Daring to do it!
Foxes follows the exploits of four teenage girls as they experience the joys and (mostly) disappointments of growing up. Jeanie (Jodie Foster, The Silence of the Lambs) is the most stable of the four, though she’s got a mother who sleeps with random men and a father who she hardly ever sees. Annie (Cherie Currie of the rock band The Runaways) is a wild child runaway who dabbles in narcotics, alcohol, and men. Madge (Marilyn Kagen, The Initiation) is a heavyset teen who struggles with body issues and the fact that she’s still a virgin. Finally there’s Dierdre (Kandice Stroh, Next Stop, Greenwich Village) who plays with men’s emotions like they were children’s toys. Each of the girl will learn what it means to become a woman…if they can make it out of high school in one piece.
Foxes is, at best, a snapshot of a time period that shows kids acting like kids, although I don’t remember kids like this when I was in high school. Everyone seems to be taking drugs, sleeping around, walking around Hollywood Boulevard, or throwing parties where everything in eyesight gets trashed. There isn’t much of a story – it’s mostly just watching these late 1970s kids wandering through their lives with various problems. It’s a film filled with deplorable people – the men are jerks, the women are trashy, and the parents are repulsive (one mother screams to her daughter “I wish I could punch you!”). It’s like watching The Jerry Springer Show, only without the host.
Foxes isn’t really a movie as much as a warning of what can happen when you’re surrounded by people whose morality has been flushed down the toilet (it would make a great double feature with Larry Clark’s Kids). Foxes spends an inordinate amount of time with teenagers who complain about how terrible their lives are, though I don’t see the teenagers doing a whole lot to make their existence much better (every other scene involves someone with a beer or joint in their hands). At one point one of the teen girl’s older boyfriends yells for her to come back inside the house (a house her and her friends had just trashed the night before) so that he can beat her. Again: so that he can beat her. She declines his invitation in what ends up being one of the only smart choices a character makes throughout the entire film.
Not surprisingly, the best performance is given by Jodie Foster as Jeanie. Foster’s character is the most level headed of the female foursome (though I’m not sure that’s saying very much). Foster looks especially young here, which makes her performance all the more impressive and offers a glimpse at the far better work she’d do in her later years. Foxes is filled with a lot of familiar faces in supporting roles, including M*A*S*H*‘s Sally Kellerman as Jeanie’s divorced and desperate mother; Cherie Currie as Jeanie’s slutty best friend who couldn’t make a good decision if it crawled onto her face and started to break-dance; Scott Baio as one of the girl’s male friends (who also tries to sleep with all of them); Randy Quaid (Brokeback Mountain) as an older boyfriend who takes one of the girl’s virginityy; and a young Laura Dern (Jurassic Park) in a small blink-or-you’ll-miss her role.
Foxes was largely ignored during its theatrical run, making under a million dollars before unceremoniously languishing in studio vaults before finding new life on VHS and DVD. I thought that maybe the film would end up being some undiscovered gem, but the sad realization is that Foxes is a terribly melodramatic teen movie with a few (mildly) decent performances and what amounts to a small footnote on Jodie Foster’s much larger career.
Foxes is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen in 1080p high definition. I have to say that the transfer is pretty under-whelming; the image isn’t very sharp and the colors often look washed out (I suppose this could have been a director choice, though I have my doubts). There are some imperfections and defects in the print, making this transfer feel like it’s just a few notches above DVD. The soundtrack (including “More Than a Feeling” by Boston and “On The Radio” by Donna Summers) is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 Mono in English. This audio mix is passable, but little else. There isn’t a lot to say about this mostly weak soundtrack – it’s front heavy without any dynamic range or directional effects
Bonus features include a commentary track by director Adiran Lyne, an interview with actress Sally Kellerman, and a theatrical trailer for the film.
Foxes has never found a large audience, and for good reason: it’s a meandering teen drama that features very few characters viewers can identify with. Also, the Donna Summers song “On The Radio” plays so indecently that my finger hovered over the mute button during the last half of the film. Kino Lorber’s work on this disc is only so-so with a mediocre transfer and soundtrack.
A kind of morality tale that ends up being a melodramatic dud.