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By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Directed by Richard Donner
J2 Communications 1980 DVD/VHS Feature Film
A jaded character in this touching and well-acted film notes that the world is comprised of three types of persons losers, suckers, and whores. Roary, who has survived a suicide attempt (he jumped off the tenth floor of a building) believes that the value of friendship and the rewards of community more than compensate for the negative sides of human nature.
This young man finds a new lease on life at Max's, an Oakland bar frequented by other disabled persons. They include Jerry the bartender who has a bum leg, Stinky who is blind, Blue Lewis who is paralyzed from the waist down, and Wings who has no hands. The latter three use humor as a way of transcending their physical impairments. Jerry and Roary become best friends. They are mutually buoyed up when a pro basketball player loans Jerry the money for an operation to fix his leg. Once healed, Jerry becomes a basketball star fulfilling a lifelong dream. But in the process, he deserts his old friends by acting as if they never existed.
Richard Donner has drawn out very affecting performances from John Savage as Roary, a sad person who turns his wrecked world around; David Morse as the self-centered Jerry; Diana Scarvid as Roary's girlfriend who overcomes her inner fears about loving him; and Bill Henderson, Bert Remsen, and Harold Russell who prove that you've got to have miles of heart to survive the pain and isolation of living with a disability.
Inside Moves is 1980's Rocky, a film that celebrates human solidarity and the true meaning of friendship. Valerie Curtin and Barry Levinson's screenplay sometimes seems a bit too tidy, given the messy ethical issues it covers. Nonetheless, the story manages to convince us that even so-called losers can be winners in the things that matter most.
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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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