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Angelina’s 80’s Archive: Adventures in Babysitting

I’d like to start off Adventures in Babysitting this week with an apology to Elisabeth Shue, whose name I spelled as “Elizabeth” in two previous pieces. I guess having “Liza with a ‘Z’,” hammered into my head at a dance competition many years ago affected my ability to consider that there are, in fact, still “Lisa[s] with an “S.” But that’s no excuse; as a person whose last name is frequently spelled wrong, I should know to triple check! I am incredibly sorry, Elisabeth Shue. This Bitchin’ Bio’s for you.

Release Date: June 19, 1987

Synopsis: 17-year-old Chris Parker’s (Shue) boyfriend (Bradley Whitford) stands her up, and she has to spend her night babysitting the Andersons – lovestruck high school freshman Brad and his Thor-fanatic little sister, Sara (Keith Coogan, Maia Brewton). When Chris’s best friend, Brenda (Penelope Ann Miller) runs away from home, she calls Chris to rescue her from a sketchy bus station in downtown Chicago. Brad’s buddy, Daryl Coopersmith (Anthony Rapp) insists on coming along, and a flat tire on the highway spurs a series of events that turn a one-hour errand into a dangerous night of city hijinks for these suburban kids.

Degrees of Kevin Bacon: 1. For The Karate Kid, I used Hollow Man (2000), which Bacon stars in with Shue. But, I did a little bit more digging here, and present JFK (1991). This film sees Vincent D’Onofrio (Dawson) alongside everyone’s favorite 80’s Kevin.

What can I say? The man is well-connected!

Come for: Another very strong performance and character for future Oscar nominee Elisabeth Shue, three years after her film debut.

Stay for: A movie with a John Hughes heart that leads it to often be mistaken for one of his own – one I believe includes all of the best aspects of a Hughes movie while eliminating most of the worst. It is no wonder director Chris Columbus would go on to work with him on Home Alone (1990) and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992). In addition, the movie’s opening sequence always has me dancing and singing along with it. AND I deeply enjoy the “Babysitting Blues.”

Had I seen it? At this point, too many times to count.

Do I like it? I’m a big fan. It’s going to start seeming that I like every 80’s movie that comes my way, and while that’s not strictly true, why would I want to continue to spend my time writing about something I didn’t, for the most part, enjoy? One thing I have a problem with is the film’s conventional need for Chris to be in a relationship in the end, as if a high school girl without some kind of love interest is the end of the world. However, I know this was a different time, and still, Adventures in Babysitting is an incredibly entertaining and funny movie that I never get tired of watching. My sister and I put on the DVD once pretty much every few months. When we can’t think of anything else to watch, we know we’re going to enjoy laughing and quoting an absurd amount of its lines, during and in the months until we watch it again.

The performances in Adventures in Babysitting are stellar, with each protagonistic character getting their time to shine in both one-liners and cheer-inducing hero moments. While the storylines may be a bit silly, they often simultaneously offer stressfully perilous situations, so there’s definitely not a lack of action. Allow yourself some downtime to watch this movie. You won’t regret it.

Get ready for Thanksgiving! Next week we’ll be covering our first John Hughes movie: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. 1987 was a good year for entertainment…


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Angelina is a senior at BU, studying English in the College of Arts and Sciences, with a focus on Shakespeare. She is from Somerville, MA. In addition to writing for HCBU, Angelina is the Director of BU On Broadway Off Broadway and has been involved with theater through BU Shakespeare Society, Wandering Minds, and Stage Troupe. Outside of school, she enjoys dancing, music, baking, and movie marathons. Her pop culture heart lives in the 1980's.
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