When your parents give you a name like Louden Swain, you had better learn to man up. Vision Quest finds a high school wrestler named Loudon Swain (Matthew Modine) at that important crossroads in life. He’s determined to do something meaningful (or at least interesting enough to talk about) with his existence (this was back in 1985, before guys his age started posting pictures of their abs on Facebook), so he decides to drop a few pounds and go toe-to-toe (or whatever they call it in wrestling) against a rival high school’s best student. Ambition or just another dumb kid being plain ol’ stupid? You decide.
That all changes once his father asks a young 21-year-old chick to stay at the house for a while. The lady in question, Carla (Linda Fiorentino, in her film debut), is one her way to San Francisco to become an artist (is that something you really become?), but has hit a “snag” in her itinerary — i.e. she’s broke. Although they have absolutely nothing in common, the lonely boy begins to fall for the beautiful lass, and his lovesick fervor for her begins to affect his personal fitness — and, more importantly, his health. Loudon’s strength (both physical and emotional) begins to weaken as he yearns to be with the polar-opposite sleeping in his old room, which could permanently damage his wellbeing.
A new ‘80s pop star by the name of Madonna has a cameo as a singer at a club in this adaptation of Terry Davis’ novel. Additional classic tracks by Journey, Sammy Hagar, Foreigner, Dio and more are also heard on the film’s iconic soundtrack (which is a must-own). Also appearing in this pop culture cult classic are Ronny Cox (as Modine’s dad), Harold Sylvester, Daphne Zuniga, Forest Whitaker, and even Roberts Blossom. All in all, Vision Quest is an “athlete drama” that has become all-too-typical in cinema. The movie is presented with a certain amount of earnestness and doesn’t rely on its own ego to sell itself, which is nice when compared to some of the jock flicks of today.
A few years back, Warner Brothers Home Entertainment released this ‘80s coming-of-age classic on DVD, albeit in a full frame transfer. Somewhere down the line, said DVD went out of print, resulting in the price of the disc going up, up, up. Fortunately, you won’t have to shell out the big bucks anymore if you’re looking to buy Vision Quest, as Warner has decided to re-release it under their Warner Archive Collection lineup of Manufactured-on-Demand titles. While the print may not be as rich and as crisp as you’d expect it to be, it’s still a pretty damn good presentation — and it’s also the first time the film has been released in widescreen, so that’s a plus.
The only special feature to be found here is the original theatrical trailer (which is presented full frame), which really sells the film’s soundtrack that much more — but also promotes the movie as if it were a romantic comedy!