The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

COLUMN: “The Outsiders”: An impressive adaptation with young A-list stars 

Ashanti Thomas
Staff profile for Drew Coffey.

Imagine it is 1983. You probably just got off the couch watching “Family Ties,” “The Cosby Show,” or some other beloved show of the time.  

Tired of the repetitive formula of sitcoms and the tumultuous laugh tracks, you decide to go see a new movie by award-winning “The Godfather” director Francis Ford Coppola. You start the movie with credits showing the names Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Ralph Macchio, and Matt Dillon.     

“I’ve never heard of any of these people,” you think to yourself. “They must not be that popular.” 

Fast forward to 2023 and I am sure you would be astounded to see the trajectory the cast would later have in their respective acting careers.  

The film (if the headline of this column didn’t already give it away) is “The Outsiders” based on the 1967 novel written by S.E. Hinton.  

The film and novel tell the story of a teen gang in Oklahoma known as The Greasers who are always butting heads with the other gang, a richer and preppy group called The Socials, Socs for short. But when two Greasers Ponyboy, played by C. Thomas Howell, and Johnny, played by Ralph Macchio, kill one of the Socs in a fight, it causes major conflict between the two groups.  

To start, the film really encapsulates the conflict of social classes and how those of lower privilege can be mistreated by others. We can tell characters like Johnny or Dallas, played by Matt Dillon, are uncomfortable and tired of being treated differently because of what side of town they are from.  

The acting is fairly decent despite some corny dialogue that makes you remember the film is a book adaptation. Positively, many of the characters have emotional moments that stand out for their characters with Dillion and Macchio being standouts throughout.  

You can really tell the actors have great chemistry together which brings out a sense of brotherhood and community within their largely divided social classes.  

However, the film struggles with fleshing out some characters and story lines when compared to the novel.  

For example, the main character Ponyboy Curtis lives with his two brothers after his parents are killed in a car crash. But we do not really get any familial moments between them until halfway through the movie which makes the emotional scenes with the brothers feel underwhelming.

It is understandably difficult to pick and choose what moments or character nuances make it into the film, but it feels as though “The Outsiders” could have taken more time to really let us witness aspects of the characters.  

With the film having a runtime of roughly 90 minutes, the film’s abrupt ending could leave viewers a little puzzled about the sudden change of pace.  

With that being said, “The Outsiders” is a well-acted, visually competent, and reliable adaptation of the book that is elevated by its larger-than-life cast.  

My overall rating: 3/5 

Drew Coffey can be reach at [email protected] or 217-581-2812.

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About the Contributors
Drew Coffey
Drew Coffey, Reporter, Columnist
Drew is a senior television and video production major. He previously served as a reporter for The News.
Ashanti Thomas
Ashanti Thomas, Photographer
Ashanti Thomas is a senior digital media major. She previously served as photo editor and assistant photo editor at The News.

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