One thing leads to another, sometimes with odd results: I was rereading Harlan Ellison after referencing him in my Meet the Bloggers profile, which led me to look up some TV shows on IMDb, which somehow led me to the Seventies PBS kids' show Electric Company, where I found out that one of the show's head writers was character actor Paul Dooley. Dooley has a special nostalgic place in my heart because he played the dad in the 1979 film Breaking Away, one of my all-time favorite films. Just writing about it now, I am fighting the temptation to go grab my old VHS copy (why haven't I bought the DVD yet?) and watch it again.

My family bought our first VCR in 1979 so my parents could tape and watch the 1980 Summer Olympics. One of the first movies we taped off the TV and watched repeatedly together was Breaking Away -- it was clean enough and charming enough for everyone in the family to enjoy. My boyfriend does not understand my love for this movie at all: we usually despise what we call "triumph of the human spirit" movies and the movie's big competition finale is the sort I usually deride for predictability (see my Take the Lead review as an example). Maybe it's because I grew up with this movie, but I don't think that's the only reason. Breaking Away won a well-deserved Oscar for Best Original Screenplay; it's not a typical sports movie by any means. I especially like the sequence in which Dave (Dennis Christopher) and Cyril (Daniel Stern) serenade Dave's sorority crush, which is intercut with shots of Dave's parents having dinner together.

The cast includes an impossibly young Dennis Quaid; Jackie Earle Haley, who played bad-boy Kelly in The Bad News Bears; Daniel Stern, in the days before he got sucked into the Home Alone franchise; and P.J. Soles, who also appeared that year as Riff Randell in Rock 'n' Roll High School. It's a lovely little film, and I can only recommend you gather your own family around and watch it together.
categories Cinematical