Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Top 5 Movie Guide: Elisabeth Shue

For the latest edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, we turn our attentions to actress Elisabeth Shue, who will next be seen in this weekend's "House At the End of the Street" alongside Jennifer Lawrence. Shue did not grow up planning to become an actor, in fact, coming from a very wealthy family that was well-established and well-educated, it was always the plan for her to one day become an attorney (great life experience for her future role in "Cocktail"!). College started off calm, with her choosing to attend an all-girls private school to help keep her out of trouble. To earn extra money though, she started working in television commercials (at one point known as "that Burger King girl"). Her commercial work eventually led to the random chance of her getting to play Ralph Macchio's girlfriend in the 1984 teen classic, "The Karate Kid".


After her experiences with that film, she decided to focus more time to her craft. She quickly hired an acting coach, and transferred to Harvard to finish school. She still majored in Political Science, with plans of becoming an attorney if her acting career did not pan out. But with follow-up roles in films like "Adventures in Babysitting", "Cocktail", and "Soapdish", it was clear that her career was well on its way.

Shue eventually did graduate from Harvard with a degree in Government, but it was her acting career that took off better than she could have imagined. After a gripping performance in 1995's "Leaving Las Vegas" that earned her a Best Actress Academy Award nomination, Shue's adult career took off. A plethora of film roles followed, allowing Shue to show off her versatility in a variety of different genres. To this day, she is still recognized as one of the more adaptable actresses working in Hollywood.

Hit the jump for all of our favorite Elisabeth Shue film roles!

Alex Schopp -

     1. Cocktail (1988)
I'm not sure why I've always loved the movie so much, but I enjoyed it as a young boy and have never looked back. I think I hooked on to the whole starting your own business and doing what you want to do thing much more than the romantic elements of it, but nonetheless, this movie will always resonate with me. Plus Tom Cruise is always great.
     2. The Karate Kid (1984)
This movie taught us all about patience and heart and determination. Plus, when we used to play fight as kids, who didn't recreate that crane kick from the end of the film?
     3. Adventures in Babysitting (1987)
Gotta love a good 80's teen coming-of-age film adventure film.
     4. Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
You'd like the movie to not be nearly as depressing as it is, but the acting performances are really great all around, and it's definitely one the "best" Elisabeth Shue movies out there.
     5. Back to the Future Part II (1989)
You'd like her to be in this film a bit more than she is, but it's too hard to omit the Back to the Future franchise when it's an option. Plus she has a few memorable scenes, and that's good enough for me.

Ben Foutch -

     1. The Karate Kid (1984)

     2. Leaving Las Vegas (1995)

     3. Adventures in Babysitting (1986)

     4. Deconstructing Harry (1991)

     5. Soapdish (1991)



Derek Clem -

     1. Back To The Future Part II (1989)
I realize she's barely in this, but it's one of my fave movies of all-time so I have to include it.
     2. Heart and Souls (1993)

     3. Adventures in Babysitting (1987)

     4. The Karate Kid (1984)

     5. Cocktail (1989)



Nathan Hinds -
I'm gonna go ahead and say that all of these selections could really go in any order. I like all of these movies pretty equally, so don't read too much into my ratings.

     1. The Saint (1997)
Shue does a fine job in this, but Val Kilmer is hilarious in this movie. Along with "Hook", I can't figure out why critics hated either of these movies so much.
     2. Hollow Man (2000)
Another movie critics hated, but I think this is an extremely entertaining movie. There are plenty of laughs, and quite a few scary moments.
     3. Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
This is definitely Shue's best acting, but it looses points because of how tough the film is to watch. Cage is such a train wreck in the film.
     4. Adventures in Babysitting (1987)
A good staple for the 1980's kids/young adult crowd.
     5. Piranha 3D (2010)
I loved this movie so much when I saw it in theaters the first time, and that particular viewing still ranks as one of my all-time favorite theater experiences. The problem was when I watched it again on DVD, and it didn't hold up nearly as well as I thought it would. Had I only had my theater experience to go on, this would've been the clear cut number one film on my list.

Andy Schopp -
No entries this week.

So that's what we're looking at this week. A decent variety sprinkled throughout, but it was those late-80's classics that seemed to overpower most of these lists. You can pretty easily narrow this down to three or four films that rose above the rest, but still the only one to appear on all four lists was "Adventures in Babysitting". This is an 80's teen classic, and if this never made in onto your television screen, we all recommend checking it out.

Otherwise, two films appeared on three of the four lists, "The Karate Kid" and "Leaving Las Vegas". "The Karate Kid" was Shue's first notable film role, which propelled her to be an actress full-time, and it was "Leaving Las Vegas" that earned her strong critical praises, so far the highest of her career. "Back to the Future Part II" and "Cocktail" were the only other films with multiple selections this week, each with two apiece. Again, extremely notable films from Shue's career, and two more great options when familiarizing yourself with more of her films.

So as always, we hope that each of these film selections helps you to expand your knowledge of Elisabeth Shue's filmography, and leads to better and more enjoyable all-around viewing experiences.

Happy watching!