Out of the Blue (2008)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Drama  |   Run Time - 94 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Tom Wiener

Taking its title from a lyric in Neil Young's ode to punk rock, "Hey Hey, My My", Out of the Blue, which uses Young's song on its soundtrack, offers a bleak and unsparing portrait of teenage life in the early '80s. Granted, the deck is stacked pretty high against Cindy Barnes, with Dad just returning from a prison sentence after he drunkenly crashed his school bus, and Mom a full-time junkie. Linda Manz is the scowling kid, a leather-jacketed update of James Dean's Jim from Rebel Without a Cause, a film her co-star and director Dennis Hopper played a small role in. Brilliant in supporting roles in Days of Heaven and The Wanderers, Manz seized her best chance yet at stardom and made this film her coming-out party. Unfortunately, she never got another role that used her talents so well. But the film did give Hopper his first opportunity in ten years to direct, and he acquitted himself nicely. Even if Out of the Blue was too much of a mood piece to connect with a large audience, it has lasting value as a time-capsule look at an era and at two careers.