This week’s ‘Baby Driver’ isn’t actually about a baby. But what if it was??? For lack of a better tie-in (since we’ve already done Roundtables about car chases and heist movies in the past), let’s look at some of our favorite movies (or at least movie scenes) involving babies.
No, this week’s choice of topic isn’t a subtle hint that Mrs. Z and I are adding any more children to the household. We have enough of those already. With almost 350 of these weekly Roundtables completed to date, sometimes we have to stretch a little to make connections.
M. Enois Duarte
Being a horror-hound, my choice will be for something sick and twisted. The selection of those is pretty large, from classics like ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ and ‘The Omen’ to modern freak shows like ‘Grace’. But for this week’s topic, I’m going with Peter Jackson’s cult classic ‘Braindead’ (a.k.a. ‘Dead Alive‘), a “splatstick” horror comedy featuring one of the best and most memorable zombies ever!
Other than a priest who “kicks ass for the Lord,” Jackson’s even crazier concoction is a disgustingly morbid love-child of said priest and a nurse, a pair of very randy rotting corpses. Once the zombie baby is born, the second half of the movie turns into a series of nauseating, shockingly offensive, and even stomach-churning gags that will either make viewers laugh at the over-the-top gore or immediately shut it off. However, for me, I’ve loved the movie since first seeing it in theaters nearly 25 years ago.
This is an easy topic for me. There are a few select films with moments so perfect that my first viewing experience will always be locked into my memory. Despite being a huge John Cusack fan, I was late in the game in seeing ‘Grosse Pointe Blank‘. When my college buddies found out, they immediate planned an impromptu late night viewing party.
Although single and childless at the time, the pure aesthetics of one individual scene gripped me. With so much emotional build-up leading into the high school reunion, once our characters made their way in, I was fully emotionally invested, anxious to see what would occur there. The snack-eating, the texting and all other environmental distractions within our cluttered apartment disappeared once Queen and David Bowie’s collaboration song “Under Pressure” kicked in. The combination of story, character, music and on-screen imagery took me out the apartment and placed me in the film. Leading into the song’s big build-up, Cusack’s character runs into an old friend who’s there with a small baby. Her brief dialogue dispels the notion that kids take away adult freedoms. She explains that with children, life only gets better and better. Completely uncomfortable, she passes her baby over to him for a moment. Mildly reluctant, he holds the baby anyway and two have this great moment with eyes locked on one another. There’s an awesome connection between the two, as if they’re having a telepathic conversation.
This is easily my favorite John Cusack moment.
I was tempted to go with ‘Elf’, but further analysis lead me right to ‘Raising Arizona‘. The diaper chase alone is a baby comedy gold.
Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)
I’d have to rewatch a couple of the other movies mentioned in this Roundtable to be sure, but I’m fairly certain that ‘Dead Alive‘ is the only one to shove a baby in a blender. It’s okay, though. This bouncing baby boy isn’t just a zombie; he’s practically a live-action cartoon character, so he’s no worse for wear. This bloodthirsty rugrat is easily the most memorable thing about Peter Jackson’s seminal splatter-comedy. The little monster’s crib is draped in barb wire. He wreaks havoc on the playground, with a gaggle of mothers horrified at the sight of Lionel ending Baby Selwyn’s rampage by slugging him in the face with a park swing. He spews streams of vomit that’d leave Linda Blair even greener with envy. His demented game of Jack in the Box ends with you getting a chomp ripped out of your neck. And the splitting headache that the tiny bugger gives Rita…! There aren’t words. ‘Dead Alive’ has been a favorite of mine for nearly twenty years now, and that hellspawned yet lovable little guy is the cherry on top.
The new season of ‘Twin Peaks’ has gotten me thinking a lot about David Lynch’s debut feature, ‘Eraserhead‘. That surreal nightmare captures the fraught emotions of first-time parenthood better than any straight drama or comedy about the experience. In a key scene, the monster baby wails and wails and wails all night long, driving its father right to the edge of his sanity, and then just as he hits the breaking point, stops and laughs derisively at him. I swear to you, my boys did literally that exact same thing when they were a few months old – and there were two of them doing it!
For fun, I also want to highlight a couple of movies with notable baby-in-danger action set-pieces. Brian De Palma lifted the idea for the climax to his gangster epic ‘The Untouchables‘ from a famous scene in Sergei Eisenstein’s silent classic ‘Battleship Potemkin’, but put his own sly spin on it with tons of style and verve as Kevin Costner and Andy Garcia race to save a baby carriage from careening down a steep staircase while they’re also engaged in a huge shoot-out with Al Capone’s thugs. That sequence is a huge crowd-pleaser and perhaps the pinnacle of De Palma’s career as a filmmaker.
Almost as if to one-up that scene, John Woo made star Chow Yun-Fat tote a baby though a hospital under siege at the end of ‘Hard Boiled‘. I can’t fathom what crazy parents let him do it with a real child.
Give us some of your favorite movie baby scenes in the Comments.