Pop Rocks

Pop Rocks: The (2nd) Greatest Summer of Movies Continues With Adventures in Babysitting

1982 may have been the Greatest Summer of Movies Ever, according to the Alamo Drafthouse, but 1987 was a close second.

I have dibs on Elisabeth Shue.

I'm old enough to remember the first...stirrings of manhood while watching Jaclyn Smith on Charlie's Angels and Lynda Carter in Wonder Woman, but any lingering fears about my heterosexuality were swept aside like a Miyagi "wax-off" when I first saw her in The Karate Kid. It was a double-date, and I honestly can't remember the name of the girl I went to the movies with that night, so enraptured was I by that popped collar, that sweater, those tube socks.

Shue's '80s résumé is solid, if less iconic than Molly Ringwald's and less va-va-va-voom than Phoebe Cates's. We'll overlook the curious 1986 horror movie Link and jump straight to the heavies: Back to the Future Part II, Cocktail (it took awhile, but I finally forgave Shue for allowing Tom Cruise to impregnate her) and today's 2nd Best Summer of Movies' Selection: Adventures in Babysitting.

I'm not exaggerating when I say this is the only movie directed by Chris Columbus I've ever liked. Is it the setting? I mean, Chicago's a great town, but the movie was mostly shot in Toronto. Is it the sublime douchebaggery of Bradley Whitford? Close, but no banana. No, in the end, it's all about Chris Parker, the fresh-faced suburban girl who braved inner-city hell to rescue a friend. Don't fuck with the babysitter.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar