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Film / On Our Own

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On Our Own is a 1988 Made-for-TV film about four children, Mitch, Kate, Travis and Lori. You see, their mother has passed away (the father's whereabouts are not mentioned at all, but presumably he is dead too) and now they are trying to run away from the police who are trying to split them up and send them to different children's homes. However, after a bit of a shaky start the kids end up getting money and a car and set out to look for their only family member whom they believe can take care of them, Uncle Jack. However, this is not going to be as easy as they think. This story is told by a grandmother on the other end of the phone while baking a cake (which later turns out to be a wedding cake for her daughter and Uncle Jack). Her granddaughter is telling her the story over the phone. This film is chock full of still moments that are nicely accompanied by 80s synthesizers. Many an 80s and 90s kid remembers this movie, whether it was shown to them in school by a substitute teacher or rented from a local video store via their mother's recommendation. For those that haven't seen it, think The Goonies but with a family tragedy and the goal of finding a person rather than a treasure, and less kids.


Has the examples of:

  • The Alleged Car: Subverted. Their mother's old Bug looks like it is going to die any moment, but only fails the kids when they crash it into a cactus.
  • Ambiguously Mormon: Many of the people involved in the film belong to the LDS church, and is reflected in the Robbins children's heavily family-centric stance. When Feature Films for Families - a wholly owned subsidiary of the LDS church - got their hands on it, it became even more so (see "Broken Aesop").
  • Broken Aesop: After being purchased by Feature Films for Families, they added on the scenes with Peggy's mother baking a cake while reacting to Peggy relating the story about the Robbins children to her. If the Robbins children never ran away, they never would have met Peggy — and Peggy never would have met Jack (who she planned to marry)! However, Peggy's mother maintains that Mitch's necessary acts of theft (in order to keep the family together) were morally wrong — and she planned to give Mitch an earful, as well as a hug.
    • This led the director to remove his name from the film - instead using the pseudonym "F.T. Pavlov".
  • Captain Crash: Mitch can operate a motor vehicle, but apparently cannot stop one. One car barely gets ten minutes of screentime before crashing into a fence, and the other, true to the trope page's description, crashes in the middle of the desert.
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  • Department of Child Disservices: The child service people obviously have very little sympathy for the Robbins children and their wishes to stay together.
  • Deus ex Machina: Glen's plane flying in out of nowhere to stop the police chase, and his very sudden decision to marry Peggy and adopt the kids.
  • Don't Split Us Up: After being abandoned by their father and with the death of their mother they are forced to move into a children's home. Feared they will have to be separated, they escape and run away.
  • Dung Fu: After arriving at Uncle Jack's ranch, Mitch gets into a fight with Theresa's son, Rhett. After winning the fight (he breaks Rhett's nose), Travis throws a handful of horse crap that hits Rhett in the back.
    Kate: Travis, do you have any idea what that was?
    Travis: ...Mud?
  • '80s Hair: Kate definitely has it. To a lesser extent, Peggy and Theresa (both have huge bangs).
  • Establishing Character Moment: Even before the prospect of being split-up comes up, the social worker is distinctly callous towards Travis' feelings about their dog, and even scolds him for crying.
  • Girls with Guns: Peggy carries a pistol and has no problem pointing it at a group of muggers that threaten Mitch and company.
  • Gold Digger: Jack's girlfriend, Theresa, was implied to be this.
  • Hero Stole My Car: Not once, not twice, but three times over the course of the film.
  • I Want Grandkids: Peggy's mother.
  • Parental Bonus: One of the two teenage thugs in the convenience store wears a Clockwork Orange T-shirt.
  • Precision F-Strike: Near the end of the film, in a last ditch maneuver to evade the police, Mitch steals a bus and tries to escape with his siblings. However, the police have already set up a roadblock less than a mile away. When Mitch sees it, his reaction is a short but loud "Shit!".
    • The Feature Films for Families version changes it to "Gosh!"
  • Promotion to Parent: Mitch and Kate take care of their little siblings.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Peggy Williams
  • Rich Bitch: Jack's girlfriend, Theresa - who doted on her bratty son, Rhett
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The Mother's Beetle is never seen again after the scene in the desert. Although it is referenced as part of Peggy's wedding cake, it is unknown if the no-doubt sentimental vehicle is salvaged or abandoned to the elements.


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