Aurora Productions was a film production company established in Hollywood, California in 1978 by Rich Irvine and James L. Stewart, who were former Disney execs. They released six movies, The Secret of NIMHHeart Like a Wheel, the two Eddie and the Cruisers movies, Maxie and this film, which was the one that ended the studio.

Monroe Clark (C. Thomas Howell) wants to be a lawyer, but he soon meets Zack Barnes (Peter Horton) and Wiley (Christopher Rydell, Trauma) who show him that there’s another way to live your life, a more carefree zen state of beach volleyball. However, Monroe’s uncle Max (Terry Kiser, always the villain, right?) wants to evict the volleyball players. You can imagine how act three of the hero’s journey will play out.

Side Out also has Courtney Throne-Smith; Harley Jane Kozak (The House on Sorority Row);  pro volleyball players Randy Stoklos, Sinjin Smith, Craig Moothartm Steve Obradovich, Steve Timmons, Ricci Luyties, Tim Hovland and Mike Dodd; Tony Burton (Duke from Rocky) and Kathy Ireland.

Filmed on some of California’s most popular beach areas, including Hermosa, Zuma and Manhattan beaches, this movie had Horton and Howell being trained by Jon Stevenson, one of the most successful and respected pros in the game of beach volleyball, who acted as the film’s major consultant, volleyball technical adviser and game choreographer.

The final match between Horton and Howell against Stoklos and Smith took six days to film. For Horton, it was the opportunity to live out his dream of playing volleyball for a living, saying “One of the reasons I was attracted to this project was the chance to play volleyball and get paid for it. That’s a scam.”

The script comes from David Thoreau, who mostly wrote for TV, and was directed by Peter Israelson, who mainly made music videos, including Whitney Houston’s “The Greatest Love of All” and Expose’s “Seasons Change.”

Perhaps the strangest thing to me is that this film features “Playing with the Boys” by Kenny Loggins, which also played during the Top Gun volleyball scene, perhaps making that song the unofficial anthem of beach volleyball.

There aren’t many beach volleyball movies — I guess Green Flash and Spiker are the only two that I can remember — so if you’re looking for a film in this very small genre or just want to stare at Horton, well, this is for you.

The Mill Creek blu ray release of Side Out comes in retro VHS packaging and can be bought from Deep Discount.

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