Adventures in Babysitting (1987)

advinbabysittingIf there’s anyone who can play a dreamy babysitter seemingly pulled out of a fantasy, it’s Elisabeth Shue. She has the girl next door appeal with the extraordinary beauty that makes her such an interesting heroine in Chris Columbus’ small classic adventure. The 1987 comedy is about as unique as it gets, spawning a bunch of imitators, none of whom can really live up to the enthusiasm and comic timing that Shue, Keith Coogan, and Maia Brewton manage to in a little under eighty minutes time.

Shue plays dreamy eyed Chris Parker, a high school senior in a relationship she doesn’t realize is going South. When she’s let down by her long time boyfriend, she is tasked with babysitting the children of her parents’ friends. Both kids bring their own obstacles to the table for Chris, but her mundane night goes awry when Chris’ best friend Megan is stuck in a bus station, and needs to be picked up. What begins as a simple errand run, transforms in to an all night series of misadventures, prompting Chris to muster up courage, strength, and patience, all the while enduring her young charges.

Along the way, Columbus and writer David Simkins keep “Adventures in Babysitting” brisk and entertaining, offering up a lot of extraordinary scenarios our characters have to seemingly battle out of. Things seem to only get worse for Chris and her group as they also become the target of a ring of car thieves after they accidentally steal a “Playboy” filled with their top secret notes. Simkins writing is raucously fun, always skirting the line between an R rating and a G rating.

The more humorous dangerous encounters are almost always skirting the rating, right down to a gang war that involves a stabbing and Chris having to literally make a stand if she hopes to get everyone off of the train without being killed. Though there is a healthy dose of menace injected, “Adventures in Babysitting” is classic eighties fodder that’s just all out raucous fun for a broad audience. Columbus is never afraid to go off the wall and as a result delivers one very unique and entertaining comedy that has yet to be duplicated.

“Home Alone” and Its Endearing Adventure


I was seven when “Home Alone” first arrived in theaters, and oddly enough I don’t remember the first time watching it. I did go to the movies to see it, as we always did, but I do fondly remember one night when my brother and I dragged my dad to see it for a third time. Beside “Who Framed Roger Rabbit!” we’d seen “Home Alone” at least three times in theaters, and we loved it. My dad had worked late, and he picked my brother and me up during one snowy night and we debated on what to see in the theaters. He was anxious to watch “King Ralph,” but we begged him to let us watch “Home Alone” once again. He obliged and allowed us to watch it yet again, despite entering the theater mid-way through the movie for the final half.

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Movies That Age Poorly: Nine Months (1995)

Julianne-Moore-Hugh-Grant_lDirected by Chris Columbus
Written by Chris Columbus

Growing up in an avidly religious household and being basically forced in to committing to ceremonies like Communion and Sunday school, you’re given a lot of different messages that are hardly ever second guessed. When you’re a child you’re fed a lot of crap because often you’re just too young to try to contradict or argue an adult’s lesson. And if you do, you’re often disciplined for doing so, so all attempts are rendered irrelevant. All my childhood, I was told that the true key to happiness is having children and not questioning your beliefs. “Nine Months” is that movie I didn’t realize was a pro life manifesto that passive aggressively pushes religious undertones on its audience. The subtle themes come through loud and clear after watching it for the first time in years, and it’s a shame such a trite commentary was considered prime comedy when released.

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