|Available at Amazon.com|
Teen love can be such a twisted and fickle thing. When you’re 17, you swear your high school sweetheart will be he most important person in your life. When you’re 21, your eternal love will become a trivia question. During laundry day at the folks’ house. Mom will ask, “Whatever happened to….” You’ll reply, “What was I thinking?” Baby It’s You focuses on one of those relationships.
Jill Rosen (Rosanna Arquette) is a senior intent on being a great actress. She nabs the lead in the school play. She’s waiting to be accepted to a top private college. She has things figured out until The Sheik (Vincent Spano) takes a fancy to her. He locks eyes with her. She’s puzzled by his suit. Who is this sharp dressed character that roams the high school hallways without a pass? Is he secretly a vice principal? Or a narc? Turns out he’s a man who worships the coolness of Sinatra. He doesn’t have time to sit through assigned classes. This helps him as he flirts with Jill.
She doesn’t like him at first. She plays it cool as he races her around the streets in a boss car. But he wears her down with his polite ways. He’s not the normal Jersey greaser. He also has showbiz dreams. He wants to emulate Frank. Her folks aren’t happy about the guy. She’s a good Jewish girl with a future. He’s too much of a mobster character for their taste. She refuses to dump him until he creeps her out. Their relationship becomes a series of break ups and make ups. Although during one break up, The Sheik doesn’t use a Trojan with a one night stand. Complications ensue. Things also go weird when she goes off to the prom with another guy. The Shiek pays a late visit to a Tux rental shop that leads to him moving to Miami. His relocations allows him to become a nightclub performer in the Sunshine state. Even though she knows better, Jill wants to see him perform. She just can’t make a clean break.
There were fears that the DVD would have soundtrack replacements. It’s hard to tell if all the ’60s pop tunes are here, but the numerous Bruce Springsteen songs are intact. It’s strange for a movie that takes place in the mid-60s to contain “Jungleland” and “It’s Hard To Be A Saint In The City.” The Springsteen angle does make sense since the film was shot around Asbury Park, New Jersey. The Shiek comes off as a character that inspired the Boss’s Garden State epics. The modern music comes from him instead of being played around him.
One of the strange elements of the packaging is declaring “also featuring a star turn by Robert Downey Jr.” While it’s nice that they want to cash in on the actor’s Iron Mania, Downey is barely a cameo in the film. The actor who deserves a “star turn” billing is Matthew Modine. The man from Weeds and Full Metal Jacket plays the smooth college boy. Frank Vincent (The Sopranos) has a perfect cameo at the end that doesn’t need spoiling.
Baby It’s You isn’t the goofy high school movie that dominated ‘80s cinema. Director John Sayles didn’t lower his indie standards to make Porkys The Day After the Revenge. He examines the emotions of Jill and The Sheik instead of focusing on the slapstick and gross moments of secondary education. This movie fits well with the teenage moments of Goodfellas except Baby It’s You is about love instead of cutting cocaine. Spano and Arquette are believable in this twisted romance. Baby It’s You is a tale of adolescence meant for adults.
The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The transfer is fine, but the film is extra grainy. Perhaps this is reflective in the Kodak stocks of 1983? The audio is Dolby Digital mono. The music never steps on the actors lines. There are no subtitles, but it’s Closed Captioned.
Baby It’s You came from a period when John Sayles could do no wrong as the king of Indie cinema in America. He did have a way to make sure his female characters weren’t reduced to eye candy or dutiful wife. Rosanna Arquette rarely has given a more natural performance in her career. It’s easy to believe that she would be twisted about her attraction to Vincent Spano.
Legend Films presents Baby It’s You. Directed by John Sayles. Starring Rosanna Arquette, Vincent Spano and Frank Vincent. Written by John Sayles. Running time: 105 minutes. Rated R. Released on DVD: July 1, 2008. Available at Amazon.com.