Stefen “Stef” Djordjevic (Tom Cruise) is a high school defensive back who is both gifted in sports and academics seeking a college football scholarship to escape the economically depressed small western Pennsylvania town of Ampipe and a dead-end job and life working at the mill like his father and brother Greg. Ampipe is a company town whose economy is dominated by the town’s main employer, American Pipe & Steel, a steel mill struggling through the downturn of the early 1980s recession. The Ampipe football team will by the end of the season meet the undefeated Walnut Heights High School. Ampipe appears headed to win the game, when a fumbled handoff in the closing seconds-as well as Stefen’s pass interference penalty earlier in the game-leads to a Walnut Heights victory. Following the game, Coach Nickerson (Craig T. Nelson) lambastes the fumbler in the locker room, telling him he “quit”. When Stefen retorts that the coach himself quit, the coach kicks him off the team. In the aftermath, disgruntled Ampipe fans vandalize Coach Nickerson’s house and yard. Stefen is present and is a reluctant participant, but is nonetheless seen by Nickerson as the vandals flee. From there, Stefen deals with personal battles, including dealing with the coach blacklisting him among colleges because of his attitude and participation in the desecration of Nickerson’s yard and house…

“All The Right Moves” is amongst Tom Cruise´s first movies and he is convincing as Stefen “Stef” Djordjevic who thrives to be a scholar and get out of the grey, small steel mill town he comes from and become something else than his steelworker dad and brother. The coming of age feeling/vibe and the wish to get the hell out of your birth place is easy to relate to, which gives the movie a great sense of realness. I wound´t say that this is one of the best 80s high school movies, but there´s still a lot of good adolescence drama and everything that comes with it. Even if it feels like they tried to fill in as many boxes as possible. And the ending is quite expected. Craig T. Nelson is good as Coach Nickerson and the same goes for a young and radiant Lea Thompson. (3 out of 5)

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