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The Outsiders Movie Critiqued Correctly

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The Outsiders did not fit the criteria of being one of the films of Francis Ford Coppola. Critics were largely unimpressed by the movie but did well enough at the box office. The Outsiders was based off the novel, published in 1967, by S.E. Hinton. It is about a character, Ponyboy, who lives with his two brothers, Darry and Sodapop. All of them battle class warfare along with their fellow group known as the Greasers, the poor kids, against the Socs, the rich kids. The movie by Francis Ford Coppola, The Outsiders, was correctly critiqued as unimpressive because it negatively gave viewers a different viewpoint on the stereotypes about teenagers, it did not have the same elements in comparison to the other Coppola films, and the presentation of the settings of the film was poor.

First off, the stereotypes of teenagers during this time period, the 1980s, were different from what was depicted in The Outsiders. “Still others, as it appears, had simply forgotten what it was like to be a teenager, when every tear is a veritable epic of pain” (Dargis 6). The movie broadcasted to the viewers that teenagers do different things and were actually different to what was actually thought about them. “It’s [The Outsiders] about class warfare between rich kids (the “Socs”) and poor kids (the “Greasers”)” (Ebert 3). The movie suggests that teenagers during the time period are always fighting against each other, always in gangs, and always looking for trouble. It gives a different point of view at teenagers when it is not even really true.

Additionally, Francis Ford Coppola’s films have much life in them and spontaneity, unlike The Outsiders because his style did not fit in to the movie. “The problem with seeing characters in a highly stylized visual way is that it’s hard for them to breathe and move and get us involved in their stories” (Ebert 5). Coppola’s filming style distracted the viewers from understanding the plot of the story by having odd features in the movie. “The thin narrative material for “The Outsiders” only adds up to a movie of 90 minutes, and even then there are scenes that seem to be killing time. Nothing that happens in the movie seems necessary; it’s all arbitrary” (Ebert 5). It is very strange for Coppola to have a film that only goes on for 90 minutes because his other works, like the “Godfather” and “Apocalypse Now”, played for 175 minutes and 153 minutes, respectively. It was not really of Coppola’s character of directing for this to happen. “He seems so hung up with his notions of a particular move “look,” with his perfectionistic lighting and framing and composition, that the characters wind up like pictures, framed and hanging on the screen” (Ebert 7). Coppola’s filming style and his need for perfection turned out to be bad and made The Outsiders not look that great because it was just not a good mix and combination and did not fit in well together.

Lastly, the settings of the movie were presented at a poor quality. “He seems to be struggling with some sort of fixation on the contrived Hollywood sound stage look of the 1950s; there are scenes in which he poses his two heroes against a lurid sunset and bathes them in backlights so improbably reddish-orange that the kids look like Gordon MacRae in Oklahoma” (Ebert 4). The settings of the scenes were so basic that the church Ponyboy and Johnny stayed in was just placed on a simple green field. Another example was during the sunset, the scene looked animated because they seemed like photographs.

The Outsiders, a movie by a great director Francis Ford Coppola, was correctly critiqued because it gave viewers a different perspective about the stereotypes of teenagers, it seemed really different in comparison to the other Coppola films, and the presentation of the settings of the film was poor. The only positive element this movie had was that it successfully told the story of The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. Viewers who did not read the novel most likely understood the story fully because of how great it was told. The Outsiders was my favorite novel to read and when I first saw the movie, I was impressed on how quickly I caught onto which characters were who but I was not impressed with the presentation itself.

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