Originally created 12/30/04

Babies find their acceptable places in feature films



I've always found it odd that a baby was chosen as the accepted mascot for the New Year.

I'm not blind to the heavy-handed symbolism the image of an infant offers. Fresh start, new beginnings, blah, blah, blah - I got it. But consider the other elements associated with New Year celebrations - staying up late, enjoying a few adult beverages, a little germ-spreading lip lock as the big ball drops - none of it seems baby friendly.

I certainly don't want to see my child with a drink in one hand and one of those squawking noise makers in the other eyeing the clock and waiting for midnight.

Call me stiff, but it just seems wrong. Babies have their place and New Year just isn't it.

But Hollywood is. Here's a list of some outstanding movies that feature babies - none of whom would be allowed to stay up until midnight:

BABY BOOM (1987): This Diane Keaton movie about a successful businesswoman who has motherhood thrust upon her might seem dated - the sequestering of the inner Yuppie has long since ceased to be a cultural obsession - but the quiet comic moments involved in seeing a mother emerge remain charming.

3 GODFATHERS (1948): Long before Tom Selleck even considered emptying a diaper pail, John Wayne starred as an unrepentant outlaw faced with fatherhood when he finds a baby in the arms of a dying woman deep in the desert. Not only do he and his two accomplices learn a few child-rearing tricks but they also learn the expected life lessons.

3 HOMMES ET UN COUFFIN (1985): The inspiration for Three Men and a Baby, and certainly inspired by 3 Godfathers, this oddly dramatic comedy about a trio of professional men charged with rearing a baby manages to remain fresh despite the obviously stale subject matter. A superior product to its American counterpart.

IT'S ALIVE (1974): More silly than scary, this cult classic about a mutant baby on a killing spree packs a dramatic wallop. Sure, the concept of a savage newborn roaming the streets seems implausible, but the idea of conflicted parents struggling with the reality of a child who hasn't turned out perfect is very real.

THAT LITTLE MONSTER (1994): Part Eraserhead, part Gremlins and part Adventures in Babysitting, this comic art film about a sitter and her alien charge is the rare odd film that never lets visual punch get in the way of comic power. Well worth seeking out.

Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or steven.uhles@augustachronicle.com.