Watching the Classics: Vision Quest – Shute was NOT a Villain.

Vision Quest has, over the years, become a cult classic. While it enjoyed success at the box office way back 1984, its greates succwss has been in cult circles of fans who either following wresting, or follow coming of age films. I personally watch this ting on averagte once a month or every six weeks because it is a great motivations movie for mer and it also brings back some great memories. This was the movie that we watched the night before interservice championshi8ps when i wrestled for Air Force back in 1985.

There’s no need to do a review on this movie, as it has been over done over the years. What I wanted to focus on this time is the character of the antagonist, Brian Shute, a three time state wrestling champion who was menacing in appearance and referred to throughout the movie a a “monster.” I have read articles that have referred to Shute as wrestlinjg’s greatest villain of all time. However, I feel that Shute, nor the actor who played Shute, Frank Jasper, did anything in the movie to earn that villain status.

In fact, all Brian Shute did was win. He was only in a handful of scenes in the movie. In the first scene, where the protagonist Lowden Swain went to see him working out and Shute was walking football bleachers carrying part of a telephone pole on his shoulders, there was barely any dialogue. If anything, Shute was welcoming to Swain’s being there and acted like he was glad to lay eyes on the wrestler who’s quest to challenge the champion was already making gossip circules throughout the city.

IN the second scene, Swain went to one of Shute’s matches and watched him destroy his opponent with a suplex to pin in less than 30 seconds. But even in this match, Shute shook the opponent’s hand, kicked his ass, took the arm raise and victory and walked off the mat. He didn’t jump up beating on his chest and run around the mat waving his hands. No, he just walked off like he’d been there before and knew he’d be there again.

The next scened he was in was a face to face with Swain. He went to one of Swain’s matches and watched him give up a default becuase of a nose bleed. There was a confrontation in the bathroom with swain but it was not an arrogant taunting or anything. He said, “you got a problem. You can’t hold your mud. You’re a bleeder and I like to see blood.” It was ?Swain who came back at him with “yeh, how about some of your own.” Again, there was some definite posturing going on but not to the point of making Shute look arrrogant; more confident, than cocky,.

The final scene between the two was the show down. During the weigh ins, there were words between Shute and Swain’s teammates as they waited for Swain to show up. Again, Shute’s words were “your manb is all mouth,” and “if he had any guts he’d be here.” Those words were prompted by Swain’s teammates, however, and not out of Shute’s own arrogance. Even after the match itself, Shute simply walked away and let Swain have his day in the spotlight.

Shut’es “villainism”, yes, I know that’s not a word, was a mirage. it was a persona created by the hype of Swain’s friends and the gossip surrounding Swain’s challenge to himself to wrestle the champion, something that became legendary folklore even before the match ever took place.

No, Brian Shute was not a vilaiin. He was simply an amazing athlete that had become a legend surrounded by mythes about hiim. I’m team-Shute all the way. To this day, this is one of my top three movies of all time and I can tell you with certainty that Vision Quest ranks at the top among all “coming of age” films that were made in that time period. It should be mentioned in the same breath as the great John Hughes films in that film genre.


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