MICKEY ROURKE | I THOUGHT TALENT WOULD TRANSCEND MY OUTSPOKENESS

1983 — Mickey Rourke, Motorcycle Boy, Coppola’s “Rumble Fish”  — Image by © John Springer Collection/CORBIS

 

Mickey Rourke – the most raw, intense, riveting actor of the 1980s, who slowly self-destructed before our eyes. He gained a reputation for having a chip on his shoulder, and through his pride and bravado burned a lot of bridges in the biz. Rourke brashly looked down his nose at his peers, insisting that he wouldn’t sell-out – he was pure and uncompromising. Back when Rourke was coming up on the heels of of heroes- De Niro, Pacino, Keitel, Walken – he was too young, too full of himself, and too foolish to know that at the end of the day, it’s a business before anything else – and politics reigns supreme.

Rourke then made few questionable film choices with 9 1/2 Weeks and Wild Orchid and suddenly he was no longer Hollywood’s prized young lion – he was branded sleazy Euro-trash. Disillusioned with it all, Rourke walked away – choosing to fight the inner demons that had dogged him all his life in the boxing ring.  Ironically, it was in the ring again, that Rourke fought like hell for his esteem and redemption as “Randy the Ram”, a disfigured down-and-out wrestler – and came out on top. Hollywood couldn’t have written a better comeback – in a seemingly hopeless situation, hope and hard work can get you through.

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1983 — Mickey Rourke, Motorcycle Boy in “Rumble Fish” — Image by © Sunset Boulevard/Corbis

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1983 — Matt Dillon and Mickey Rourke in Francis Ford Coppola’s “Rumble Fish”

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Vintage Dillon, as in Matt Dillon.

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So– we can’t really talk about The Outsiders without acknowledging who was the King of 80’s teen cinema.  Even with the borderline unibrow he sported back then, Matt Dillon was undeniably King of the clearasil screen.   Yeah– I’m glad for Matt that he later found his comic side in films like There’s Something About Mary, and Herbie: Fully Loaded.  But personally speaking, I would much rather remember him as Moody in My Body Guard, Dallas in The Outsiders or Rusty James in Rumblefish.  The bad-boy Dillon as we knew back then ended with Drugstore Cowboy (directed by Gus Van Zant in 1989), which finally won him the critical acclaim and recognition he long deserved.

 

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BAND OF (THE) OUTSIDERS | THE CLASSIC COPPOLA TEEN ANGST FILM

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The Outsiders is a movie I grew up on– a tight-knit group of greaser misfits from Tulsa, Oklahoma (circa 1966) just trying to survive the only way they knew how.  The film was originally released to mixed reviews– a lot of people seemed upset that Coppola would choose to do a movie about teen angst– but Coppola never truly meant it to be about that at all — his intensions were probably not what you’d think. What inspired Coppola was, believe it or not,  a middle school class (who were fans of The Godfather) that wrote to him about making a new sort of gangster film — based on novel they had read, The Outsiders.  Coppola read the book himself, and was moved to not only do The Outsiders– he also adapted Rumble Fish, starring Micket Rourke and Matt Dillon, into a movie the year after.  It’s a classic that launched a lot of guy’s careers.  It’s also a must-see for vintage, tough as nails, greaser-style, denim looks.

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In the scene where the boys are in the street getting excited for the rumble, Tom Cruise does a standing back tuck off of the top of a truck. Patrick Swayze coached him beforehand on how to do it. Right before the scene was to be filmed, Cruise nervously approached writer S.E. Hinton and said he was afraid he was not going to be able to do it, because he felt nauseous from eating too much at lunch. Hinton asked if him if he thought he would feel better if he threw up, and Cruise said that he thought so. Hinton took him to the food truck and made him drink raw eggs until he threw up, resulting in Cruise feeling much better and doing the stunt without a problem.
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