Out of the Blue captures the turbulence of youth culture of the early '80s by presenting a three-person nuclear family that is about to implode. In a prologue, Don Barnes (Dennis Hopper), a school bus driver, is drunkenly distracted one day behind the wheel, resulting in a horrible accident. He comes home from a stint in prison to find his wife, Kathy (Sharon Farrell), hooked on drugs and his now-teenaged daughter, Cindy (Linda Manz), sullen and remote. Don's old buddies are a fun-loving bunch who work only to afford to get high and party, and he seems to be falling back into his old ways instead of getting straight and pulling his family out of their funk. The story focuses on Cindy's alienation from both her parents and most of her classmates. She's influenced by the energy and anger of punk music and considers her parents pathetic relics of the '60s counterculture. Hopper reportedly took over direction of the film after co-producer/co-writer Leonard Yakir departed the production. It was Hopper's first job behind the camera since The Last Movie, his legendary flop follow-up to Easy Rider.