Monday, November 23, 2009

Where the Day Takes You (1992, Marc Rocco)

Did you ever watch a movie when you were younger and have it stay with you in your subconscious without ever really coming to the forefront? Where the Day Takes You is a perfect example of this for me. I saw this film right when it came out on video in either '92 or '93. My sister would rent any new release that came out and usually I'd stop and watch for a few minutes and then carry on with my life. This film however I knew I wanted to watch from start to finish because a) it was rated R and I was only 12 and b) its cast consisted of all of my favorite teen actors growing up. Sean Astin from Goonies! My first love Alyssa Milano! Balthazar Getty from Lord of the Flies and Young Guns II! Ricki Lake from Hairspray! Hell, it even had The Fresh Prince! No way was I going to miss this one.

Where the Day Takes You follows King (Dermot Mulroney), a homeless twenty something in California who was just released from jail. In between interview sessions with a shrink (where he is paid $10 a pop), he lives with a group of homeless runaways he calls "his family". There's Little J (Balthazar Getty), a young runaway whose mouth gets him into a lot of trouble, Crasher (James Le Gros) who wants to leave and move to Texas and Greg (Sean Astin), a drug addict who means well but can't get control of his addictions. Brenda (Ricki Lake), another runaway introduces "the family" to Heather (Lara Flynn Boyle), who just ran away from Chicago. King and Heather start to have feelings for each other but after one of the family kills a local pimp, can they survive out on the streets with the cops after them?

If someone asked me to name a movie that really haunted me when I was younger, above all other films (well maybe not Pet Sematary), I would have to choose this film. The whole story of young runaways living day to day, panhandling, selling themselves, taking drugs, shooting each other, etc. Not a very uplifting movie. When you're 12 years old, it can be downright traumatizing. I escaped unscathed for the most part, though like I said before, there are scenes in this movie that have stuck with me and that I'll never forget. The one that instantly pops into my head is when Sean Astin's character wakes up in a pile of his own barf after shooting up. He then finishes out the movie with yack smeared all over the side of his face. Bleck! The other very vivid memory I had of the film was Will Smith (in his first film role) as a legless, homeless youth. There were some things about the film I forgot about until watching it again, the most prominent was the use of Buffalo Springfield's For What It's Worth, which fit the film perfectly. Overall this film is very realistic, gritty, scary, sad and brilliant. How they got such a great cast I will never know, but it made the movie. Everyone here plays their own down and out character perfectly. The film's urban cinematography couldn't have captured city life better and even Melissa Etheridge's songs were a good fit for the film. I highly recommend this film but it's not a happy movie. If any of you viewer's have even a fraction of the impact I had from this film then you'll understand.

TRIVIA - This film stars no less than 3 actors from the Young Guns series - Dermot Mulroney, Balthazar Getty and Christian Slater (who has a cameo here as a Social Worker).


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