The first few days of July are traditionally set for big blockbusters hoping to cash in on the long holiday weekend. Blockbusters rarely stand the test of time, of course, but there are always exceptions. The biggest for this day is Back to the Future, Robert Zemeckis’s iconic time-travel movie that has since become a classic of 80s popcorn cinema. It’s a tad too tightly plotted for comfort, and Thomas F. Wilson’s admirably odious villain eventually becomes a real monster in a script that calls for a garden-variety creep. But the buddy-buddy chemistry between stars Michael J. Fox and Christpher Lloyd is infectious, and that tricked-out DeLorean always elicits a smile no matter how close it gets to 88 MPH. Back to the Future opened today in 1985.
Two other minor relics of 80s cinema opened today a couple of years later. The better of the two is Innerspace, Joe Dante’s glorious romp in which a hotshot pilot (Dennis Quaid) gets shrunk to microscopic size and accidentally injected into the rump of a neurotic supermarket manager (Martin Short). Shrinky-dink movies aren’t exactly legion, but this one surely ranks as the best. (Yes, including Fantastic Voyage.)
The other one is Adventures in Babysitting, an early effort from Chris Columbus that sends Elizabeth Shue’s put-upon high school senior through the mean streets of Chicago with a couple of pint-sized charges. It’s definitely boilerplate, but has a fun teenybopper energy to it (Shue makes a great straight man). It’s also notable for its evocation of Marvel’s Thor long before anyone outside of comic book circles knew who he was… with a little help from future MCU alum Vincent D’Onofrio to boot.
Both Innerspace and Adventures in Babysitting opened today in 1987.