Looking back at the scrappy and silly 1985 teen action drama
Those of us who lived and came of age in the 1980s no doubt find it amusing that the decade’s film, music and fashion have become objects for contemporary pop culture fetishists. But that’s how this train rolls. The common zeitgeist almost always becomes exotic, exciting, important.
Still, who knew that director Matthew (DRAGONSLAYER, writer of CRIMSON PEAK) Robbins’ earnest 1985 teen drama/crime caper THE LEGEND OF BILLIE JEAN would emerge as a classic. Certainly not the critics of the period who dismissed its heavy-handed metaphors and cartoonish social statements as kid stuff and fluff, nor the young people it was targeted towards, who mostly ignored it theatrically and got tired of its presence on home video and cable very quickly. And while time hasn’t healed the picture’s ample flaws, there’s an undeniable energy to the piece, with broadly drawn performances by a doozy of a cast and of course, there’s that thundering Pat Benatar song (“Invincible”) that weaves its way into the soundtrack of the film itself. Re-released by Mill Creek Entertainment as part of their retro VHS line of Blu-ray’s as the “Fair is Fair” edition, the movie is definitely worth a watch (or re-watch) and is anything but boring.