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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Bullies can change for the better. Good friends stand up for each other. You don't have to be big and strong to stand up for yourself. Themes include empathy, courage, and integrity.
Positive Role Models
Lucas is intelligent, curious, honest, and bold, and he handles the fact that he's different from other kids with poise and grace. Maggie and Cap are kind and caring.
Violence & Scariness
High school football players bang into each other and get hurt in the course of practice and a game. Lucas is hospitalized after being caught in a football pileup. Bullying. Students speak of a music teacher who shot himself over unrequited love.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kissing in a dark movie theater. Naked boys (a micro-glance of buttocks is seen) speak of penis size and erections in the locker room. Lucas suggests a bully’s erection indicates homosexuality. In retaliation, the bully rubs hot massage cream on Lucas's genitals, although no nudity is seen. Brief shot of panties under a tennis skirt.
Lucas is attracted the new girl who is two years his senior and jealous when she falls for the very nice captain of the football team. There is clothed kissing and talk of going "to bed" and "doing it," but no one has sex. Lucas discusses Darwin and natural selection to explain sexual attraction. Cheerleaders suggest that they engage in sexual activity with football players on the bus to away games. Cheerleaders in short skirts gyrate and shimmy.
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One use of "f--k," plus "ass," "dick around," "hell," "pissant," "hard-on," and "s--t."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Lucas' unseen father is an alcoholic. References to teenage drinking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Lucas is a well-acted and well-scripted '80s coming-of age film that will be too mature for most tweens. Iffy behavior includes mockery, lying, and teen drinking. Parents are absent from children's lives. Profanity includes "f--k" and "s--t." Naked boys (a micro-glance of buttocks is seen) speak of penis size and erections in the locker room. Lucas suggests a bully's erection indicates homosexuality. In retaliation, the bully rubs hot massage cream on Lucas's genitals, although no nudity is seen. There's a brief shot of panties under a tennis skirt, and Lucas is hospitalized after being caught in a football pileup. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Though this movie takes its time developing, a terrific young cast and understated comic sensibility make this heartwarming mid-'80s sleeper a winner. Lucas is an honest portrayal of the highs and lows of adolescent life. Viewers may cringe and even laugh at Lucas' outrageous antics, but they'll also sympathize with him. That's because no matter how clever Lucas is at covering the pain of being rejected, he's still the outsider who desperately wants to fit in.
The supporting characters are impressively complex as well. In most films of this sort, Charlie Sheen's football player would be the obvious villain. Playing against type of the stereotypical coldhearted jock, Sheen's character looks out for Lucas, even while he's falling for the girl Lucas loves. The casting is good all around. Excellent early performances from Haim and Sheen, as well as Winona Rider in her film debut, do much to place this teen-angst film a cut above most.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.