Monday, November 21, 2011

Fifteen Minute Movies: Adventures in Babysitting (Part One)

 Walking on a treadmill in short increments is going to provide a fun and hopefully continuing series for the Blogorium, one I'm going to call Fifteen Minute Movies. The length will eventually increase slowly but surely, but as it does, I'll generally be finished with one movie and starting another.

 You see, there's an old TV / VCR combo unit upstairs, and all of the surviving tapes that I didn't banish to storage purgatory are up there, including the original Star Wars trilogy, the Thin Man series, various Disney movies, and all sorts of films that my parents found interesting and *cough* made copies of. I mean, taped off of AMC. Yeah... that's the ticket. Back when AMC didn't have commercial breaks during movies - which actually was the case twenty years ago.

 Anyway, so today we'll look at the first fifteen minutes of Adventures in Babysitting, a movie I'd been orbiting around since finding $4.99 copies of the DVD at the place I worked at before the place I work at now (I was forbidden to mention it by name, mention it's logo with the star in it, or mention the giraffe by name, so why start giving it props now?). I never did pick up that DVD, but the tape sure was upstairs, and I haven't seen Adventures in Babysitting since high school (I'm pretty sure that's the last time I saw it all the way through). It seemed like a good place to start; I didn't remember many of the details but recall enjoying it at age 8.

 Also, since David Gordon Green is all-but-giving-it-the-same-name remaking the film as The Sitter with Jonah Hill, it seemed appropriate to watch the movie that's pretty much entirely based on, at least from the trailers I've seen.

 Here are a few tidbits I didn't remember / didn't know from the first fifteen minutes of Adventures in Babysitting (the only thing I did recognize immediately was Elisabeth Shue dancing and lip-synching to "And Then He Kissed Me" in what is now obviously an appropriation of Tom Cruise's "Old Time Rock 'n Roll" Risky Business scene).

 - I forgot that Chris Columbus (Mrs. Doubtfire, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone) made his transition from writing for Steven Spielberg-produced films like Gremlins and The Goonies to directing with Adventures in Babysitting.

 - This is, by the way, a pre-Back to the Future part 2 Elisabeth Shue, but post-Karate Kid.

- On the other hand, the film was a post-Back to the Future for Maia Brewton (who appeared as one of Lorraine's younger sisters) before playing Thor-obsessed Sara Anderson, but pre-Parker Lewis Can't Lose, where she played Parker's sister Shelley.

 - Other casting notes during character introductions: Chris (Shue)'s boyfriend at the beginning of the film? The West Wing's Bradley Whitford. Brad Anderson (The Walton's Keith Coogan)'s best friend? Dazed and Confused (or Rent)'s Anthony Rapp. Chris's best friend Brenda? Carlito's Way's Penelope Ann Miller (or, if you prefer, Big Top Pee Wee's Penelope Ann Miller).

 Now, based on what I just looked up on IMDB, I could tell you who it was that played Thor in the movie, but that's a few more "Fifteen Minute"'s away. Let's just say it's a name you're recognize, and considering the other movie he was prominently featured in for 1987, you'd be surprised. But we'll get to that.

 So what else did I get in the first fifteen minutes of Adventures in Babysitting? Well, Columbus and writers David Simkins and Elizabeth Faucher efficiently set up why Chris Parker doesn't have a hot date, why Brenda prevents her from dodging babysitting the Anderson kids, that Brad has the hots for Chris, Darryl (Rapp) is kind of a pervert, and provides the impetus for the whole gang to head downtown. Not too shabby to include a song-and-dance scene and the credits. Well played, Columbus.

 Join us next time for more Fifteen Minute Movies, wherein I pick another section of Adventures in Babysitting to report back with!

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