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License to Drive(1988)
Les doesn't have a driving license yet, but to impress his gorgeous date Mercedes he borrows his grandpa's Cadillac for a night out... and has to witness the poor car going through more and more intense maltreatments.
For more about License to Drive and the License to Drive Blu-ray release, see License to Drive Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on January 17, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, Carol Kane, Heather Graham, Grant Goodeve, Richard Masur
Director: Greg Beeman
» See full cast & crew
License to Drive Blu-ray Review
The pinnacle of "guilty pleasure" cinema.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, January 17, 2012
God giveth, and the DMV taketh away!
Ah, "The Coreys," -- Corey Haim and Corey Feldman -- the late 1980s performers who were two of their era's most popular stars and, together, formed a Midas-like dynamic duo that could collectively touch anything and turn it into gold, their chemistry knowing know genre or stylistic bounds, their films some of the more cherished that decade has to offer. They're certainly best know for their buddy-up work in the fabulous Vampire flick The Lost Boys, but License to Drive, a Comedy following hot on the heals of Joel Schumacker's Horror film, is almost every bit that movie's equal in terms of actor chemistry, storytelling enthusiasm, and cinematic energy. The movies are two very different animals to be sure, but The Coreys work their magic here, too, and go a long way in making the movie more than a viable time killer, instead shaping it into a fantastic Comedy that sees the actors only improve upon a strong foundation made of a great script, strongly-conceived characters, snappy dialogue, steady direction, and incessant humor.
I've bumped into her a million times, she's never bumped into me once.
Les Anderson (Haim) is a flashy and buoyant sixteen-year-old who has only one thing on his mind: driving. He's talked his dad (Richard Masur) into buying him a new $23,000 BMW, a deal that's signed, sealed, and delivered: all that's left is for Les to pass his driver's test, both the written and field halves. Hey, no sweat, even if he did sleep through driver's education, right? Les shows up for the test confident and cocky. He answers the first question correctly -- this will be a breeze! -- and then they become progressively more difficult. He ultimately fails the test, but accidentally causes a room-wide computer failure, effectively deleting all of the results. Rather than force him to take it again, he's granted a passing grade; after all, his brilliant sister Natalie (Nina Siemaszko), who finished the test rather quickly, scored perfectly, so why wouldn't Les? Unfortunately, the results from the computerized test turn back up, and before he can say "eight cylinder," Les is stripped of his license. That hurts. A lot. He's grounded for lying when his parents find out, and he can forget about that BMW, too. It especially hurts considering that he's managed to land a date with the prettiest girl in school, the girl of his dreams, Mercedes (Heather Graham). Humiliated by his failure and unwilling to tell anyone -- even his best friend Dean (Feldman) -- the truth, he decides to sneak out of the house in his grandfather's prized 1972 Cadillac and show Mercedes that Les Anderson has a license to drive and that he's the right guy for her after all. What could possibly go wrong?
It's punks like you the paramedics end up scraping off the road at four in the morning.
What's one word to sum up License to Drive? "Fun." The movie is uncannily entertaining in its depiction of a teenager dealing with the ups and downs of one night where his two wildest dreams -- dating the sexy Mercedes and cruising around town in, well, in whatever has four wheels, a seat, and a key he can gets his hands on -- collide. What makes it even more entertaining is that Les knows he's out of his league on both accounts: why would the glamourous Mercedes want anything to do with a nobody like him, and why would a perfectly good teenager risk it all to get behind the wheel when he's just failed his driver's exam hours earlier? Well, the answer is relatively simple: the mind of a teenager can lead its body to do some pretty wild and crazy things in the name of a good time and, far more critical to Les' story, to fulfill two longtime dreams in one shot, to metaphorically kill two birds with one stone for a night he'll never forget. But no matter what might happen on that fateful eve, he'll have to some how, some way, by his own skill and determination or with a whole lot of luck, come out of it no worse for the wear and, just maybe, get the girl and have a good laugh out of the entire adventure when the sun comes up and the physical damage and emotional trauma have settled in and been throughly assessed by all interested parties.
I'm dead, I'm so dead they're going to have to bury me twice.
Just as impressive as its catchy and quick story is that License to Drive is done very well in each additional critical area. Though it may not be a top movie in an absolute sense, it nevertheless defines the fun and light Comedy movie experience. The acting is top-tier all around and the characters are simple but very well rounded nevertheless. Each character is likable and comes across as a real person rather than an empty puppet that merely plays a part in a larger whole. Corey Haim nails the part of a starstruck kid who's as much in love with the idea and action of driving as he is with his date. He's flamboyant but not overly so, which makes him a cinch to be one of those characters who audiences can relate to, cheer for, and embrace, even as he makes questionable decisions -- but not with any sort of belligerence in mind -- only because he's a kid with a dream that's been building and building and that's shot down in one tragic moment. He just wants to live his life and enjoy the privileges of coming-of-age, whether he's earned them outside of his own mind or not. The movie morphs from a character-driven Comedy to something of a light Action/Disaster flick in its final act, but License to Drive proves remarkably well-rounded and slickly built from the top down. There's not a dull moment and certainly not a scene or line that doesn't fit in perfectly within the whole. License to Drive is pretty much the perfect Comedy, a movie that forces nothing but flows with a natural progression well beyond the capabilities of most of its genre brethren.
License to Drive Blu-ray, Video Quality
License To Drive pulls onto Blu-ray with a steady and nice looking 1080p image, particularly considering it's an aging catalogue title being released through a secondary distributor and arriving with little fanfare. The image is perhaps a touch soft in places, but it's predominately crisp, delivering steady details amidst strong clarity and a slight grain structure. Faces tend to favor a slightly soft edge, but general elements -- clothes, the car, odds and ends around the Anderson house -- enjoy satisfactory texturing. Colors are fine, neither vibrant nor dull, enjoying a middle-pack shading that handles everything from the baby blue Caddy to natural green vegetation nicely. Blacks are fine, but not as deep and true as is often seen in newer titles. The print is in good shape, sporting only the occasional nick or spot. All told, this isn't a demo-worthy transfer, but fans of the movie should be ecstatic with the results nevertheless.
License to Drive Blu-ray, Audio Quality
License To Drive zooms onto Blu-ray with a good, but occasionally underwhelming, Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack. Music delivery is a strength; the track yields fair clarity but solid spacing -- including a noticeable surround element -- throughout, whether the opening title tune, the background beats of a club scene in chapter nine, the rousing Sinatra, or the famed Billy Ocean track that plays over the end credits. The action scenes late in the movie feature the screechy, crunchy sounds of twisting metal and crashing car with crisp accuracy and body. However, a few sound effects -- a bus crashing through an alleyway early in the picture -- sound a bit crunchy and indistinct. Ambient effects are minimal, but heavier atmospherics -- the piercing honking of a horn that settles into the backside of the soundstage -- are quite precise and satisfying. Dialogue is smooth and plays from the center, never lost to competing elements. The track is hardly memorable -- in a way it matches the video in that regard -- but again the lossless presentation is a clear step above previous home video offerings.
License to Drive Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Unfortunately, License To Drive contains only two supplements. The Making of 'License to Drive' (480p, 7:03) is a vintage piece that features cast and crew interview snippets surrounded by numerous clips from the film. Also included is the film's theatrical trailer (480p, 2:26).
License to Drive Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
License To Drive is a contagiously fun little Comedy that features everything in perfect, working order. The script is great, the direction is smooth, the acting is strong, the characters are memorable, the laughs come nonstop, and the action is entertaining. It's the very definition of a "fun" movie. It tells a very simple story to which any teenager or parent of a teenager may relate, let alone anyone who's ever been in love or loved to drive. Anchor Bay's Blu-ray release of License to Drive features good video and audio but is sadly lacking in extras. Still, it comes very highly recommended.
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