Adventures in Elisabeth Shue: Or What I Learned from My First On-Screen Crush

Hello there!  It’s 10:25pm on a Wednesday night and it’s damn hot here in Sacramento.  I’m still sweating as I sit here in the front room of our flat typing.

Tonight I watched “Adventures in Babysitting” on Netflix.  It had been a (hot) productive day, and at the end of it, I was ready to relax… and what better way then to look on Netflix and see what is on?   I shuffled through the items on the list, and when I saw “Adventures in Babysitting” I stopped… there’s my bird!  I knew it was the movie of the night, so I clicked “play” and ten seconds later, here we go (Ah, the wonders of modern technology… still sort of amazing to someone who grew up coveting VHS tapes)!

The one-and-only Miss Shue on the left… #childhoodcrushes

Now, “Adventures in Babysitting” came out in 1987.  I was 7 years old.  I’m fairly sure I saw “Adventures in Babysitting” with both of my parents and possibly both siblings (?).  At any rate, it was back when we were a complete family, before my parents split up two years later.  So this movie makes me think of a time of childhood wholeness.  Seeing it also represents my family (at least some of those guys) joining me in what was probably my favorite activity as a child: going to the movies.

The memories are numerous:  going to see “Beetlejuice” at the crowded theater in Pleasant Hill for my eighth birthday with my mom;  going to see “Ghostbusters” several years before that when I was all of four years old.  And of course, the experience against which all would be compared:  going to see “Return of the Jedi” with my dad when I was three years old.

I’m not sure I’m saying that “Adventures in Babysitting” was quite on the level of those movies for me.  But it had something those movies did not have:  It had sexxxx appeal.

Specifically, it had Elisabeth Shue.  Now, you gotta understand:  I was seven years old.  I had already gone through my first crush on a girl when I was five years old, and was well into my second or third by that time.  But nothing prepared me for the outstanding awesomeness that was Elisabeth Shue, Babysitting Extraordinaire and Overall Hottie Bad Ass!

Add to that the glorious way in which this movie celebrated the innocent charm of basically-good, sexually-charged pubescent boys; a triumphant encounter with an auto-mechanic version of Thor;  and the world’s greatest Babysitting Blues song; and you got the cinematic wonder that  fills me with joy now as I write.

As for the crush part, don’t tell anyone!  I can laugh about it now, but as a kid I was INTENSELY private about my crushes.   So much so that I never told a soul… let alone the girl I had a crush on (Until the 8th grade, when chance or biology finally pushed me to ask a girl out… a girl who, when I think back on it, actually looked a bit like Miss Shue!). The fact is, I was so stuck in my head, thinking and feeling and living all alone there, from a very early age, that I never expressed these kinds of things.  If I had, perhaps I would have had a more balanced perspective and could have had happier teenage years.  Not only regarding girls, but socially in all aspects.

One thing I have learned as an adult is that life is HELLA fun… but it’s only fun when you get to express yourself, parlay with other human beings who help you keep your head on straight, and get to explore your dreams and desires and do something about them.

I think that “Adventures in Babysitting” represented several key desires in me:  one, the aforementioned crush on a cute girl.  Two: the desire for FUN in life… and having good friends to share life with and go on adventures with.  This is something I had as a kid, yet somehow there in adolescence I withdrew into my own nest of music and study, and became an obsessive, workaholic recluse who silently screamed “fuck you!” to the world because I didn’t want to be rejected by it.

The other thing that the movie represented to me was how much I LOVE the movies.  And creativity.  And entertainment.  And all the shite I am still obsessed with to this day.  The stuff that makes me ME.  Which is basically that I am a fun-loving, expressive ARTISTIC type who prefers to live in his imagination, watch movies, tell stories, and create shit.

Like SO many movies have done for me throughout my life, “Adventures in Babysitting” tapped into that part of me.  It reminds me of that life force within, an inner YES in me which has the desire to do.  The desire to live.  The desire to create…

Some things never change.


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