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Baby It's You
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Sayles' third feature Baby It's You becomes a real winner once one gets beyond the unimaginative title. It's sort of an anti-American Graffiti, the story of one teenager's passage from high school to college in the odd years of the late 1960s. Sayles wrote it from a story by his producer, Amy Robinson (After Hours, From Hell). The inspired casting offers the first film starring roles for Rosanna Arquette and Vincent Spano, and they make an intriguing couple.
Rosanna Arquette's Jill is a nice, ambitious girl with good social skills and a sharp mind. She knows what she wants, and even her parents give her a wide berth. She nabs the lead in the school play around the same time she attracts the attention of the baddest boy on campus, Sheik. The guy is fashion-themed at all times and has an attitude a mile thick; he wanders the halls and thinks nothing of breaking into classes to talk to Jill. And they aren't even boyfriend and girlfriend yet.
Sayles' script is edgy and unpredictable: crime isn't punished directly and high hopes are sometimes flattened by reality, just as in real life. Sheik appears to hang out with local wiseguys and acts like a hood, but he and his scuzzy friend 'Rat' (Gary McCleery) are rank amateurs at crime. Emotionally erratic to the point of being frightening, Sheik attempts to scare Jill into being his girlfriend, just the kind of immature stunt one might expect. He ends up winning her with the intensity of his attentions, and his flair for romance […]
College turns out to be a complete reversal, when Jill realizes that she's no longer a special case, or the smartest girl in school. Her acting dream goes poof and she makes social mistakes, like getting roaring drunk (and then sick) with a group of her friends, leading her date (Matthew Modine) to assume that she's easy. Other women in her dorm prove to be cynics or snobs and one girl goes quietly insane, and nobody seems to care. Jill is disillusioned. She's in danger of losing some of the spark of youth, even though she's barely begun to live.
Like Nicolas Cage in Peggy Sue Got Married, Sheik has unrealistic dreams of a show business career based on image rather than talent. He talks a good line but takes it hard when his hopes vanish. Still a punk, Sheik steals a car and hightails it from Florida to Jill's northern college, just in time to rescue her self-esteem. Sheik is broke, but he's got his tuxedo and can serve as a last-chance prom date. What they missed in high school, they might be able to straighten out in their lives to come.
Sayles has a great cameraman (Michael Ballhaus) helping him to float this very well produced movie -- the locations, actors and direction are exceptional. Sayles also has a good sense for using music. […] Vincent Spano is certainly good but it's Rosanna Arquette's movie. She's heartbreakingly on target as the smart girl who discovers that she's made a commitment to the oddest guy she ever met.
The interpersonal details are what makes Baby It's You work so well. […] Despite the 'R' rating, it's a real movie, not a 'coming of age' sex romp. I'm very glad I caught up with it. --Glenn Erickson of DVDSavant.com
Top Customer Reviews
This is the bittersweet coming-of-age tale of two star-crossed teenagers growing up in 1960's New Jersey. Jill Rosen (Rosanna Arquette) is a privileged Jewish girl destined for one of the Seven Sisters colleges and, eventually, marriage to someone with a future. Albert ("Sheik") Capadalupo is a working-class Italian boy who reveres Frank Sinatra and drives around with his best friend in a hotrod called the Ratmobile. (And yes, there's a story behind Sheik's nickname.) At first, their romance is thrilling: Sheik is madly in love with Jill, and Jill finds bad-boy Sheik exciting.
But when Jill goes off to college, the dynamics of their relationship change. Sayles does this really well: the characters outgrow each other, or rather the environment that propelled their relationship, and they have to find new common ground...if it exists.
Sayles is also a Springsteen fan, and he incorporates a song from each of Bruce's first four albums, in order. Springsteen's music, along with other selections, make this a good soundtrack, too.
Parts of this movie are funny, parts are sad, but it's all compelling. It is just as poignant as "Breaking Away" and "Stand by Me", though those are buddy flicks and this is a romantic drama. Watch for it on TV or buy a copy and hook up your old VCR. It's a treasure.
most people. It is set in the late 60's in New Jersey and
depicts a high school romance between an upper class brainy
beauty , Jill Rosen ( Roseanna Arquette ) and a lower class
greaser, the Sheik (Vincent Spano). It documents an unlikely
but plausible courtship and breakup. The performances are uniformly perceptive and it even has several Bruce
Springsteen tunes from before he became an American icon.
What struck me the most was the transition from the 1960's high school preppy scene to the college hippie scene. It
is the best depiction of the late 1960's college life I have
After their breakup, Jill attends an elite northeastern
private woman's college and the Shiek travels to Miami to follow his show business dream and also wash dishes in a nightclub. Their attempted reunion at Jill's college is
sweet but poignant ; there is no future for them together. I would really
like to see their characters 20 years later. I would suspect
Jill was an unhappy, divorced attorney and the Sheik was
an unhappy union official with a fat Italian wife and five
kids. Sayles really captured that moment in young adult
life where you are totally unsure about everything. To me , the
film is the closest thing to Splendor in the Grass. Grab
it now on VHS as it is not available on DVD.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I can't exactly tell you why but I think this has become my favorite movie. Is it because a young Rosanna Arquette is so cute and sexy and beguiling ? Read morePublished 4 months ago by ELLIOTT BERGER
One of my all-time favorite 80's movies. Vincent Spano just nails it in this movie.Published 5 months ago by Lesley Koke DeWig
Love this movie. Saw it when it was released in theaters in the early 80's and, though the pacing was somewhat slow, I kept thinking of this film for weeks afterward. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Kelly E Seagle