I first read The Outsiders by S.E Hinton at school and I did think that it wasn’t ‘all that’ to be fair. Ok ok I actually thought it was a big pile of shit… not gonna lie. There were just too many pages, too many weird names and too many essays I had to write on the subject. Basically it was the fact that I had to study the book instead of enjoying the story which ripped out all the sweet contentment leaving me void of any thoughts or understanding of the novel. As far as I was concerned, this book was designed to ruin my social life (well... watching Grange Hill and Neighbours) and highlight to my English teacher that I really do not listen in class. It was only when I saw the movie recently that I got all over excited and wanted to read the book again... nearly 15 years later... and funnily enough I actually enjoyed it this time.
Let me break it down for you: It’s a ‘coming of age’ narrative focusing on the rivalry between 2 teenage gangs the Greasers and the Socs in the 1960s. The story follows the Greasers and the main character Ponyboy Curtis (rubbish name), his older brothers who have equally stupid names and their friends. There is an overriding theme of social economic issues, class struggle, youth cultures blah blah… but I am not about to pretend I know what I’m talking about. There is friendship, family, fighting, little boys trying to be men, people getting hurt and people dying. So just a standard family day out really.
The movie however is the funniest thing. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola (Legendary director of The Godfather nonsense movies), it’s essentially a who’s who of famous faces amongst the elite Hollywood A – Listers and a few from the original 80s Brat Pack, but from a time when they all look ridiculously young. Mentalist “I’m a creepy Scientologist please join my cult” Tom Cruise is in the mix, as is the late great Patrick Swayze, Matt Dillon, Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe and even the dude from the Karate Kid! (He doesn’t need a name… although he is in Ugly Betty at the moment which is random!)
So instead of the film having a profound effect on me, I pretty much sat there laughing at the youthful famous faces crap acting skills and pondering when Tom Cruise is actually gonna' come out' and quit the charade of a doting husband. We all know you like bum sex Cruise…
But I digress.
In short, the book is pretty good and the movie is urmmm interesting. BUT if you’re a fan of cringey but brilliant 80s movies with well-known actors trying to perfect their craft… then jump on it!