From Elizabeth Shue to Val Kilmer

Last week, I published my first Six Degrees post, in which I connected Arnold Schwarzenegger to Anthony Perkins. I sent the link over to Dan, the owner and manager of Bleading Marvelous.* As a fellow film buff, I was eager to see if Dan would enjoy the post (she did, thank the lord) and wondered if she could throw up an interesting pairing for this week’s entry. She did not disappoint.

From adventurous babysitter to abysmal Batman.

Dan assured me that the link was way easier than I thought it would be, but it still took me a lot of mental stretching to get this one. Here goes…

The first movie that Elizabeth Shue movie that popped into my head was Adventures in Babysitting**. Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember a single other person who was in that film, having not watched it in years. The problem is that once i’ve got one film in my head when playing this game, it’s difficult to see beyond it. Similarly all I could think about for Kilmer was Batman Forever, for which I will never forgive him. Honestly, I didn’t hate the film but I just can not buy Kilmer as Batman. I’d take Clooney over Kilmer and he was in the worst Batman film ever made, so you can appreciate the depth of feeling, here.

I spent a good hour or so alternating between trying to remember other actors from Adventures in Babysitting and screaming “YOU WERE BETTER AS THE SAINT AND I DIDN’T LIKE YOU IN THAT!”. Eventually, I managed to push the images from my mind and focus on another starting point. Elizabeth Shue played Marty Mcfly’s girlfriend Jennifer in Back To The Future.

Well, that’s not strictly true. Oddly I tend to remember Shue as Jennifer across the trilogy, despite knowing full well that she actually stepped in to fill the role in the second movie. It’s much the same as my weird mental blip when it comes to Sebastian the crab in The Little Mermaid. I know he’s Jamaican, but in my head he’s French. No idea what that’s about.

“I think you’ve confused me with Rene Auberjonois’ chef. Yeah, movie trivia from a crab.”


Anyway, I knew that Shue actually starred in the second and third movies in the BTTF franchise. What I wasn’t certain of until researching this piece was why and I was surprised to find that unlike so many Hollywood stories about casting changes which centre on ego or pay disputes, this story is sad and quite touching. Claudia Wells, the original Jennifer, chose to leave the role when her mother developed cancer, choosing family over film stardom. On an interesting side note, Wells did eventually return to the role in Back To The Future: The Game by Telltale Games, another title which sits waiting in my Pile Of Shame. Regardless, Shue played Jennifer alongside Michael J. Fox and that gave me my next link.

Let me ask you all a question. Has anyone other than me seen a 1993 film called For Love or Money? Also known as The Concierge? I’m not going to be shocked if you’re reading this and shaking your head as i’ve never spoken to anyone who’s watched it beyond myself. Of course, i’ve never asked all that many people, but even so…

When I was but a slip of a lad, living at home with my parents, I would live for days when I could head to the local shop with my Dad and rent a couple of videos. If you hired any recent release at full rental price, you could get any older, cheaper film for free, a deal which I used to the fullest. I don’t remember what blockbuster, fresh on the shelves flick I picked up on the day I got The Concierge for free, I just remember watching the cheaper film twice before I returned it and then picking it up again the next time I was in.

I loved that film with a passion and recently was absolutely thrilled to finally discover that it was also released under the name For Love Or Money and was available on Blu-ray. A copy of it now sits proudly on the shelf.

I won’t go into the details of the movie but I do urge you all to watch it and let me know what you thought. It was charming and funny and I admit it, led to one of my earliest film crushes. Gabrielle Anwar. I remember falling head over heels for that woman in both The Concierge and in another role which opens up the next connection in this long winded series of links.

“You, for example, smell like Michael J. Fox. It’s nice.”

Gabrielle Anwar is the woman who dances the tango with Al Pacino in Scent Of A Woman, one of my all time, top five favourite films. The tango scene is, I think, one of the most wonderful moments in cinematic history. Al Pacino’s portrayal of the blind, despairing lieutenant colonel is pitch perfect and Chris O’ Donnell is wonderful as his young guide on Pacino’s last “tour of pleasures”. Movie magic.

You’ve probably already realised that Chris O’ Donnell leads to Val Kilmer via Batman Forever and we’d be done right here, if not for my desperate loathing of Kilmer in that role. I don’t hate Val Kilmer as an actor, I don’t hate Batman Forever as a movie but I cannot abide Kilmer as Batman. I will never understand that casting and I was relieved when Clooney took the part. Batman & Robin was an abomination of cinema, of course, but Clooney came off the back of a dreadful Batman and filled the role fine for the crap-show he was starring in. Besides, he had the jawline for it.

No, I decided that I would point blank refuse to link from Scent Of A Woman to that atrocity, so I went another way and linked one favourite to another. Heat. If you’ve not seen Heat, finish reading this and then go and watch it. Pacino and De Niro in that diner scene? Goosebumps. I’ve not watched it for years and don’t need to, it’s one of those films that seared itself into my brain and sits there as a little pocket of perfection.

You know who else was pretty good in Heat? Val Kilmer. Yes, I got there eventually.

I worked these links out in my head, as always, jotting them in a notepad as I went. Having finally reached Kilmer I sat back, pretty damn pleased with myself. Then I swore. Loudly.

Elizabeth Shue was in Cocktail with Tom Cruise, who starred in Top Gun with… Yeah. Could have done it in one move.

I swore again.

*Bleading Marvelous is a fantastic store full of geeky goodness and Dan is bloody lovely and runs one of the best and most interactive communities on Facebook. Nope, I didn’t get paid a damn thing to say any of that, i’m just a big fan.

**As always, IMDB links are included so you can check my math.

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