CFS film ‘takes’ it to the streets

Jon Carcio

Whenever a disillusioned teenager runs away from home, the ensuing drama is always seen from the perspective of their family and friends. The public helplessly watches them distribute flyers and give daily interviews to the media, all the while coping with the notion that the one they are searching for may never return. However, we can only imagine what the newly homeless runaway must be dealing with. After all, somebody willing to sacrifice a roof over their head may be entangled in a much more difficult situation at home than many realize. The harsh realities of life outside four walls are the focal point of “Where the Day Takes You,” a drama which follows the trials of a group of teenagers trying to survive on the streets of Los Angeles.

The unofficial leader of this ragged crowd is named King, played by Dermot Mulroney. As the oldest member of the group, King is the father figure and someone the others easily put their confidence in.

A hustler himself, King is not the optimal role model for his younger admirers, but they are able to trust and follow him more than they ever could their abusive parents. As much help as King is to this collection of vagabonds, he cannot fully shield them from the stinging existence of street life. They are forced into begging, theft and prostitution in order to stay alive.While this film, in many aspects, is the prototypical urban social drama, it takes on a documentary feel in exploring the actions of the runaways and how they manage to make it in an unfair system. Through a series of flashbacks provided by King to a prison psychologist, the viewer learns about how one becomes a street dweller and how society is apathetic to their ordeal. Statistics regarding runaways and a hotline for an outreach center and shelter for homeless kids are also provided at the film’s conclusion to further the impression of a documentary.

This format is not incredibly surprising considering the minds that created “Where the Day Takes You.” The film is directed by Mark Rocco and co-written by Rocco, Kurt Voss and Michael Hitchcock. Those familiar with Hitchcock will note that he has appeared in a number of Christopher Guest’s comedic mockumentaries, including “Best in Show” and “A Mighty Wind.”

Another interesting facet of this work is that many of the actors are early in what will become reasonably accomplished careers. Will Smith, Lara Flynn Boyle, Ricki Lake, David Arquette and Sean Astin headline along with Mulroney. Christian Slater makes a cameo appearance as well.

“Where the Day Takes You” will be shown four times in the Connelly Center Cinema: Saturday at 7 p.m., Sunday at 3:30 and 7 p.m. and Monday at 7 p.m.

Admission is $3 for students and $4 for all others. John O’Leary, director of the Villanova Cultural Film Series, will introduce the Monday night screening in addition to leading a discussion titled “No Grown Ups, No Boundaries” after the conclusion of the film.

For more information, call the communication department at x9-4750 on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., or consult the CFS web page: