Wednesday, April 17, 2013

O is for (The) Outsiders

Parachute pants, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Growing Pains, L.A. Gear, Breakfast Club....what do all of these have in common? They all helped define the 80s. Come take a fun "Journey" with me as we revisit the totally radical decade.

I grew up reading YA novels, and S.E. Hinton is one of my all-time heroes. Her novel, The Outsiders, painted a vivid 1965 world where social status dictated everything. Huh, not much has changed. The book and the movie center around Ponyboy Curtis and Johnny, two friends known as The Greasers. They live on the rough side of town, and they're known for their tough exteriors and greasy hair.

Then there's the Socs, the socialites of the day. Rich and snobby. They drive nice cars and are the football players and cheerleaders of the high school.

The two sides constantly clash, and then one night, things get out of hand and Johnny kills one of the Socs in self defense.

Susan Eloise Hinton wrote this coming-of-age novel while in high school. Her classmates and a teacher encouraged her to continue to write and improve her story, and it was published while Hinton was still a freshman in college. The publisher decided to abbreviate her name, since boys wouldn't want to read a boys book written by a woman. Interestingly, that truth still exists today (i.e. J.K. Rowling).

The 1983 film adaptation was a smash hit as well. Just look at all the young actors that would one day become huge stars: Patrick Swayze, Emilio Estevez, Ralph Macchio, C. Thomas Howell, Matt Dillon, Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe, Diane Lane. Hell, Leif Garrett is even in it - as a Soc that gets stabbed to death by Johnny.

Directed by Francis For Coppula, the movie propelled both the novel and these up-and-coming actors.

The theme song is one my all time favorites too. Stevie Wonder captures the movie and the central theme of the book/movie which is inspired by Robert Frost's poem, Nothing Gold Can Stay. I had to memorize this poem in middle school. Do they still have kids do that in English class? 

I don't think so, which is sad.


21 comments:

Riann Colton said...

I love this movie. Love it. Love it.

And the book still flies off the shelf. Not sure if it's recommended reading or what but it's one of the more restocked books in my (former) store out of the YA section (new bestsellers not included).

What astounds me is that all the majority names are still around. They made it through the dreaded teen acting years.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

I read the book less than two years ago. It was really good.

Cynthia said...

What's really cool about the movie is that I got to see all these actors when they were still fairly new to the industry.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It was impressive how many up-and-coming stars were in that movie.

Brinda said...

I loved the book and the movie. I'd forgotten who played the parts. Nice to remember.

farawayeyes said...

I know this book and movie, as a matter of fact it had a rather profound effect on my family. I had forgotten the song though. Thanks.

Melanie Schulz said...

Not only was this a great book, but it was one of the few movies that actually captured the heart of the book.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Just saw another post about The Outsiders - loving all the reminders/memories about good books and movies from my past. :)

Shell Flower said...

I have read the Outsiders sooo many times. S.E. Hinton was one of my heroes as a teen for writing this book so young. I recently listened to the audiobook and it was awesome, too. What ever happened to C. Thomas Howell? Many of those guys were also in Red Dawn, another awesome 80's movie.

Pk Hrezo said...

Stay gold, Ponyboy!

This was my favorite book as a teen. Loved the rawness of it. And of course it didnt hurt that the film was loaded with cute guys. lol

Nick Wilford said...

Not seen the movie or read the book, but now I will be keeping both in mind!

michelle said...

Stevie Wonder is one of my favourite artists!
I'm an 80's fan and so I scrolled through some of your posts to see what I missed.
I had a good chuckle thinking about the hairstyles - the perm was very fashionable and I can remember going for that treatment a few times...
Who can forget the launch of MTV? And I agree about Level 42. Definitely underrated. What a shame. I've yet to hear a slap bassist like Mark King! And their catchy tunes still go down well today.

Writer In Transit

Robin said...

I posted about the book. And I just read another posting about the movie. Popular post for today. This book is downright amazing. I said a lot more than that in my post. The movie is as good as a movie from a book can be. The cast is excellent. I was just really attached to this book, so no movie could really do it justice...

Powdered Toast Man said...

For my sister's bday last year I wrote in her card "stay gold ponyboy" and she didn't know what it meant!!

Great theme idea.

Shawn Yankey said...

I love The Outsiders, plus you picked a great scene to highlight!
Shawn at Laughing at Life 2

Tony Laplume said...

The closest I've come to The Outsiders is performing a short scene for a theater class in college.

David List said...

I'd forgotten how many young actors are in that movie. I'll have to check it out again.

DiscConnected said...

This was the second post on this film I saw today.

I was a kid when I read the book, so that resonated with me more.

A lot of young stars in that film...

The Desert Rocks said...

I remember I loved this book but I thought it was written about my school. LOL

Jay Noel said...

My high school was definitely segregated, but it was more Breakfast Club than Outsiders.

Melissa Bradley said...

I love this novel and the movie was an important part of my childhood along with The Breakfast Club. Patrick Swayze made one hell of a big brother, didn't he? Between this one and Red Dawn.

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