Theme Song: There’s a few motivational theme songs in Youngblood, but the best has to be “Stand in the Fire” by Mickey Thomas (the guy who turned 70s Jefferson Starship into 80s Starpship).
It’s so motivational I almost forgot how pointless investing time and energy in this website has become.
“Footsteps” by Nick Gilder is slightly motivational, but lacks punch to make it fully triumphant.
Youngblood is odd in that neither of these songs are used in the opening or closing credits, or during a montage. Rather, they’re just played quietly in the background as incidental music. Said credits and montages are filled with synthy instrumentals from William Orbit/Torch Song (of ”Prepare To Energize” fame.
Interesting Dated References: It being a socially acceptable bonding experience to have a bunch of guys watch as a friend/teammate shaves your scrotum.
Best Line:There’s some good hybrid hockey/Canadian slang throughout the locker room sequences.
Social Context: Youngblood is a “triumph in the face of a formidable opponent” sports movie from the mid-80s. The only social context these movies had was to make teens think they could do great things with their lives, which of course was total bullshit.
Summary: Dean Youngblood (Rob Lowe) is a small town farm boy who dreams of making it to the NHL, or at least that’s what we’re supposed to assume since the NHL would not lend their name or trademarks to Youngblood.
We can assume the NHL was unhappy with the meandering tonal shifts and scattershot direction. Or perhaps they were disappointed in the ending, which basically states that once you triumph over adversity you should go back and repeatedly punch the shit out of your adversary just to teach them an extra lesson.
So Youngblood gets the chance to audition for the junior league Mustangs. Coach Chadwick (Ed Lauter) picks Youngblood to fill the open slot over the bearded goon, Racki, who vows to reap vengeance on the Mustangs at some point in the last act of the film.
Coach Chadwick’s daughter, Jessie (Cynthia Gibb), also picks Youngblood to fill her slot after she finds him wandering the arena halls in his jock strap. But before that can happen, all of the other Mustang teammates hold Youngblood down and shave his genitals. You know, guy stuff!
The other Mustangs are led by Derek Sutton (Patrick Swayze), a somewhat obnoxious Canuck hell bent on scoring a contract in the unnamed major league. Overall they’re a bunch of rowdy young men, who just happens to enjoy the hobby of meticulously shaving each other’s genitals.
Later they take Youngblood out drinking and proceed to get him totally wasted. This results in piss-poor performance at practice the next day. Coach Chadwick is visibly irritated, but he gets even more upset when he sees Youngblood wandering around downtown with his daughter.
Jessie admits they shouldn’t see each other and insists Youngblood leave her alone. But after winning a game the very next night, he talks her into a tone-shifting slapstick-comedy ice skating date that then shifts into super serious sweaty fireside sex in Youngblood’s shitty apartment.
First of all, no shitty boarding house in an old-ass wooden structure is going to allow individual boarders to have active fireplaces. It would be an insurance nightmare. Secondly, nobody enjoys being hot, wet, and dripping with sweat during intercourse. That’s an old wives’ tale that was made up in the 80s. It’s unsanitary and it usually results in a urinary tract infection.
Later, Youngblood sits around with Swayzdog and talks about getting into the big league, and sexual intercourse with women. Swayze’s apartment is decked out with the height of 1986 bachelor coolness, which includes white plastic dryer vent tubing filled with pastel neon lights running all over the place, street signs, an open floor plan, weight bench, and posters of sexy women.
The next big game is against Thunder Bay, which happens to be the team Racki the Goon now plays for. After slow motion skating and a game winning goal by Youngblood, Racki knocks off Swayze’s helmet and checks him to the ground.
Youngblood, feeling ashamed for not defending Swayzdog, decides to return home so his brother can teach him how to fight. This is a little hard to understand because Swayze isn’t even in a coma. He just has to sit out a few games as he recovers from a concussion.
So Youngblood triumphantly returns for the final game, which happens to be against Thunder Bay again. With Swayze cheering from the sidelines in a comical head bandage, Youngblood takes the ice and goes gunning for Racki.
At some point one of his teeth gets knocked out (super early use of CGI), which makes all the other players gain a lot of respect for him. With 3 seconds left in the game, Youngblood scores a penalty shot for the win. Then, in a totally ridiculous scenario, Youngblood insists on playing out the remaining three seconds so he can attack and violently assault Racki.
Then after the violent assault, everyone cheers because they no longer think Youngblood is a pussy. Later some kids ask him for his autograph and he walks out of the rink with Jessie.
Swayze does a nice job with the role, but in the end he’s just a background character and can’t shine through all the soft lighting shots of Rob Lowe’s biceps and CGI missing teeth. I should also mention this director, Peter Markle, directed Hot Dog: The Movie. Also, Keanu Reeves has a small role as a hockey player. This marks the first time he and Swayz-dog were together on screen.
Poster and Box Art: I’m not sure what’s going on with the U.S. theatrical poster for Youngblood. It doesn’t really showcase hockey or Rob Lowe. The illustration is nicely stylized, but it’s small and ineffective. Added to this, it seems like an especially strange choice considering veteran illustrator David Grove did initial work on a poster that’s way incredible.
I’m sure the producers thought the Grove piece didn’t feature the actors’ faces enough, but hey, neither does the official poster. They must have seen the error in their ways because the majority of the foreign marketing consists of this:
Rob Lowe’s puffy chest and abdomen. A feat of airbrushing and wind effect, this poster seems misguided and only adds to the homoerotic undertones of the film.
Oddly enough, the home video release features this picture on the box:
None of these three main characters ever have their hair this stylized in the movie. Swayze and Lowe don’t even really have mullets in the movie. It’s like they called the cast back for some type of reshoot photo session and stylized the fuck out their hair in an effort to make the movie look more fashionable. Weird.
Availability: Youngblood is available on DVD, but not through any of streaming services.