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Light of Day is a 1987 American drama film starring Michael J. Fox, Gena Rowlands and Joan Jett. It was written and directed by Paul Schrader. The original music score was composed by Thomas Newman and the cinematography is by John Bailey. So far, this is Paul Schrader's only film to have a "PG-13" rating by the MPAA.
Fox and Jett play a brother and sister who are lead performers in a rock band, The Barbusters, in Cleveland, Ohio. The sister, Patti Rasnick, is an unmarried mother and has a troubled relationship with her own mother, who is deeply religious. Estranged from her parents and struggling to make ends meet, Patti decides to dive headlong into a carefree rock music lifestyle. The brother, Joe Rasnick, pulls away from rock music to provide some stability for his young nephew. It takes a family crisis to bring Patti back home and force her to face the prickly past with her mother.
Michael J. Fox - Joe Rasnick
Gena Rowlands - Jeanette Rasnick
Joan Jett - Patti Rasnick
Michael McKean - Bu Montgomery
Thomas G. Waites - Smittie
Cherry Jones - Cindy Montgomery
Michael Dolan - Gene Bodine
Billy L. Sullivan - Benji Rasnick
Jason Miller - Benjamin Rasnick
Tom Irwin - Reverend Ansley
Michael Rooker - Oogie
The film was shot on location in Chicago, Illinois; Maywood, Illinois; Berwyn, Illinois; Blue Island, Illinois; Lincolnwood, Illinois; Hammond, Indiana; and Cleveland, Ohio.
The film is best known as the first real attempt for Fox to escape his image as a slacker that he created in films such as Back to the Future. Light of Day is one of the very few projects where Fox has smoked in front of the camera; although a chain smoker,he avoided being photographed with a cigarette out of fear that it would encourage smoking.
Former 1984 Miss Teen USA Cherise Haugen had a small role as the girl that Fox's character brings home as a one-night stand. A young Trent Reznor appears, with other members of Exotic Birds in the film as a member of fictional band The Problems as well as local teen band, The Pelicans, as The Bubblegummers.
Bruce Springsteen wrote the song "(Just Around the Corner to the) Light of Day" for the film; Joan Jett performed the song for the film's soundtrack. Schrader's original working title for the film was Born in the USA. He showed the script to Springsteen to make sure he got the details right about a blue-collar bar band. Springsteen ended up using the title for a song he had been writing about a Vietnam veteran, and as a result, the Barbusters' signature song which he provided, gave the film its new title. In the 1990s, Springsteen himself began using the song to close his concerts.
Schrader has expressed dissatisfaction with Light of Day, particularly its plain visual style: "I had progressed from being a person with a literary vision to a person with a visual vision, and in that film I tried to... suppress my new literacy" and the casting of Joan Jett: "it's a good performance, but... that piece of casting just did not work."
The soundtrack to the film was released in 1987. As a single, "Light of Day" reached number 33 on the Billboard Hot 100 and received additional album-oriented rock airplay due to the connection of Joan Jett and Bruce Springsteen. "The Barbusters" is the name of Jett's band in the film.
"Light of Day" (Bruce Springsteen) -- The Barbusters
"This Means War" (Joan Jett, Bob Halligan, Jr., Kenny Laguna) -- The Barbusters
"Twist it Off" (Jimmie Vaughan, Kim Wilson, Fran Christina, Preston Hubbard)-- The Fabulous Thunderbirds
"Cleveland Rocks" (Ian Hunter) -- Ian Hunter
"Stay With Me Tonight" (Dave Edmunds, John David) -- Dave Edmunds
"It's All Coming Down Tonight" (Frankie Miller, Andy Fraser) -- The Barbusters
"Rude Mood" (Stevie Ray Vaughan) -- The Barbusters
"Only Lonely" (Jon Bon Jovi, David Bryan) -- Bon Jovi
"Rabbit's Got the Gun" (Joan Jett, Kenny Laguna) -- The Hunzz
"You Got No Place to Go" (Michael J. Fox, Alan Mark Poul) -- Michael J. Fox
"Elegy" (Thomas Newman) - Rick Cox, Chas Smith, Jon C. Clarke & Michael Boddicker