This month, since the site is currently reviewing every episode of Twin Peaks, each entry in Move A Day is going to have a Twin Peaks connection. Where The Day Takes You is a movie that has not just one but two connections to Twin Peaks.
Where The Day Takes You is an episodic film about young runaways living on the streets of Los Angeles. Led by 22 year-old King (Dermot Mulroney), who ran away from home when he was 16, the runaways form a surrogate family. While being constantly harassed by both the police and well-meaning social workers, some of the runaways get addicted to drugs while others turn to prostitution in order to survive. Some find love. Some find death. They all go where the day takes you. (Not sure if that was the movie’s tag line but it should have been.)
Where The Day Takes You is a gritty and often tough film, though it’s effectiveness is undercut by a predictable ending and the presence of too many familiar faces in the cast. The runaways are made up of a who’s who of prominent young actors from the 1990s. Balthazar Getty plays King’s second-in-command. Sean Astin plays an obviously doomed drug addict. Alyssa Milano and David Arquette play prostitutes. Ricki Lake and James Le Gros play comedic relief. Will Smith, in his film debut, plays a wheelchair-bound runaway. Christian Slater and Laura San Giacomo show up as social workers while the police are represented by Rachel Ticotin and Adam Baldwin. Everyone gives a good performance but the film would have worked better with unknown actors or even real runaways. No matter how good a performance Sean Astin gives as a heroin addict, he is always going to be Sean Astin and it is always going to be difficult to look at him without saying, “I might not be able to carry the ring but I can carry you!”
The movie’s first Twin Peaks connection is that Lara Flynn Boyle, who played innocent Donna Hayward on Twin Peaks, plays innocent runaway Heather in Where The Day Takes You. The role is cliché but Boyle shows the same charm that she showed while playing Donna.
The movie’s second Twin Peaks connection is more unexpected. Kyle MacLachlan is effectively cast against type as Ted, the drug dealer who keeps most of the runaways hooked on heroin and who is perfectly willing to leave an overdosed junkie in a garbage bin. Ted is about as far from Dale Cooper as you can get.