Earnest, warm, and often very funny, VISION QUEST features a finely etched performance by Matthew Modine as Louden Swain, an 18-year-old high school wrestler who is equally determined to lose his virginity and some 20 pounds--the latter so that he can take on the state's finest grappler,
168-pound champion Shute (Frank Jasper). While Louden embarks upon his "vision quest"--a physical and spiritual quest to find his place in the world--the film introduces the intriguing cast of characters who most influence him, including his father (Ronny Cox), a failed farmer-cum-auto mechanic,
and his friend and teammate Kuch (Michael Schoeffling). The two people who loom largest in Louden's life, however, are Shute and Carla (Linda Fiorentino), a 21-year-old art student from New Jersey who stays with the Swains while the car she just purchased is repaired and who initiates Louden into
the world of romance and sex. When she leaves abruptly, Louden contemplates abandoning his other obsession, but the cook at the hotel where he works (J.C. Quinn) persuades him not to give up. All of Louden's rigorous dieting and training pay off in his match against Shute, and guess who's come
back to witness his triumph? Although this finale isn't going to surprise anyone, VISION QUEST is full of patiently developed characters that have more to do with real life than movie scripts, distinguishing it from many similarly plotted big-finish sports films. What's more, the performances are
strong (including Madonna's film debut in a nightclub scene; DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN was released later the same year); the Spokane, Washington, setting is new and interesting; and the mat action is authentic (Modine spent four months preparing for the role--running, wrestling, and exercising).
Based on a novel by Terry Davis, this rites-of-passage tale is far from perfect but will leave few viewers disappointed.
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- Released: 1985
- Rating: R
- Review: Earnest, warm, and often very funny, VISION QUEST features a finely etched performance by Matthew Modine as Louden Swain, an 18-year-old high school wrestler who is equally determined to lose his virginity and some 20 pounds--the latter so that he can take… (more)