It's the 1960s and the kids are alright. With the assassination of JFK, the bubbling up, up, and over of the Vietnam War, and the onset of civil rights, eight California high school teenage friends confront life with wit and honesty, attempting to … see full wiki
Well at least most of the people are easy on the eyes.
There Goes My Baby takes place during the last couple of days of summer 1965 in Malibu. One boy is going to the Army. One boy is going to Harvard. One boy is going to find America. There is a token black guy who is going to Princeton. One girl insists on going to Berkley to school. One wants to be in the music business. One is a serious wanabee flower generation acolyte. One is wealthy and seems to have no plans. The kids are all privileged and buck authority for the portion of the 96 minutes when authority figures exist from opening to closing credits.
I forced myself to finish the film. Kismet has me writing a longer piece on just the topics covered in the film. I have always been dubious of the claims of the sixties. I am an unabashed liberal, as anyone who has read my essays on non-product topics knows; however, the concept of what in the sixties called was liberal has always been strange to me. Right now I am reading a book by Robert Bork that I am using primarily to debunk his notion of the sixties and explain why the radicals of both sides are wrong. There Goes My Baby is a perfect example of what Bork despises and I doubt.
Privileged kids take meaningless stands against the war, against racism. Good for them. Only one of the group suffers at all for this; I’ll keep it to myself for those who want to watch this waste of time.
The film is very similar in structure to Platoon. I hated that movie too and essentially for the same reasons. The symbolism in each film is so heavy handed that you could be deaf, dumb, blind and maybe even embalmed and still get it. Each film took a huge entity, the radical 60s for Baby and the Vietnam War for Platoon and distilled it again and again and again so that it seems like the entirety of the entity took place in the course of a couple of days to less than a dozen people. This makes both movies so wholly unbelievable that they are not worth watching.
Any actor could have played any or all of the parts. It is interesting to see a young Noah Wyle look exactly like an older Noah Wyle—he and Dick Clark have the same contract with the same demon.
The best thing I can think to say about it is that it is tidy and you get what you expect. If you go to Burger King and get a Whopper with cheese no onions or pickles and you get exactly that, you know what to expect. I wasn’t surprised by anything and wasn’t impressed by anything.
The movie also contains a few problems with time. The year is 1965. The ‘flower in the hair’ stuff didn’t start that soon. Berkley was still in the later stages of the Free Speech protests and the Haight-Ashbury stuff was just about to be born but was still gestating in 1965. The kid that protests in front of the school against the war did so too soon, historically as well. They get around it by having his brother as a victim, but the protest is out of its time. What is said and done did happen, but not that early.
Bork implies that the radical sixties were caused by a privileged few white kids who felt guilty (and strangely envious—you’d have to read the book to find that tortured logic) about being white and affluent. This is covered in spades during the film. “But what got me while watching it was something Faulkner said in his Nobel Speech: There are no longer questions of the spirit, only the question when will I be blown up? . . . [The writer] labors under a curse, he writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, of victories without hope and worst of all without pity or compassion. His grieves grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands.” This is exactly how the story in There Goes My Baby works. No one really loses anything of value and the victories are hollow. In the final analysis, it there is neither value nor loss. There is the memory of a couple of unremarkable days in the lives of unremarkable people.
I’ve said this about other films and books. I want my 100 minutes back.
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