June 17, 2011

An Appreciation of The Baseball Furies or: Thoughts on The Warriors (1979)

I've been thinking a lot lately about Walter Hill's epic street gang saga, The Warriors (1979). Particularly those wonderful and mysterious Baseball Furies. They all looked so incredibly sexy and scary in their uniforms and painted faces. I wish I could have dated one of them. I would have loved to have been a Fury groupie. However, I was pretty disappointed at how easily they were beaten by the Warriors. They should have been a lot more vicious, violent and unpredictable.

I often wonder what their back-story was. Did they live at home? Did they dress that way all the time? How do you actually become a Fury? Is there some sort of initiation process? Do you have to actually LIKE baseball?

Now, let me mention a few things about the Warriors themselves. They were all way too pretty to be a street gang. I didn't buy them for one second - Michael Beck was just too cute, too angular and too willowy to be the gang's "warlord". Plus, he went on to do Xanadu and that totally ruined any chances of creating a respectable form of street cred.

One of the highlights of the film was all of the different themed gangs. It was amazing...EVERYONE had their own gang! There was the girl gang, the Lizzies, that were pretty great. Then those skinhead guys, the Orphans (losers). I kept hoping that there would be a gay gang, called the Cupcakes or the Marys or something. Or a gang of rogue, celebrity impersonators...bad ones, of course.

The entire film felt like one big video game - whenever the characters would have a run in with a new gang, it was like each gang represented a level you had to beat in order to move on to the next. I wish that, at the end of the picture, the Warriors would have had to fight that mysterious DJ woman who (somehow) was in the know and knew everything that was going on out in the streets. Perhaps she could have wielded a microphone like a whip or thrown razor sharp records at them.

Apparently, when the movie came out, real life street gangs would go and start fights and riots. Now that would have been a true movie viewing experience.  

The Warriors is now over thirty years old, so I wonder...where are the Baseball Furies now? Did they retire? Did they get too fat for their uniforms? Have they moved on to a new gang...maybe a new, more relaxed organization?

Whatever it may be, I will remain forever and hopelessly devoted to my boys.