Sunday, January 10, 2010

Robert Downey, Jr. Ouevre #3 - Baby It's You

I thought this one might be a pretty good movie. It was one of John Sayles' first films. Love story set in New Jersey in the 1960's. Rosanna Arquette is an aspiring actress in high school, has friends, president of the drama club, liked by the teachers, apparently a pretty good student. Vincent Spano is the guy from the wrong side of the tracks. A greaser, he dresses nattily, got kicked out of a private school and is supposed to be attending a new one but his only presence at the institute of learning is to stalk Arquette. He goes by the moniker Sheik (because of the prophylactic of the same name).

Despite Sheik being a crazy stalker guy, Arquette can't resist him. Their off-again, on-again relationship through senior year of high school ends in an off-phase when Sheik robs a tuxedo rental shop and leaves for Miami to pursue a singing career. Arquette goes off to college at Sarah Lawrence.

Neither adjust well to their new settings. Aruqette visits Sheik out of loneliness. Sheik reads it the wrong way, stalks her back at college, they decide they must split for good but the movie ends with them dancing to their song at a college mixer.

Point? Beats me. The movie states it is a "fresh and funny comedy". Once again, I failed to see the humor. A crazed ne'er do well stalks a young lady. Hysterical!

Music plays a big part in the movie. In a trend that must have started with this movie back in 1983, because the movie was set in New Jersey, it had to have songs from Bruce Springsteen in it. Also had some tunes from the fifties and sixties. Nice soundtrack if you're into that sort of thing (which I'm not, really).

What about our hero? This was his first credited movie appearance not counting his role as Puppy in his father's 1970 movie, Pound. How did he do? Well, maybe the "fresh and funny comedy" on the case is an outright lie because the movie case also states "Also a featuring a star turn by Robert Downey, Jr.". Do you know what a star turn is? Apparently it is when someone who is a star from other movies has a fleeting appearance where he turns and faces the camera. Seriously. The movie ended and I did not recall seeing Downey. I checked the credits which were in order of appearance. He was Stewart. Who the hell was Stewart? Went back to the spot where some of the other names in the credits around that area occurred. Could not find him. Scanned through another section. Nothing. Finally found him. He makes his first appearance about fifty minutes in at the senior prom. He is dancing with his date and turns and is in the camera's sight. Thus, the star turn. He then has a couple lines in a bar after the prom where he discusses his fake ID. His face and body are partially blocked and there are other people talking so it is hard to even tell it is him unless you are really looking. He could be anybody.

Very difficult to believe that over the following five years John Sayles turned out such fantastic films as Eight Men Out, Matewan and Brother from Another Planet.

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