Tuesday, December 27, 2011

John Cusack & Daphne Zuniga in The Sure Thing (1985)

College freshman, Walter Gibson (a very young Cusack) is having trouble finding girls at his new, eastern, Ivy League school. His attempts at seduction all fall flat. Meanwhile, Alison Bradbury (Zuniga) is having difficulty assimilating into college life. She's got the studying part down pat, but she hasn't been able to let go and live. When the two come together it's like oil and water. So when Walter's friend Lance (Thomas Edwards) invites him out to LA to meet a Sure Thing (Nicolette Sheridan) he jumps at the chance. He's less than pleased, however, when he finds that his ride-share includes Alison. On their journey across the country they're stranded, endure poverty and discover more about themselves - and each other. This, of course leads to love.
Rob Reiner has created something of a hybrid with this film. It has some elements of animal comedies like Animal House (1978), but they've been integrated into a very sweet traditional romantic comedy. The narrative is beautifully framed with scenes featuring Viveca Lindfors as Walter and Alison's English teacher. Look for a young Tim Robbins as an annoying member of the ride share.

You can find this film on DVD and on YouTube. It scores low on the Obscurity Factory scale, though still has overtones of obscurity probably because of it's quirky nature and unusual tone. It's not as prominent as films with similar subject matter from the era like the Porky's franchise. Above is part one, uploaded to YouTube by ilgizar93nur.

Obscurity factor: 2 (remembered, but rarely discussed and only occasionally screened, on DVD and YouTube)


  1. one of the authors of the screenplay is Jonathan Roberts who was also an author of The Official Preppy Handbook as well as one of the credited writers on The Lion King. I think what kept the film from being a huge hit was that it was too smart for its presumed target audience.

  2. Yes, that's an incisive comment. It was attempting to blend two different genres with very different audiences together.

  3. I saw this on a date when I was in high school and loved it; saw it again a few years ago and was surprised at how well it held up. And it contains one of my all-time favorite lines: "Does God exist? Who invented liquid soap and why?"

  4. I wasn't wild about it in HS, but enjoyed it on my recent viewing of it... Love that line too. I caught it while watching and it made me giggle.