Friday, July 7, 2017
LICENSE TO DRIVE (1988)
Directed By: Greg Beeman
Written By: Neil Tolkin
Cinematography By: Bruce Surtees
Editor: Wendy Greene Bricmont & Stephen Semel
Cast: Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, Heather Graham, Michael Manasseri, Nina Siemaszko, Carol Kane, Richard Mausr, James Avery, Grant Heslov, M.A. Nickles, Helen Hanft
A teen decides to go for a night on the town with his friends despite flunking his driver's test.
This film actually started out as a failed National Lampoon story/article. Even thought the premise seems simple enough to naturally write itself.
This 80's movie is the perfect teen fantasy for at the time. Though in a more comedic fashion. As the film revolves the right of passage of not only getting your driver’s license but also spending the night with your perfect dream girl. Who might end up being your first love or at least girlfriend. As well as teenagers obsession with cars.
The films is filled with the usual teenage hijinks and misunderstandings of films of this type. It’s more cute than anything else. The fllm really doesn’t have any style or substance. It is more of a product of it’s time.
The film plays like a less artistic teenage AFTER HOURS type film. Where a teenager has to deal with more adult problems but with very few circumstances and by day will be safe.
Nothing can really be taken serious. As most of the scenes involve a heightened reality. But pure comedy as nothing can be taken serious. The film isn't racy except for maybe one scene. Which is when Corey Feldman's character tries to take pictures of heather Graham's character topless while she is intoxicated and sleeping. Where it seems we get a glimpse of her bra but more in a quick cut. That watching it now puts a bad taste in your mouth. It was distasteful in it's day but seen more as going with the flow of teenage comedic hijinks at the time. So this move is pretty much more of it's time. Silly above all else. That is generally as bad as it gets as far as objectionable material. Unless you also want to take into account that heather graham's character is still in high school but dating a man who looks to be in his late 20's and very experienced eurotrash. Before she falls for Haim's character somewhat.
This was Heather Graham's first screen appearance and she does well in a role that is more written around her being eye candy. After this film I don't really remember her having an impact on screen with her performances other than DRUGSTORE COWBOY and then BOOGIE NIGHTS The film of course is rather tame by today's standards.
Corey Feldman comes off as a jerk not necessarily that great of a friend more as an antagonist, but I am guessing in trying to get the two Corey's together in a film. As Haim is he nice guy. You had to give Feldman a character who stands out and is the opposite. So here not cool still is much more the dominant character. He is more dangerous than Haim's and seems to be more Haim's ID. Which seems to be how their personalities at least film personas wise. Even though Corey Feldman auditioned for the lead role played by Corey Haim. Though supposedly he was allowed to pick his own wardrobe.
Though this film is aimed at girls finally getting to see their heartthrobs on screen together. This was at the height of their fame where they finally get to be the leads rather than supporting characters. And the film seems more marketed to their appeal with teenage girls when they were on all the teen heartthrob magazines and even had 1-800 phone lines and a workout video I believe. Though they were leading harder lives then we knew. The film seems more appealing to boys. As it plays out more like their fantasy.
The film is too silly to take seriously at all. Even the film making comes off as more bubbly and cute than anything else. Even as the film portrays mostly innocence yet tries to show a tangy side.
The film has plenty of stunt driving involved which is where most of the action takes place when the film isn't going for comedy. Making the driving seem more like a stunt itself before The FAST & FURIOUS MOVIES. Not so many car chases than trick driving overall. Constant car action that is fun, but not necessarily that amazing.
I admit I was interested in this film because I was somewhat interested in the Corey's when I was around 10. As they were close to my age and had seen them individually in plenty of movies at that point. So I knew who they were. They were a short lived Bob Hope and Bing Crosby type duo at height of their fame. Though no road movies. The other films that were big that they appeared in were THE LOST BOYS and the still strange DREAM A LITTLE DREAM. Where the roles were reversed. After those they did make plenty of movies together. Once their fame strayed. They mostly appeared in straight to video dreck.
One of those films was BLOWN AWAY (Not the Jeff Bridges starring thriller. This film was before it) that film is only really noteworthy for being a thriller where they played adult roles and one was hero the other a villain and is an erotic thriller that has a nude scene with Nicole Eggert her first and only. This was her trying to also shed her teenage image.
Trust me I know way too much about the Corey's and their film careers. As I have seen most of their resumes and unfortunately have watched them fall and try to revive their careers. For instance Neither of the Corey’s actually had a driver’s license during the filming.
This film is then at the height of their powers. It's a perfect example of marketing and very little substance. It's not a good film, but it also isn't terrible. It's dated and disposable. Yet mildly entertaining to watch.
The film has a recognizable adult cast to keep the adults entertained. Though clearly not meant for adults. We are just supposed to know who they are and know how they feel being stuck with an annoying child, but will still do anything for them.
Though a teenage film it is me one that is talked about much. At least it with much respect and isn't as reverted as the John Hughes movies or other popular teen comedies. Though it does hold a special place in my memory and luckily doesn't feel like it comes off more as an extended commercial or more substantial television movie. Though John Hughes was approached about directing the film. He supposedly wanted to cast Anthony Michael Hall and Molly Ringwald as the leads
It does show how films such as these were made and marketed and works as a kind of time capsule to show us what was in fashion and socially what teenage life was supposed to be or seen as at the time.
I will admit to finding this film as a guilty pleasure that has stayed with me overtime due to the brief time when the Corey’s were popular and also watching it on home video seeing Heather Graham in her first role and never forgetting her. As a young and impressionable young man. Helping to shape on screen beauty for me and many others that still is there.