This movie has a good young cast. From this point on the word "good" will no longer appear in this review. This movie is more like a "nice try" picture. As these types of pictures go, it is cliche ridden and dial down the center. From the opening shot of the film one thing is clear: there is a factory, and it does not look like a slap happy good time to work there.
Young Tom Cruise plays Stef, a factory worker's son in a factory workers' town. The only way out of this town, hence not working at the factory the rest of your life, is to get a football scholarship to college. Stef happens to be good at football, so he won't have to work at the factory right? Well, it is clear that he and the coach (Craig T. Nelson) are not always on the same page. So, of course, the pressure is building. The best schools aren't calling, his girlfriend (Lea Thompson) won't sleep with him, and his best friend (Chris Penn, also a football player) is having a baby (which means he will work in the factory). Something has to give? It does, in the big game. Where else?
This movie is just perfectly ordinary. The attempt to get into the characters mostly makes no sense. And when it does it is just typical diologue we have heard a thousand times before. It seemed like Cruise was almost forced to self-destruct and then someone decided that it couldn't end on a downer. The ending is laughable it is so forced and out of place. With a cast like this, given they were young, I expected more.
So why did Cruise do this movie? Good question. He made another film the same year that dealt with similar subject matter, a teenager trying to get into college and the powers that are working against him. It is called Risky Business and it successful in all the areas that All the Right Moves fails. See Risky Business, forget this movie. I'm sure Cruise would like to.