So I was just having a lazy, December day and looking for something holiday-ish to watch for the podcast. After perusing, I decided to revisit the lovably, bizarre 1986 Babes in Toyland. I was hoping you hadn’t covered it, but I just read the review on the site, it was spot on! May I piggyback off that review and contribute my two cents, possibly make a humble, holiday recommendation?
I watched this version of Babes in Toyland as a kid. I didn’t know there were other versions of this story growing up, so this movie stuck out as even weirder back then. I’m pretty sure my family got our vhs with a McD’s value meal. Which makes sense because this movie, similarly to Mac and Me, pairs well with a cheeseburger. Extra cheese, please.
Probably the “worst” things (although I would argue that they’re part of the charm) about BIT are the Toyland set and props. Admittedly, they kinda have a Spahn Ranch, local theme park vibe…kinda like the set up from The New Kids (1985). But low budget aside, you can’t beat the eclecticism of this cast. I mainly just wanted to briefly give props to three special ladies that stood out during my rewatch: Jill Schoelen, Shari Weiser and Drew Barrymore.
First off, I love the coziness of a movie with low-key scream queen, Jill Schoelen. As previously mentioned in the review, she was in The Stepfather, Cutting Class, The Phantom of the Opera, When a Stranger Calls Back and my personal favorite, Popcorn. ???? I feel like she’s always had such a likability factor about her. In BIT, she comes off as the ideal big sis, and I love her chemistry with lil Keanu!
Shari Weiser, who I just recently learned about during this deep dive, was the actress that played the Trollog (too long, don’t ask) in BIT. She was also in Follow That Bird, but most importantly, she also played HOGGLE in Labyrinth! Don’t you just love when you can connect the stars of your childhood? (Side Tangent: I also just found out that the guy that did the voice for Max in A Goofy Movie also did the voice for Thackery Binx the cat! ??)
And of course, Drew Barrymore, who is SO adorable in BIT. I’ve always rooted for Drew, especially considering what she went through at such a young age. BIT falls into my favorite time in Drew’s career, mid-80s to pre-Scream (basically the “Little Girl Lost” years). Drew was only 11 when she starred in BIT, and considering her history, there was a line Drew’s character says towards the end that resonated when I did my rewatch. She says, “I always wanted to be a kid.” Heartbreaking!
Babes in Toyland is not the greatest thing ever, but I won’t deny the warm and fuzzy nostalgia I experienced watching it again. The copy of BIT we had growing up was about 90 long, that’s the version currently on Prime. If you’re interested in the Snyder Cut version, there’s the “Director’s Cut” on YouTube. It has way more of Drew’s lip-syncing singing, and clocks in at almost 2 1/2 hours long! May I make a suggestion? Watch the 3 hour original broadcast upload on YouTube. It’s a weirdly, comforting time machine…and it’s brought to you by McDonald’s.
If you care to listen to me ramble on more about Babes in Toyland, as well as other things TV/movie-related, listen to Electric Babysitter on whatever podcast platform and visit me on IG!
Warm Holiday Wishes,