Monday, April 15, 2013

Hiding Out (1987)...sort of

A few weeks ago, full of pep and vinegar while composing a "This Week in DVD and Instant Watching" post, I made a foolhardy challenge to all of you. I invited someone to dare me to watch "From the Hip" and "Hiding Out" and make one big I Love the '80s post about that double feature.

Well, I was caught up in excitement over the influx of new titles to Netflix streaming, and I was clouded by nostalgia, even for two movies I had never actually seen. That's the only explanation as to why I would make such a rash move. But one of my faithful readers dared me to go through with it, and being a man of honor, I was committed. Could one man watch BOTH movies in an undefined period of time and produce some kind of content at his own leisure?

Wow, when I put it all down like that, I really can't believe I agreed to do it.

There is one problem, though: While the Judd Nelson tour de force "From the Hip" is still streaming, Jon Cryer's vehicle "Hiding Out" is mysteriously "UNAVAILABLE" according to the Netflix website, and it doesn't show up at all on my Roku channel when I search for it.

Yes, folks, the movie itself is hiding out.

I DID see "From the Hip" (more on that next week), but since I can't track down the second half of the double feature (if only there were some kind of retail establishment where one could rent physical copies of older movies), I can only speculate on what "Hiding Out" is like. Needless to say, this makes my idea of comparing the two stars' characters to determine who is COOLER a difficult one to execute.

So I will do the obvious thing to do in this situation: Write about "Hiding Out" without seeing it nor doing any research, instead relying on my own minimal knowledge and preconceptions of the film.

"Hiding Out" is a 1987 movie directed by Bob Giraldi and starring Cryer and Annabeth Gish. Now, first off, the notion of a "Jon Cryer vehicle" other than the ones he buys himself with his mountains of "Two and a Half Men" cash is inherently amusing, and it offers a welcome reminder of why we like to revisit past decades of pop culture.

As for Gish, she was an 80s presence that never latched onto an inexplicably successful sitcom, and so her profile is considerably lower today. But what concerns me is that according to Wikipedia, Cryer's character is a stockbroker who, his life threatened by the mob, hides in a high school. Now, I don't mean that he literally hides somewhere where nowhere will find him--say, in the school library--but he actually enrolls in a high school as a student. Again, I have never seen this movie, but I know Gish is the love interest, meaning Cryer is an adult stockbroker who woos a high school student.

Uh...ick. So Cryer's character loses cool points for this. Early edge for Judd Nelson in "From the Hip," who lives with an actual grownup, Elizabeth McGovern.

Now, I suppose I could be doing "Hiding Out" a grave injustice by allowing this angle to so color my perception of it. Perhaps Cryer's character is like an intern stockbroker and Gish is a 19-year-old super senior who has a late birthday and was held back in first grade. I doubt this, but...maybe. Perhaps both actors were way over high school age at the time of filming anyway and this is just a silly case of Hollywood overadulticizing (I may not have seen the movie, but I can make up for it with the made-up verbiage!) high school students as it often does.

OK, I know I said I wouldn't do any research on this, but I got to take a quick look. Cryer was 22 in 1987, so he was an adult but not a creepy old man, and, come on, he was Jon Cryer, so he probably seems passably high-schoolish when he's HIDING OUT. Let's look at Gish. She was born March 13, 1971 (Sorry for the unchivalrous reveal, Ms. Gish), which would make her...

Oh, dear. She was 16 when the movie was released, let alone when it was shot.

I mean, is there anything inherently womanly about 1980s Annabeth Gish that would make us kind of nudge nudge wink wink and forget about this? 22 and 16 isn't a huge deal in, say, France, but, eh, it kind of bothers me. So Jon Cryer in "Hiding Out" is romancing a 16-year-old high school student, plus is Jon Cryer. I can tell you right now Judd Nelson wins this battle.

So what else do I know about "Hiding Out"? I know it was the launchpad for the career of Pretty Poison, a female-fronted band that scored a huge hit with "(Catch Me) I'm Falling," which remains a surefire (and justified) selection on 1980s-inspired playlists today. The fact that Pretty Poison never did anything else of note doesn't mean we can't still credit "Hiding Out" for kickstarting its career. And you know what? The only footage I've ever seen from the movie was in that music video, so I'm gonna go back and watch that, and maybe the clip will tell me all I need to know about "Hiding Out."

I'm back. OK, Jon Cryer as a stockbroker is wearing a BEARD! This is great! He looks like Curtis Armstrong auditioning for the lead role in "Serpico." I can't take this movie seriously. Uh, even more so, that is. But this music video apparently reveals the entire essence of the story. So, mission accomplished here. In fact, I have no desire to watch the entire movie, but I DO want to see a lot more of Pretty Poison's lead singer. Maybe it's nostalgia for that 1980s look, maybe it's an illusion of the fast editing, but she's something else.

Just please don't tell me she was 16 when she made this.


policomic said...

I don't know that this fulfills the requirement of the dare. I think you still have to watch it, if Netflix reinstates its streaming status at some point.

Rick Brooks said...

Well, I'll consider it, but it looks like it could be rough going after Cryer loses that beard.