Rumble Fish (1983) BEST
Set in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the film begins in a diner called Benny's Billiards, where local tough guy Rusty James is told by Midget that rival group leader Biff Wilcox wants to meet him that night in an abandoned garage lot for a fight. Accepting the challenge, Rusty James then talks with his friends: the wily Smokey, loyal B.J., and tall, nerdy Steve; who all have a different take on the forthcoming fight. Steve mentions that Rusty James' older brother, "The Motorcycle Boy," would not be pleased with the fight as he had previously created a truce forbidding gang fights, or "rumbles." Rusty James dismisses him, saying that the Motorcycle Boy (whose real name is never revealed) has been gone for two months, leaving without explanation or promise of return.
Rumble Fish (1983)
The two brothers and Steve head across the river one night to a strip of bars, where Rusty James enjoys briefly forgetting his troubles. The Motorcycle Boy mentions that he located their long-lost mother during his recent trip while she was with a movie producer, which took him to California, although he did not reach the ocean. Later, Steve and Rusty James wander drunkenly home, and are attacked by thugs, but both are saved by the Motorcycle Boy. As he nurses Rusty James again, the Motorcycle Boy tells him that the gang life and the rumbles he yearns for and idolizes are not what he believes them to be. Steve calls the Motorcycle Boy crazy, a claim which the Motorcycle Boy does not deny, further prompting Rusty James to believe his brother is insane, just like his runaway mother supposedly was.
Rusty James meets up with the Motorcycle Boy the next day in a pet store, where the latter is strangely fascinated with the Siamese fighting fish, which he refers to as "rumble fish." Officer Patterson suspects they will try to rob the store. The brothers leave and meet their father, who explains to Rusty James that, contrary to popular belief, neither his mother nor brother are crazy, but rather they were both born with an acute perception. The brothers go for a motorcycle ride through the city and arrive at the Pet Store, where the Motorcycle Boy breaks in and starts to set the animals loose. Rusty James makes a last-gasp effort to convince his brother to reunite with him, but the Motorcycle Boy refuses, explaining that the differences between them are too great for them to ever have the life Rusty James speaks of. The Motorcycle Boy takes the fish and rushes to free them in the river, but is fatally shot by Officer Patterson before he can. Rusty James, after hearing the gunshot, finishes his brother's last attempt while a large crowd of people converges on his body.
To mix the black-and-white footage of Rusty James and the Motorcycle Boy in the pet store looking at the Siamese fighting fish in color, Burum shot the actors in black and white and then projected that footage on a rear projection screen. They put the fish tank in front of it with the tropical fish and shot it all with color film. Filming finished by mid-September 1982, on schedule and on budget.
The film is all in black and white, except for a couple of piranha in a fish tank at the pet store; they're red and blue. That's a nice triple-play in the symbolism department, giving us the colors of the flag, the fishbowl of adolescence, the built-in urge to fight, and the danger of going belly up if you're removed from your environment. Piranhas as teenagers: Original, but it works.
It is no secret Coppola has not made a film to compete with anything he did in the seventies. It was said he lost his edge, but watching Rumble Fish (1983) and Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988) makes it evident his edge was intact.
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American actor Matt Dillon (1964) has had a successful film career has spanned over three decades. From his breakthrough performance in Francis Coppola's The Outsiders (1983) to his hilarious turn as an obsessed private investigator in There's Something About Mary, he has proven himself to be one of the most diverse actors of his generation. Dillon showcased his wide range of dramatic and comedic talents with an arresting performance as a racist cop in the critically acclaimed Crash (2004). It earned him nominations for an Oscar and other awards. 041b061a72