Adventures in Babysitting
Director: Chris Columbus
Starring: Elisabeth Shue, Anthony Rapp, Keith Coogan, Vincent D’Onofrio, Penelope Ann Miller
“Don’t FUCK with the babysitter!”
After watching The Artist again this past weekend, I was reminded how much I miss Penelope Ann Miller. I know that sounds totally random, but she was an INTEGRAL part of Adventures in Babysitting. She plays Brenda, the best friend of Chris (Shue), who runs away from home and ends up at a bus station. I was flooded with memories of that movie. I first saw it while doing a sleepover at my cousins’ (Mike & Missy) house when I was a pre-teen. I was instantly hooked to this amazing movie from 1987. Being the little innocent angelic kid at the time, I didn’t even understand half of the jokes or references.
The movie opens with Chris Parker (Shue) getting ready for her date with Mike “So Cool” Todwell (Bradley Whitford). She is seen dancing around her room in her dress with “Then He Kissed Me” playing in the background. Come date time, Mike pulls up to Chris’s door in casual dress. He pulls the sick card and turns her down. Chris gets a call to babysit for Sara (Maia Brewton), and she accepts the offer. She has been warned that Sara’s brother Brad (Coogan) will be over at their neighbor Daryl’s (Rapp) house so he won’t be a problem. Chris gets a phone call from her best friend Brenda (Miller) that she has run away from home but now is stuck at the bus station as she has more money. Chris, Sara, Brad, and Daryl pile in the station wagon to go rescue Brenda. If it was only that easy. Sure enough, they blow a tire on the freeway. That is the first domino that falls in a series of unfortunate events for Chris and the gang. Damn that Mike for claiming he is sick. In the meantime, Brenda becomes even more crazed as she has to put up with homeless people and jumbo sized sewer rats. Just when they think they are in the clear and are able to get back home before the parents arrive, something else happens to them. Between a shoot-out, mistaken identity for a Playmate, a blues club, a subway stabbing, and a frat party, Chris realizes this is not the easy night of babysitting she signed up for.
Elisabeth Shue had a successful run of movies in the ‘80s also appearing in Cocktail, The Karate Kid, and Call to Glory. You should also recognize some other familiar faces making an appearance. A skinnier/pre-“Law&Order” Vincent D’Onofrio pops up as a mechanic that resembles the comic-book superhero Thor. Anthony Rapp (Mark in Rent) appears in his first on-screen appearance as Daryl. If you look real closely, Andrew Shue (Elisabeth’s brother) appears as an extra in the frat party scene. Adventures in Babysitting is full of one-liners that still make me laugh. I may or may not have been quoting it as we were waiting for The Artist to start. For me it’s one of those movies that is perfect to pop in the DVD player on a rainy day or if you need a good laugh. There had been rumors of a remake starring Miley Cyrus or Raven-Symonoe, but I pray to God that it does not get the green-light. That would just be wrong and sacrilegious to anyone who loves a good comedy from the ‘80s.
There are far more cult ‘80s movies than your standard John Hughes movies. What are some of your picks for a nostalgic ‘80s movie night?
The Babysitting Blues Scene