So the perspicacious reader may have noticed that there hasn’t been a “Not a Review” post in a while. For the most part, this is because we have temporarily canceled our Netflix streaming and disc-by-mail accounts, in order to save a few bucks* a month. The streaming part, we canceled because there’s literally** nothing on Netflix that my wife wants to watch, while I’m all caught up on Dark and The Umbrella Academy and Kingdom, and who knows when Stranger Things is going to come back, and when I tried to watch Warrior Nun I quickly concluded that it was more or less a Buffy wannabe, plus I immediately (and correctly) guessed what the big twist was going to be; and as for the discs, well, when they arrive I put them on the fireplace mantel until we watch them, which can sometimes take over a week, depending, and I kind of got tired of having red envelopes up there glaring at me and saying “You’re spending $10 a month for me to be sitting up here doing nothing.” (Under other circumstances, when we were not home all the time, one could tend to forget that the disc was there waiting; now, not so much.)
Now, I know what you’re thinking; you’re thinking, “Who cancels a streaming service in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic?”*** But fear not! We didn’t cancel all of them. We still have Amazon Prime, so that means we get the Prime Video streaming service; and we still have Hulu****; and we still have HBO Max, which we got in order to watch the final season of Game of Thrones, and kept because I wanted to watch the Chernobyl miniseries, and then kept because I wanted to watch His Dark Materials (which my wife also got hooked on, and which is returning next month, and whose main antagonist, Mrs. Coulter, absolutely terrifies our dog Lulu), and then kept because my wife wanted to watch the Catherine the Great miniseries, and then kept because my wife decided she liked The Big Bang Theory, which we never really watched while it was airing, and which as far as I can tell is only available on HBO Max. (You may at this point have discerned a pattern as to what has kept us going on HBO Max so far.) But HBO Max doesn’t only have series and miniseries; it also has movies, which come and go. One movie that came along recently was Adventures in Babysitting, which you may remember from a post, not long ago, in which I was pleased to see Elisabeth Shue making essentially a cameo (not even a glorified one) in the Tom Hanks film Greyhound, whereas my wife had no idea who Elisabeth Shue or what Adventures in Babysitting was. I promptly put AiB in my Netflix disc queue, but of course, now that Netflix is (temporarily) canceled, said disc will not be arriving. So when I saw it on the movie list in HBO Max, I of course had to make good on my
threat promise to subject my wife to it show it to my wife.
Wife: “Is this the movie where they wear bras on their heads?”*****
Me: “No, but good guess. It’s the same general era.”
I explained to my wife that this was, in fact, Adventures in Babysitting, starring Elisabeth Shue. She didn’t really remember any previous conversations regarding Elisabeth Shue, but since she was in the mood for a comedy, agreed to watch it, even though it wasn’t the one where they wear bras on their heads. This led to lots of 80s-related commentary, mostly from me, for once. Such as:
Me: “Shoulder pads!!!”
Me: “Look at all that Aqua-Net!”
Me: “I’m pretty sure they hired this guy because they couldn’t get John Cusack.”
Now, being a film from the mid-80s that I hadn’t seen in a long, long time, I did encounter upon repeat viewing several cases of what is sometimes called “retroactive recognition“. For instance, Elisabeth Shue’s character’s jerkass boyfriend was played by Bradley Whitford, who is probably most well-known for appearing in The West Wing, but who I will always think of as one of Those Two Guys from Cabin in the Woods.
Also, I was absolutely positive I had seen the actress who plays Elisabeth Shue’s best friend Brenda in many other movies, but couldn’t quite place her; the credits identified her as Penelope Ann Miller from, among other things, The Freshman, so that explained why she looked so familiar:
Plus, while putting this post together, I discovered that the actor who plays annoying sidekick/serial Playboy thief Darryl later went on to originate the role of Mark in the Broadway musical Rent ― quite a change from Adventures in Babysitting there! (This technically doesn’t count as retroactive recognition on my part, since I didn’t recognize him myself, but bigger fans of Rent than I am certainly would have.)
But the biggest surprise in the cast, and the one that made me go, “Seriously?!” and double-check make sure there was no mistake, was that Vincent D’Onofrio played car mechanic Dawson, AKA The Mighty Thor. Vincent D’Onofrio!!!
Yes, hard as it may be to believe, that’s noted dramatic actor (and specialist in playing villains, psychos, and psycho villains) Vincent D’Onofrio carrying around his little Mjolnir expy and demanding another $5 for the $50 tire****** he put on Chris Parker’s car. Go on, take a closer look. You can see the crazy in his eyes.
Adventures in Babysitting put my wife to sleep in about 35 minutes and we finished it in three sittings, which isn’t too bad. Or, to put it in Chernobyl terms: “35 minutes. Not great, not terrible”.
* What we would really like to cancel is cable, but then Cox would jack up the price of phone and Internet so much that it would be like we still had cable, only without having cable. Your bundling policy sucks, Cox.
** Well, maybe not literally …
*** Or you might be thinking, “I have bigger concerns during the pandemic than who has what streaming service”, which would also be legit.
**** And by “have” I mean “are still using our friends’ account”
***** When we start an unknown (to her) 80s movie, my wife frequently asks if it’s the one where they wear bras on their heads. Which maybe means we need to re-watch Weird Science at some point.
****** $50 for a tire? What is this, the 80s?