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Just Between Frames

Our Take On: "My Bodyguard"

This month we continued to look at notable performances by young actors with our showing and discussion on My Bodyguard.  Not only was is the breakout role for a young Adam Baldwin and Matt Dillon, it put its young director, Tony Bill on the map. We also got a kick out of spotting a very, young Joan Cusak in it and admired performances by main character Clifford, played by Chris Makepeace, and his scene-stealing cohort, Carson. All of these young performers played their roles well, and so it is no surprise that so many of them went on to further stardom. We all questioned why that wouldn’t have happened for Chris Makepeace, but it seems he went more in a directorial course. We talked about how tough we understand the Hollywood scene can be, and were glad to learn that the players in this movie seem to have been able to maintain more or less stable lives; many child stars do not.

We really liked the scene with Adam Baldwin as the menacing Linderman having his palm read by Clifford’s grandmother, (a very scampy Ruth Gordon). There’s real emotion and support being offered by her and a startled awareness of the offer on his part. It really raised the emotional depth and poignancy of the story, in particular Linderman’s part.  We would have like more of this kind of scene with Clifford and his father, because we definitely saw room for improvement in their relationship. While you can tell both love each other, there’s a growing issue with how often Clifford’s father chooses work situations over time with Clifford. The growing respect and liking between Clifford and Ricky compensates for some of that, as it shows Ricky that even a kid as well of as Clifford has his issues. We also think Ricky likes the fire in Clifford – that he won’t back down from the bullies when that would be the easy way out. We also think this quality reminds him of his younger brother.

We could also identify with the major teen traumas of shyness, bullying, crushes on bad boys, etc. that come up over the course of the story. And for all of us who were also the “little kid” – it was immensely satisfying to see the ketchup bottle scene where Moony & his crew more than meets their match in Ricky Linderman. There were also many chuckles when Carson tells Moony off – and steps behind Linderman.

And when we, like Clifford, realized just what a heavy burden Ricky has been trying to deal with, it shifted not only our perspective on Ricky, but on the film itself, which somehow found a charming way to explore the teen world while not backing down from the grittier things that can happen there.  We concluded that My Bodyguard is indeed a deserving cult hit – and definitely NOT your average teen angst film.

And the setting got five stars from our group: it was filmed in Chicago! ;-)

Next up: A Rob Reiner boyhood classic: Stand By Me.

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