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Across the Tracks

1 rating: 1.0
A movie directed by Sandy Tung

This frank drama contrasts the lives of two brothers who are opposite in a almost every way. Joe (Brad Pitt) is the perfect son and athlete obsessed with his dream of a track scholarship. His brother Billy (Rick Schroder) is a short-fused teenage rebel … see full wiki

Director: Sandy Tung
Release Date: 1989
MPAA Rating: PG-13
1 review about Across the Tracks

Across The Tracks - 1991

  • May 22, 2009
Pros: good representation of early career work, nice story value

Cons: somewhat cliche and slow

The Bottom Line:
Long_you_live and high_you_fly
And smiles you'll give and tears you'll cry
And all you touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be

This is an interesting film in that the two stars, Brad Pitt & Ricky Schroder, are both basically making their major film debut. Both had been in smaller roles in films before this but the main body of their work was in TV roles. Across The Tracks was released the same year as Thelma & Louise, so Brad was a little busy that year.

It is a good seed/bad seed type of movie with Brad being the good seed. Interestingly enough Brad was 27 at the filming, Ricky was 20, and they were playing high school students. Fortunately for them they both carried the aura of a much younger person and could pull it off. Schroder, befitting his character, seemed and appeared older but he was actually the younger of the brothers in this film. I attribute that to his role as the bad boy returning from reform school, giving him the harder edged appearance.

His attitude was cocky and unreasonable but it doesn’t take long for us to figure out why. Always in the shadow of his older brother, he acted more aggressive and went down the wrong path with drinking, drugs, and auto theft, to compensate for not being as polished as his brother, Joe. Joe, of course, is the golden boy. Bright in school, outstanding athlete, looking for that scholarship to Stanford, hopefully in track.

Initially he has disgust for his brother, Billy, feeling he was a disappointment and heartache to their mother. However, after sharing close quarters with him [it was a small mobile home], he sees how affected Billy was by his stay in Juvie. He makes an overture to have Billy accompany him during his morning practice for track. Billy at first declines, then accepts, and becomes as interested as Joe in running.

Billy attends a rival school and it won’t be long before these two face each other on the track. In the meantime, he is attempting to leave his soiled past behind but schoolmates, and old drug buddies don’t make it easy for him.

There are a lot of good moments between these two brothers as they share stories from their past and discover neither one cared much for their alcoholic father. They also share some telling moments on the track, as they try to beat each other, something that isn’t uncommon between siblings.

Both Pitt and Schroder gave good representation to their roles. I didn’t have any trouble believing that they were brothers or that they were teens. Their mother, played by Carrie Snodgrass, was simply clueless to the feelings of these boys.

Across The Tracks was written and directed by Sandy Tung. It received no awards and no rating shows but I will caution: drug use, alcohol, language. Not overbearing … I’ve seen worse in daytime TV. It’s nice to see early works by actors that are present today in such a force in films, television, and directing. It’s not an overwhelming production but interesting all the same.



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