falling into the flames. Reporters were there and photographers with Speed Graphics, all of them wearing hats with press cards stuck in the rims, just as they did in the movies. We watched for hours, drawn as New Yorkers always are to the unity of disaster, and saw the rides and buildings collapse into black, wet rubble until there was no more Luna Park. The next day, we read all about it in the newspapers, and I felt for the first time that peculiar New York sensation: Something that was once in the world is now gone forever.