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DREAMS DON'T DIE
Dreams Don't Die is a TV movie that aired on ABC in 1982, and again in 1984. It is a forgotten film, which was released on VHS but has been out of print for a very long time.
It is about a boy named Danny Baker who is a tallented artist. His home life is stressful because his mother works long hours at a factory and she has an abusive boyfriend. Danny's preferred method is Grafitti, especially tagging himself "King 65" on subways (and I don't mean the restaurant). Filmed in 1982, the 65 is most likely his year of birth.
There is a girl named Theresa who does not have a family. She has grown up in orpahages and foster homes her entire life. She does very good in school. She is also a drug dealer.
A guy who is two years younger than Danny, but about six months older than Theresa, goes by the name of "Kirk". It is possible that his name is Kirk Gavin but it is most likely that Kirk is an alias. Kirk is a full time drug dealer. He does not attend school and is raised by a drug lord named Albert Gavin. Albert advises him to "retire" from drug dealing but Kirk decides to be a pimp. Kirk's "spaceship" is a limosine with his own television and car phone. He has a sly personality. It is possible that he does not know right from wrong. Like any antagonist, Kirk is an insane, hilarous, and even likable person.
Two more drug dealers is another teenager, an amateur, who gets beat up by Kirk after he let a buyer keep his money. The youngest is Obediah, or "Opie", who is a thirteen year old that kills pigeons and also murders Kirk's enemies.
If you like 21 Jumpstreet (It is supposed to be spelled 21 Jump Street), you will like this film. It has a very similar premise to 21 Jumpstreet. Although Danny and Teresa who look like teenagers ARE teenagers instead of police officers, they help a drug bust. In fact Danny insists the police captain to set up the drug bust.
Set in the 1980s, and filmed in the 1980s, this TV series is very much 1980s. It is filled with somber, suspenseful music consisting of both traditional musical instruments and synthesized ones. The acting, writing, and cinematrography are both excellent.
This is film was broadcast at least twice on ABC, as part of their Movie program. It was released on VHS but it has been out of print for a very long time. This film is mostly forgotten. Of those that remember the film, they have misunderstood it. Many people believe that this film is promoting vandalism, despite the close up of the "IT'S YOUR SUBWAY. Please help us keep it clean."
Danny needs to cope with his stressful home life. He does not do well in school. He has a part time job which he spends his money by supporting his mother. His mother has a job too -- double shifts, as well as overtime, at a factory. She has a deadbeat boyfriend and they have an infant child together. She does not approve of Danny's graffiti but Danny does not approve of his mother's abusive relationship.
After an argument between Danny and Teresa, Teresa said that she is going to leave NYC with or without him. Kirk, who lives in a part of the city where all the buildings have fallen apart (except his for example) is driven by a chauffeur to one of his associates. This associate is an amateur who forgot to collect a small amount of money. Kirk explains that if they let somebody keep even a nickel or a penny, their enemies will be taking everything they own, "...my limosine, and my hat. You wanna be taking my hat [too]?!" Kirk shoves his hat on the other guy's head. He tries to run away but Kirk beats him up. He says "...and a man protects himself." Kirk shoots at him and then he tells the amateur "Kirk protects himself!" Ironically, the amateur DOES end up with Kirk's hat.
Danny and Theresa are still not talking to each other. Kirk spots Theresa, who wears unfashionable clothing, is very poor, but very smart. She is hired by Kirk. Danny forbids this but Theresa accuses Danny of being a hypocrite.
An experienced officer, Banks, catches ALL THREE of them. He catches Danny first, and then he catches Theresa and Kirk. He says he is too busy looking for rapists to arrest Danny. Theresa and Kirk are brought to the police station. A court appointed attorney bails out Kirk. Banks tells Theresa to stay which infuriates Kirk. He says "They sent us a real turkey. Where's my regular lawyer, [you] TURKEY?!", once he is carried out by his court appointed attorney, he tells the others "I'm going to find my real lawyer. I'm getting him, and I'll be back, DOOOD!"
Officer Banks befriends Danny and Theresa. He warns them to stop committing crimes. He also wants them to bust Kirk and Albert. He buys them tickets to a very large art museum and tells Danny that any good artist deserves to be paid instead of vandalism which is washed off routinely.
When Danny considers Banks's offer, he approaches him when he is patrolling at night. They go into a restaurant and Banks buys Danny a strawberry milkshake. Banks orders coffee. He tells Danny that one of his friends is an executive at a publishing company and has arranged an interview with Danny in exchange for setting up a drug bust and stop writing on public walls. He tells Danny that he should learn how to draw comics. Banks tells the man in the restaurant "I'll be back when you learn how to make real coffee."
Literally seconds later they hear a gunshot. Danny ran outside and collides into Obediah. Danny then found Banks, who died shortly. The shooting was arranged by Kirk who got revenge because Danny painted graffiti on "The Enterprise" when Danny and Theresa were arguing with each other. The man from the restaurant is the only one who helped.
The police captain brought Danny in for a line up. Both of them knew it was Obediah but they had to free him. This made Steadman angry because he had to let the criminal go, and it made Danny angry because he lost his friend and mentor.
He went home to mourn, and then went to the subway. He rolls his eyes once he sees his tag but he got the idea to paint on a billboard outside of Kirk's house.
The next morning Kirk sees Danny's very first comic - It is an editorial. The editorial illustration has Kirk shooting Banks. Danny tells Theresa about the interview and also tells her that they must "get" Kirk, fulfilling the promises he made to Banks. The Interview is successful, but Danny almost vandalizes the office window. He is assigned to work with a woman that will teach him how to draw comics. Steadman tells Danny Kirk's birthday, and Danny also demands that the Steadman arrange a drug bust. Once Kirk gets over his shock, he orders Obediah to kill Danny. Albert is interested in keeping Theresa "employed" until her 16th birthday, which isn't for several months. Kirk then tells Albert that Danny must be killed. Albert tells Kirk to shut up, thinking that this murder plot will scare Theresa into quitting. She tells Danny that he must check into a hotel. Danny goes to an outpatient clinic to get sleeping pills to poision Kirk. While Theresa is "working", she offers that they go to a hotel tomorrow. For the first time we get to see the sly drug dealer in a weakened position. He trusts Theresa and he is no longer "protecting himself".
She adds the pills to his alcoholic beverages and keeps Kirk asleep for hours and hours. Danny sneaks in and changes the date on Kirk's wristwatch. The next morning a traffic jam wakes up Kirk who immediately spots Danny. Kirk (and Danny) are startled but Danny quickly runs outside while Theresa convinces Kirk "You were just dreaming. It's not real." Later, they quietly celebrate Kirk's birthday who is still asleep. Kirk sleeps until Theresa wakes him up on the day "before" his birthday.
Kirk and Theresa go to Coney Island, the place for Kirk's last drug transaction while he is "still" 15. He asks Theresa to do it for him but Theresa insists that the drug buyer is his father's boss. The man only knows Theresa, and does not know that she is a drug dealer. (It is possible that this man is her case worker which means that she wasn't lying. Also, Danny forgot to tell them that Theresa is part of the drug bust, and NOT the criminal. Either way, they would not be able to catch Kirk if he stayed in the car!)
Kirk took the bait and was arrested. Kirk thinks he is above the law but Danny rains on his parade. Steadman confirms that it is Kirk's birthday and his present is doing hard time with "animals". Kirk starts crying and begs them over and over again to give him another chance and "I'll help you if you'll help me!". But Steadman says all he is going to do is talk to Kirk about Albert regardless. It is unlikely that they will plea bargain. He is carried away by the undercover police officer. (This is the best moment in the entire film)
Furthermore, Obediah is brought to justice. He tries to kill Danny, Theresa, and the captain. But Steadman shoots Obediah and Obediah will be arrested.
Danny and Theresa will be interrogated by Steadman one last time for capturing these impossible-to-catch criminals. They still aren't adults yet, but they leave their homes and move to Manhattan where Danny is a paid apprentice at the publishing company.