- Movie Rating -

Over the Edge (1979)

| May 18, 1979

I don’t know what kind of movie the producers of Over the Edge were hoping to sell here but based on the movie’s poster, they’re hoping that people will think that it is one of those horror movies where all of the kids are possessed and take revenge on their restrictive parents.  That’s not this movie at all.  This is yet another teen rebellion movie about disaffected suburban kids who have too many restrictions and too much time on their hands and start doing things that their parents forbid.  This is the Youth-Gone-Wild formula yet again, left over from the 1950s, it is now transported to the post-Vietnam years of the 1970s.

Up to this point in 1979, there’s been The Warriors, Boulevard Nights, A Little Romance, The Wanderers and Rich Kids.  The best so far has been Boulevard Nights while the worst has been The Warriors and seated somewhere in between Over the Edge a well-intentioned, half-track drama that doesn’t quite reach the heights that it aspires to.

The movie takes place in fictional suburb where the kids have nothing to do an no place to go except the local rec center where their activities are closely monitored.  Breaking out of that closeted scene, the kids feel their rebellious spirit elsewhere, down the street, or near the highway where they can play their music, experiment with drugs and cause a little PG-rated trouble.  The parents are not blind to this situation but the tipping point comes when one of the kids dents a police cruiser with an air rifle.  This gets the ball rolling and the police and the parents decide to crack down, leading to tragedy.

The parents want to rid the town of the rec center and put up a new business district, thereby alienating the local youth.  This leads to a stand-off between the kids and their authority figures in what amounts to a fantasy sequence that frankly I didn’t believe.

What works in Over the Edge are the kids, whose passions seem real and whose problems seem very deep.  What does work are the portraits of the parents as hardbound authority figures whose outlook on the kids is more military than parental. There is never a relationship between parent and child that seems to come from a place of love, only from a what-I-say-goes kind of mandate.

That’s too bad because the screenwriter really seems to care what happens to these kids.  They seem individual and their problems don’t seem unusual.  I just wish that the destination of their story was as well thought out.  It seemed to be tipping toward an audience-pleasing conclusion that just threw the reality off the map.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1979) View IMDB Filed in: Uncategorized