In an effort to bring a sense of direction to the inherent ramble that any product of my mind is going to be hampered with, I am going to try to re-brand (or more precisely, brand) this something that more closely resembles thematic unity. This will mark the first such foray into the scary world of focus. In any entry bearing the first three words listed above, you can expect to find me delving--in the manner of a modern Christopher Columbus--into the realm of the previously discovered, as if it were new and exciting.
In this edition, the subject will be Hiding Out. For those of you not familiar with the film, it is the product of a better time. A time in which studios cast Jon Cryer in the lead in not one, but two films. That time was 1987.
Now, I feel I should clarify. I do not want that statement to be read as though I believe Jon Cryer should never have been cast as the lead in films. My beliefs stray as far from that assertion as you could imagine. I prefer Predator 2 to Predator for the precise reason that it is a Danny Glover star vehicle. I love Action Jackson because it stars the man studios decided was a supporting cast member in action films. The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up work in their own respects largely because the Jon Cryers of this generation were entrusted to star in films, not complement the "stars". Sadly, these films are much more the exception than the rule these days.
In 1987, though, things were different. Things were better. Studios were bolder. Jon Cryer was handed the reins to two films: Dudes and Hiding Out. To get an idea as to what that might mean here is a link to the trailer (embedding disabled by request... bastards) for Hiding Out.
As for the film, it is the story of a stockbroker, Andrew Morenski, who ends up knowing too much and is forced to testify against a mob boss. Luckily for the viewer, the mob tries to take him out, leading to Cryer's Andrew going into hiding in a small midwestern town with his cousin (the inimitable Keith Coogan) and posing as a high school student under the pseudonym, Maxwell Houser--lifted from a coffee can in the principal's office. Needless to say, this is a recipe for an awesome fucking movie.
While the story is pretty fucking sweet in the best way possible, there are a couple of weird things going on in the movie that are frankly disturbing.
First, in the film's opening Jon Cryer has a beard. It does not look, well, real. Once he goes on the run, he decides to ditch the beard and the stockbroker hair for an odd dye-job (if you didn't watch that trailer, this is where you'll want to so you can see it in motion) that creates a hair-do rivaling his coiffure as Ducky in Pretty in Pink.
Second, this twenty-something stockbroker, when hiding out, falls for a high school senior played by Annabeth Gish. Of course it is perfectly natural to need to insert a love interest for our hero, but someone decided that Hiding Out needed to become a platform through which the filmmakers could sell the acceptability of statutory rape to those fabled residents of Peoria. I'm not blaming Jon Cryer here. He's beyond reproach. These filmmakers, however, seem to have had a hidden agenda...
As perhaps the only good personal post-script I will ever have on this website, about three weeks after I watched Hiding Out I ran into Jon Cryer. Not being able to pass up the opportunity, the following exchange (paraphrased very slightly) took place:
me: So, I actually just watched Hiding Out a couple of weeks ago.
JC: Really? That's one I haven't thought about in a while. Was it on cable?
me: No. I rented it.
JC: Oh... Sorry.
me: No. It was fun. I mean I wasn't expecting Citizen Kane, but it was fun. I liked it.