A teenage girl struggles to keep her friends from self-destructing while trying to figure out how to grow up without going crazy herself. Jeanie (Jodie Foster) and her three best friends struggle through teenage life in the disco era of Los Angeles. The film opens with the girls at a sleepover at Jeanie's house. Jeanie's mother is passed out in the other room. She appears to be a bit of a drunk, but we can't really tell. She's divorced, and Jeanie seems to not respect her very much. The girls long for independence so they can be taken seriously. Annie (Cherie Currie) has problems with drugs and constantly runs away from home. Madge (Marilyn Kagan), the sweet glasses-wearing one of the bunch, comes from a stable household but doesn't really get along with her overbearing mother. Deirdre is boy crazy and obsessed with disco and looking far older than her sixteen or seventeen years. When girls head out to school that morning, Annie's father appears, in full cop gear. He chases her down the steps of Jeanie's apartment. Annie runs away, and the girls go to school. There, the girls run into Jeanie's long-time boyfriend, Scott (Robert Romanus) and their close guy friend, Brad (Scott Baio), who has a crush on Annie.
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Later that day, Jeanie and her friends find Annie on Hollywood Blvd with an older guy. They make her get in the car, then take her to get her things at her parents' place. Jeanie promises to let Annie stay with her so she can stay away from her stepfather, who is threatening to lock her up in rehab in the suburbs.
Jeanie and her friends go to hear the band, her estranged father is road manager to, The Angels, play at a disco. By this time, we're in the thick of Deirdre and her antics shuffling guys from one end of the place to the next. Jeanie smoothly lies to Deirdre's boyfriend for her while Deirdre chats up the blond cashier boy she met that afternoon and decided was cute enough to invite. Later, breaks up with Scott. She feels they've been together too long. Over three years, and they are only sixteen. Still at the disco, Jeanie seeks out her father, and they find a quiet room to talk. She tells him she misses him but forgives him for being a deadbeat. Then she asks him to pay for a place for her and her friends to live. She's tired of being with her mother. Her father tells her to stay with her mother. They share a loving embrace, and though Jeanie is not pleased with his answer.
Madge's mother prepares of her birthday party a few days later. Her mother, attempting to be hip, tells Madge that she bought her friends a keg of beer. Madge says her friends drink hard liquor and are too sophisticated for a keg. Her mother gets upset and worries the party will turn into a big orgy. Angrily, Madge assures her she's a virgin and quite embarrassed about it. She runs to her room crying, telling her mother to cancel the party.
Time passes, and it isn't long before Madge begins dating an older man, Jay (Randy Quaid), and rids herself of her problem by sleeping with him. When Jay goes out of town, Madge invites her friends over and they trash the place. All are arrested. The worst of it is that Annie's father comes and takes her home. Back home, Jeanie's mother is very upset with her and tells her she needs new friends. The next day, Annie is put in rehab, and Madge's boyfriend is angry. He tells her he loves her regardless, but then continues to act abusively. Madge walks out and it is obvious that Jay is full of regret and wants her back. Later, Jeanie's mother, so angry with her daughter and hurt that she wants so badly to live on her own, packs her bags and goes to her boyfriend's house.
Jeanie and Brad have a heart-to-heart about his crush on Annie. None of the other girls take him seriously as he appears to be about a year younger than the rest of them. Brad is worried about Annie as is Jeanie. When they get a call from Annie, they realize she's escaped from rehab and completely strung out somewhere. They take Jeanie's truck to find her. She's with a lot of older drug addict types. The guy Annie is with doesn't want her to leave, but Jeanie takes her anyway. They drive into the hills and Jeanie tries to slap some sense into Annie. She tells her she can live with her, but she's got to get her life together. Annie, still high, runs when she sees a patrol car, and is eventually snapped up by the guy she was hanging out with before. He ends up letting her out of the car when he sees that all she wants to do is go home. She goes to a pay phone to call Jeanie, but Jeanie is still out looking for Annie. Later Annie hitches a ride on the side of the highway with a married couple. The man takes out a bottle of booze and puts his hand on her thigh. The wife laughs and tells her to relax. Then the drunken man plows the car into the back of a semi-truck. Annie dies at the hospital with her family and friends around her. Jeanie's mother moves back in, and a very long time later, Madge and her boyfriend Jay get married. After the wedding, Jeanie and her mother take flowers to Annie's grave. Jeanie has grown up the hard way.
Best part of story, including ending:
I like the time period. Though the film was released in 1980, it has a very late 70s feel to it. It captures it well, in fact. I like the relationships between the characters as well. The story, however, is a bit disjointed and sometimes lags.
Best scene in story:
Jeanie and Brad hang out toward the end of the movie and bond. I think it's a very sweet scene. Jeanie doesn't treat Brad like a child and really lets him speak his mind. Though Jeanie is a pretty good listener in general, this scene is particularly a nice break from the emotional turmoil in the rest of the film.
Opinion about the main character:
Jeanie is a great character. She's a bit too grown up for someone so young, but Jodie Foster does an amazing job as always, so there's not much to say in the negative.