The Sure Thing (1985)

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Released 27-Jul-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1985
Running Time 90:40
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Rob Reiner

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring John Cusack
Daphne Zuniga
Anthony Edwards
Boyd Gaines
Tim Robbins
Lisa Jane Persky
Viveca Lindfors
Nicolette Sheridan
Marcia Christie
Robert Anthony Marcucci
Sarah Buxton
Lorrie Lightle
Joshua Cadman
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Tom Scott

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Dutch Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    I chose to review this disc for two reasons. One, it starred John Cusack, one of my favourite actors, and two, it was directed by Rob Reiner, Marty DiBergi from This is Spinal Tap.

    The Sure Thing is a light teen romantic comedy from 1985, made during John Cusack's phase as a teen star before he started doing adult roles in films like The Grifters. He plays Walter 'Gib' Gibson, a young guy who has just finished high school and is about to start college. He decides to accept the offer of a college in New England but his best friend, Lance (played by a young and hirsute Anthony Edwards, of ER fame) decides to go to California. Once Gib gets to college he meets Alison Bradbury (Daphne Zuniga) and tries to get her attention. He only succeeds in annoying her. As the Christmas break is coming up, Lance invites Gib to come to California and promises that he has set him up with 'The Sure Thing', a beautiful girl who will definitely have sex with him. Unbeknownst to him, Alison is also planning to go to California to visit her boyfriend, Jason. As neither of them can afford to fly they both independently arrange to share a car with two other people. One of the people is Gary Cooper ('not the dead one') played by a young Tim Robbins in one of his earliest film roles. Through a fairly amusing series of events, Gib and Alison are left together by the side of the road to make their own way to California. Despite their differences, romance ensues.

   This is a fun and reasonably entertaining teen comedy without any gross-out jokes. There is some good interaction between the leads and they are both quite believable in their roles. John Cusack shows his personality and acting ability in his first leading role. It has a good-natured feel and leaves you smiling. Despite these pluses, however, it is not overly memorable and I can't see that it would have lots of replay value.

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Transfer Quality


    The video quality is very good for a film of this age.

    The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was generally clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise, however there was some softness from time to time. Shadow detail was fine but not spectacular with night scenes showing some details.

    The colour was good throughout with all colours being reasonably well saturated and free from colour bleeding. The skin colouring was a little pale.

    There were a few black & white specks, especially during the credits, but these were quite minor. Another white speck showed up at 35:00. There was also some minor edge enhancement.

    There are subtitles in Dutch only so I cannot comment on their accuracy.


Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio quality is fine, but very front and centre focussed.

    This DVD contains only one audio option: an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there were no problems with audio sync.    

    The score of this film by Tom Scott is quite sparse but when it gets involved it sounds pretty good. There are also a number of quite cheesy 1980s songs including Penny Lover by Lionel Richie.

    The surround speakers were not used at all.

    The subwoofer was used occasionally for music.


Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The menu included a scene selection function and the ability to turn on the Dutch subtitles but precious little else.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc (when compared to the Region 1 Special Edition) misses out on;

    The Region 1 special edition version of this disc misses out on;

    Fairly obviously, the Region 1 Special Edition is the best version available, however, if you are only after the movie itself there is nothing wrong with the local budget priced release.


    This disc contains a fun and reasonably entertaining teen romantic comedy from 1985 starring a young John Cusack.

    The video quality is very good considering the age of the film.

    The audio quality is reasonable.

    The disc has no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Tuesday, June 29, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 1200, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

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Comments (Add)
Why the cropped aspect ratio???? - REPLY POSTED