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30 years later, 'Vision Quest' still takes us to the fringe

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Published Feb. 17, 2015

I miss movies like Vision Quest. The 1985 movie, starring Matthew Modine, Linda Fiorentino and the ever-elusive Michael Schoeffling, turns 30 years old this week.

Released on Feb. 15, 1985 (the same day as The Breakfast Club), Vision Quest followed Spokane, Wa., high school wrestler Louden Swain (Modine), who decides he wants to set the bar high his senior year. He wants to take on Shute (Frank Jasper), a hulk of a teen who's never been defeated in the ring. His teammates, friends and family think he's lost his mind. And maybe he has. At least he's not distracted by any girls, right? Ah yes, enter Fiorentino as an older woman passing through town when she decides to rent a room with the Swain family. Thankfully, Louden has the advice of his new best friend and teammate (Schoeffling), who thinks he's an Indian, to fall back on.

Cue the Madonna songs. Really.

Roger Ebert, while admitting the storyline is pretty pedestrian, gave Vision Quest 3 1/2 stars, writing: "All of those characters are written, directed and acted just a little differently than we might expect; they have small roles, but they don't think small thoughts."

Vision Quest maintains a barely acceptable 58 percent Fresh Rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Still, our generation clings to it for its honest characters and amazing soundtrack, which featured songs by Madonna, Journey, Dio, Sammy Hagar and Red Rider (whose Lunatic Fringe still gives us chills).

Here are five things you probably didn't know about Vision Quest.

1. The movie's title was a little odd. As it's explained in the movie, a vision quest is Native American term for the search for one's purpose in live. In Australia and the UK, the movie was retitled Crazy for You.

2. This was Linda Fiorentino's first feature film and it came on her very first audition.

3. J.C. Quinn, who portrays Louden's friend and the cook in the hotel, would reunite with Modine, this time playing his father in 1989's Gross Anatomy.

4. Fans of wrestling often take issue with the scoring and details of the wrestling bouts in the movie. Little stuff mostly, like the location and color of the referee's wristbands and incorrect scoring during the bouts.

5. Vision Quest was the third movie appearance for Michael Schoeffling, with his biggest role being Jake in Sixteen Candles the year before. Schoeffling would leave the movie business entirely after 1991. He's believed now to be the owner of a handcrafted furniture business in the Northeast.