The Runaway Times

Brandon Douglas and Larry B. Scott in The Children of Times Square (1986)

Eric (Brandon Douglas) just wants to be a normal teen, go out with his friends and have fun. Unfortunately for Eric after his parents divorced his mum remarried and now he has a dictatorial stepfather who makes it very clear he doesn't want Eric living with them. After the latest incident Eric runs away and lands up in Times Square where he eventually ends up being befriended by The Leopards, a group of teens like him who have ended up working for Otis (Howard E. Rollins Jr.) a cocaine dealer. Eric is not the only one who ends up working for Otis as Luis Sotavento (Danny Nucci) has also joined the gang as when a fire left him and his family living in a shelter he has sought out a way to make money quick to get them a home of their own again.

Quite early on in "The Children of Times Square" there is a scene between Eric and his stepfather where basically the teen is told he doesn't have a say in things and his opinion doesn't count. The stepfather is such a nasty piece of work to Eric that he is two things; a real dick but also a little unreal making it this TV movie feel a little too forced when it comes to establishing character types. The thing is that "The Children of Times Square" is one of those cautionary, made for TV movies from the 80s where to get the point across the director seems obliged to use a sledge hammer. A fact which is surprising as "The Children of Times Square" was written and directed by Curtis Hanson who following this with movies such as "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle", "In Her Shoes" and "8 Mile".

The thing is that when you look past the era production issues which present themselves when you watch "The Children of Times Square" now it does try and make some interesting points, a cautionary tale for those who are thinking of running away from home to the big city. We see how the naive Eric almost falls foul of a dirty old man with a thing for young boys, we also see how he finds the support and friendship he didn't have at home in the fellowship of the Leopards and so on. It uses Luis to show that this can happen to anyone and to be honest to stop the story becoming negatively monotonous. And we also see the various systems from Otis using under age boys as they can't be prosecuted to the shelters for runaway teens where those running them try to provide security for not only those living rough but those doing so due to abuse back home.

What this all boils down to is that the best I can say is that "The Children of Times Square" is a typical cautionary tale from the 80s which tries to show what can happen to children when they runaway to the city but also explaining why some do because of their home life and why some fall in with a bad crowd because of desperation. It means that watched now 30 years later it is all a bit too forced but also interesting seeing that this was written and directed by Curtis Hanson.

Movie Recommendations

The Prince of Central Park

The Prince of Central Park (1977)

Tired of living with their mean foster mother J.J. (T.J. Hargrave) and his ...

Born Innocent

Born Innocent (1974)

With a mother who did nothing and a father who beat her it is little wonder ...

No Place to Run

No Place to Run (1972)

When Doug's (Scott Jacoby) adoptive parents died in accident his adoptive 7 ...

Maybe I

Maybe I'll Come Home in the Spring (1971)

Having run away from her suburban home a year earlier to be with her hippie ...

Death in Canaan

Death in Canaan (1978)

When Peter Reilly (Paul Clemens) returns home from band practice to find hi ...

Long Journey Back

Long Journey Back (1978)

With the family heading off to Mexico the following day Vic Casella (Mike C ...

The Deadly Tower

The Deadly Tower (1975)

After another nights duty officer Ramiro Martinez (Richard Yniguez) returns ...

A Question of Guilt

A Question of Guilt (1978)

When Doris Winters (Tuesday Weld - Wild in the Country) returns home to her ...

Sybil

Sybil (1976)

As to "Sybil" itself well originally made as a two part drama and then edit ...

A Dream for Christmas

A Dream for Christmas (1973)

It will soon be Christmas and the Rev. Will Douglas (Hari Rhodes) along wit ...

Dummy

Dummy (1979)

When a prostitute is found stabbed to death in alley the police investigati ...

Message to My Daughter

Message to My Daughter (1973)

Miranda Thatcher (Kitty Winn) is struggling with life with everything getti ...

The Glass House

The Glass House (1972)

College professor Jonathon Paige (Alan Alda) finds himself convicted of man ...

Home for the Holidays

Home for the Holidays (1972)

It's been many years since the Morgan sisters have been home but this Chris ...

Death Car on the Freeway

Death Car on the Freeway (1979)

TV journalist Jan Claussen (Shelley Hack - A Casualty of War) becomes suspi ...

Follow The Movie Scene

Follow The Movie Scene on Twitter Like The Movie Scene on facebook Join The Movie Scene on Gplus Subscribe to The Movie Scene's RSS