Adventures in Babysitting (PG-13)
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Caution: potential spoilers.
This came out in 1987. I certainly couldn't have seen it in a theater, so I'm not sure when the first time I saw it was. But I know I've seen it plenty of times, when I was a kid... I guess we used to have it on VHS. So it's one of those movies that has become very nostalgic for me. And now I have it on DVD, so I'm writing up a review, in 2012. I always found it to be a really funny and fun and crazy and sweet and slightly twisted movie. The characters are great, the plot is... well, crazy. And awesome. And... I'm not sure if this is the first thing I saw Elisabeth Shue in or not. I may have seen her in "The Karate Kid" before this, or not. I may have even seen her in "Back to the Future Part II" before this, even though that came out a couple years later. But I doubt it. Whatever I saw her in first, I'll always remember her most for this.
The movie starts with 17-year-old Chris Parker (Shue) getting ready for a date with her boyfriend, Mike Todwell (Bradley Whitford, which didn't mean anything to me the last time I saw this, but now I'm like "Holy crap that was Bradley Whitford?!"). As she prepares, she's dancing to the song "Then He Kissed Me," by the Crystals. (This must be the first time I ever heard that song, though it came out in 1963. So I will forever associate it with this movie.) Unfortunately, Mike cancels their date, saying his sister got sick, and he has to look after her while their parents go out. So, Chris calls her friend Brenda (Penelope Ann Miller) to come over and commiserate. But then Chris's mom comes in and tells her the Andersons want her to babysit that night.
Chris reluctantly goes to the Andersons' house, where she'll be sitting for 8-year-old Sara, who, it is important to note, considers Thor to be her hero. (Hmmm, in retrospect, I can't help wondering what grown-up Sara would think of the 2011 movie Thor. But I digress.) I should also say Sara is kinda bratty and definitely snarky, but also kinda adorable. Anyway, Sara has a 15-year-old brother named Brad, who has a major crush on Chris (he's a freshman and she's a senior). He's supposed to be spending the night at his friend Daryl Coopersmith's house, but after his parents leave, he decides he'd rather stay home, because Chris is there. Meanwhile, Chris gets a call from Brenda, who has taken a cab to the bus station, planning to run away from home (because she hates her stepmother). But she ended up spending all her money on the cab, so she couldn't afford a ticket, and now she had no way to get home. And the bus station was scary. So she wanted Chris to pick her up. Chris reluctantly agrees, and Brad and Sara basically blackmail her into taking them with her. When Daryl (who was lurking outside the Andersons' house) finds out, he ends up going along for the ride. So, the four young suburbanites head into the big, bad city. Oh, I should probably say that Daryl is kind of a goofy wiseass, kind of annoying, but mostly funny, in a sophomoric way (though presumably he's also a freshman).
Well. Things pretty quickly go wrong. It's hard to know exactly what to say, because so much happens to them, and I don't really want to spoil it. They get a flat tire on the expressway. They meet a guy named John Pruitt, who at first seems scary, then helpful, then... I don't want to say too much. They also meet a car thief named Joe Gipp, who's a surprisingly nice guy (but the people he works for aren't). And at one point they are forced to sing an extemporaneous Blues song (which was awesome). And at one point they crash a frat party, where they meet a college student named Dan Lynch (George Newbern; this may or may not be the first thing I saw him in, but it'll always be what I remember him best for). And... well, lots of stuff happens. Like I said, I'm trying not to spoil too much. But seriously... it's a hell of a night.
I guess that's all I can think to say, then. I did mention that it's really funny and sweet and crazy, right? And the acting was perfect by everyone. And there was great music. And um... yeah, everything about the movie is just really memorable and awesome.
Oh yeah also, a couple years after the movie came out, a pilot for a potential spin-off TV series aired on CBS, but the series never got made. I'm pretty sure I saw the pilot, but I don't remember anything about it. I also don't remember whether I saw it before the actual movie, or not. Whatever, it's not important. In 2016, there was a remake on Disney Channel.