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Alex P. Keaton Round 1: Hey, Great Fish versus My Favorite Babysitter

November 19, 2009

#15 A Fish Called Wanda v. #18 Adventures in Babysitting

As great as the dialogue is, it’s the subtle boob grab at the end of Otto’s initial meeting with Ken that foreshadows just how extensive the comedy is in the 1988 classic, A Fish Called Wanda. The film was both a commercial and critical success, earning Academy Award nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best Director, while Kevin Kline took home an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Rare air for a comedy.

But Academy Awards don’t mean anything when matched up against a movie like Adventures in Babysitting. Made one year earlier and earning about half as much at the box office as Fish, Adventures in Babysitting was never going to be confused with an Oscar-caliber film. But it has stood the test of time so much that a 2011 sequel is in the works. Unfortunately, the sequel won’t include Elisabeth Shue.

This marks Shue’s second appearance in the throwdown, after Cocktail was upset by Strange Brew. Remarkably, 22 years after she babysat, Shue doesn’t look any different, as seen in a recent Curb Your Enthusiasm episode. (Though as Will Leitch notes, it was odd to see Elisabeth Shue not playing Elizabeth Shue. Maybe it was the three-way?). Even more remarkably, seeing Shue on Curb made me realize that my opinion of her hasn’t changed since my younger sister first made me watch this:

But it’ll take more than Shue’s beauty to knock off the best stutter in film until Rocket Science came out in 2007.



Between Michael Palin’s performance as Ken, Kline’s incredible portrayal of Otto and the always stellar John Cleese (who also co-wrote and co-directed the film), A Fish Called Wanda is clearly the favorite to advance to the Round of 32. Can Elisabeth Shue turn the tables just as Strange Brew did to her earlier in the tournament?


Beer Over Liquor

July 20, 2008

In an extremely scientific poll, 3 out of 4 80s throwdown voters prefer beer over liquor. They also apparently prefer Canada over Jamaica and dudes over Elizabeth Shue’s boobs …. wait, can I change my vote?

Despite the presence of Elizabeth Shue, Cocktail, the chalk, couldn’t hold off those crazy Canadians Bob and Doug MacKenzie and Strange Brew, #23 in the Just Say No bracket, pulled off the upset and will face the winner of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Cinema Paradiso in Round Two (to take place in 2014).

What makes Strange Brew so special? I’ll let the Canadians themselves fill you in:

It’s a Bull Market

May 4, 2008

Wall Street is good. Wall Street is right. Wall Street works. Wall Street captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.

Wall Street also captured the hearts and minds of the voters in its first round match-up with Lethal Weapon, capturing all four votes to unanimously advance to the second round.

While both films nicely captured a pair of ubiquitous 80s themes – gratuitous nudity and cocaine use (and even the latter was rather unnecessary to the plot line of Wall Street) – Wall Street advanced on sheer rewatchability. There may not be nobility in poverty anymore, but there’s even less in being forced to sit through Lethal Weapon 21 years after it was made.

Mel Gibson’s mullet (and his ass) only allows for so much entertainment. Overall, the move wasn’t much more than your classic buddy cop film — only look, it’s a black guy and a white guy!

Wall Street, released just two months after the stock market crash of 1987 (I learned that one from an AMC commercial), captured an era. From the way Bud Fox’s million-dollar condo was decorated to the slick-backed hair, white collars on blue shirts and suspenders worn by Gordon Gekko. On top of that, in spite of the numerous viewings over the past 20-plus years, it still felt fresh and relevant. For that, it advances to the round of 64, where it will meet the winner of Stand by Me and Coming to America.

– Noonan

Jast Say No: Strange Brew (#23) vs. Cocktail (#10)

May 3, 2008

So what’s your preference – a fresh and tasty mixed drink or maybe a nice cold beer? How about some Jamican Rum, maybe? Or how ‘boot a Molson, eh? Our first matchup from the Just Say No bracket – an all-alcohol extravaganza – will answer all those questions.

In this corner we have the 1983 release, Strange Brew. The hosers in this film weren’t much different from the rest of us – always in search of more beer.

Though Strange Brew only grossed about $8.5 million domestically for its theater run, it definitely developed a cult following. And it provided my friends and I much more fodder with which to make fun of Canadians and their silly style of pronunciation.

Battling Strange Brew will be the 1988 film Cocktail, in which Tom Cruise provided the inspiration for bartenders worldwide to flip bottles and recite poetry — can I just have my goddamn drink already? This will be the first of numerous appearances for both Tom Cruise and Elizabeth Shue in this 80s throwdown.

As Couglin would say: Drink or be gone. One of these films will be the latter after this matchup.

– Noonan