Teenage Wasteland – Rediscovering ‘Foxes’ (US 1980 – 106 mins)

Posted in Rediscover by - February 26, 2015
Teenage Wasteland – Rediscovering ‘Foxes’ (US 1980 – 106 mins)

A first-rate drama that’s both well acted and memorable, ‘Foxes’ holds a special place in the heart for many of those who saw it growing up. It wasn’t your typical high-school drama, and was not afraid to realistically deal with topics including drug addiction and unwanted pregnancy, while also throwing in some teenage tragedy.

The story centers on a group of four teenage girls and their problems, in the Hollywood Boulevard area of Los Angeles during the late 1970s. The sensible and caring Jeanie (Jodie Foster) is the glue that binds the group together, while the unpredictable Annie (Cherie Currie) is battling a drug and alcohol problem, while trying to steer clear of her abusive father. In the background are Deirdre (Kandice Stroh) a boy-mad diva, and finally Madge (Marilyn Kagan), an overweight and angry virgin. Feeling alienated from the adult world, they spend their time partying and arguing with their parents, until one fateful night when Annie foolishly accepts a lift from a strange married couple.

‘Foxes’ is one of the better and certainly more realistic movies about the trials of teenage friendship, and director Adrian Lyne does a wonderful job with his talented cast. Lyne would later hit the big time with the hugely popular ‘Fatal Attraction’ (’87) and ‘Indecent Proposal’ (’93). In her first movie in three years, Jodie Foster is very good in a part that hardly stretched her talents. While both Kandice Stroh and Marilyn Kagan are also noteworthy, the real revelation here was Cherie Currie (lead vocalist of ‘The Runaways’) as the wayward Annie, who steals every scene she’s in. Currie was excellent and completely natural as the doomed drug addict. The climactic scene where Annie accepts a lift from a predatory couple is superbly handled and quite scary to watch. Scott Baio (Foster’s co-star from ‘Bugsy Malone’) has a sizable role as skateboard-loving Brad, who harbours strong feelings for the troubled Annie, to little effect. The adult cast included cult actors Randy Quaid and Sally Kellerman, while 60’s pop idol Adam faith appears in a cameo as Foster’s absent father.

The excellent soundtrack featured music from Donna Summer and Janice Ian, as well as a score by Italian synthesizer king, Giorgio Moroder. The photography by Michael Seresin was memorable in that it sometimes made the movie look like a commercial, employing a dreamy soft-focus style. Seresin had previously shot Alan Parker’s ‘Midnight Express’ (’78), and later the atmospheric thriller ‘Angel Heart’ (’87).

While everybody was watching ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ and ‘Airplane!’, ‘Foxes’ came and went without leaving much cinematic imprint. But, featuring several strong performances and a memorable one from Cherie Currie, it remains a realistic portrait of the trials of teenagers growing up, and is a minor gem well worth rediscovering.

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