Remembering No 12
One of a flock of films from Sam Shepard.
A wee post on the lovely Sam Shepard who starred as a dishy doctor (of sorts) in Baby Boom.
Baby Boom 1987 extended TV trailer, robatsea2009, http://www.youtube.com
So as I took a wee break from the blog, I was upset to learn that an actor I’d discussed recently had passed away. The film was The Notebook and the actor was Sam Shepard. His presence in this Nicolas Sparks written film had disturbed me – as had the role of James Garner – as I remembered him (and Garner) from more memorable parts such as Steel Magnolias (1989) and The Right Stuff (1983). And as my review of The Notebook indicated, this by the numbers romantic film was not my thing despite the presence of these much-loved actors (and Rachel McAdams). However looking back at Shepard’s career, there were many more Realweegiemidget friendly films watched and on the to watch pile. However my favourite of his movies was (and always will be) as Diane Keaton’s romantic love interest in Baby Boom (1987).
In Baby Boom, Shepard appears in the latter part of the movie. I reviewed this film earlier in relation to the villain of the piece, played by 80s favourite douchebag in the movies, James Spader. Spader appears in the first part of the movie and toward the end and more on his part can be found HERE. So to sum up the film Diane Keaton stars as J.C. Wiatt, a yuppie career woman of the 1980s respected for her tough lady attitude and business prowess and nicknamed the Tiger Lady. She is bequeathed her cousin’s six month baby girl and Wiatt tries to balance career and her new motherhood. Losing her then boyfriend Steven (Harold Ramis) and job in the process, she then decides to move to Vermont with the baby in tow, buying a new house..
In Vermont, she’s a fish out of water and we meet Sam Shepard’s character, the rakishly handsome, Jeff Cooper. The pair meet after she collapses with exhaustion and a nervous breakdown caused by her domestic situation (her house has many structural faults) and the subsequent financial concerns. She also has just started a new business making apple sauce for babies, inspired by an abundance of fruit from her orchard.
After collapsing, Wiatt wakes up at what she assumes is the doctors. After regaling her story to the him, it’s revealed his next patient has arrived. And in a wee twist its revealed Cooper’s a vet to her absolute mortification and horror. Later her car breaks down with him as her knight in shining armour. His easy charm easily steals the scene from the harassed Keaton. Here he kisses her so passionately she feels it in her boots. However luckily he’s the understanding sort and after remeeting and joking about it at a local dance the pair dance… And the pair start a relationship.. and if you don’t want spoilers don’t read on. She is then reoffered her old job and this scene leaves us in fear for an eventual break up of their budding romance. However, after a passionate speech at her old work, she returns to her daughter, new life, business and love in Vermont to my and her old colleagues almost sobbing.
Shepard was just lovely in this movie as Wiatt’s love interest. He plays his character Cooper as a quietly passionate man. His comic chemistry is obvious with Keaton in their all to few scenes together. He was to repeat this chemistry in that great female ensemble movie Steel Magnolias with Sally Field, Daryl Hannah, Shirley MacLaine and Olympia Dukakis. Here he also played a supporting role as husband to a strong female supporting lead, Dolly Parton who plays Truvy who runs the local beauty salon. This story focuses on Sally Field’s M’Lynn Eatenton who finds out her daughter Shelby (Julia Roberts) is dying leading to tissues galore, but with the amazing cast it has many comic moment as well as dramatic s too. His character Spud jones was an unemployed labourer in this movie, which also has some great supporting actors to the women. Including Tom Skeritt and Dylan McDermott.
Back to Baby Boom where his Cooper character was obviously the heart-throb and must catch man of the town. Shepard’s comic moments were wonderfully executed and delivered. His chemistry with Keaton after her initial misgivings is apparent in all their scenes and you almost root his character on to kiss her at times. When he first kisses her, it is with one of those movie kisses that you never forget and possibly one of the most romantic. Shepard proved in only a few scenes that he was also a good comic actor and his more dramatic roles in Frances (1982) and as also seen in The Pledge (2001). And you could say he proved he was The Right Stuff for a wide range of genres in his subsequent career after this.