Geeks of a certain age love…Phoebe Cates

Phoebe Cates made a selection of films in the 1980s where she shed her clothes. Simon, cleverly, missed them all...

Phoebe Cates. With clothes on.

Here’s a confession. It was only recently that it was brought to my attention that Phoebe Cates had done more than one movie in a state of undress. It’s perhaps a damning indictment of my geek status that it’s not Private School and Paradise, therefore, that brought Ms Cates to my teenage attention. Nope, she entered my sphere with her clothes fully in-tact. And, er, it was in Gremlins. Not the most obvious choice of film to er, find an attraction to.

Now of course since the 80s I’ve subsequently caught up with Fast Times At Ridgemont High, but can’t help feeling I lost a link with it somehow by not watching it when I was younger. Granted, it provided a platform for Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judge Reinhold and Forest Whittaker too, and granted it helped put Cameron Crowe on the map, but I can’t share the slavish devotion that many have to it.

Gremlins though is a different matter. Sure, it was a cracking film anyway, but was it just me who found Cates to be, well, mesmerising in it? One previous author of an episode in this ‘Geeks of a certain age love…’ series argued that these are the kind of articles that write themselves, but surprisingly, this one doesn’t. There’s no hard or fast justification here, short of the fact that she and I crossed paths at perhaps the right time in our lives for both of us. I’m sure she feels the same way.

Sadly, the relationship wasn’t to last. Much though I tried, I can’t forgive her for the Rik Mayall abomination Drop Dead Fred, which cost me nearly £5 to watch in a cinema. I hold the Odeon Birmingham personally responsible for one of the single worst pieces of shit I’ve ever seen in a cinema. And I saw at least two Police Academy movies at the flicks, too.

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But, to paraphrase a classic movie of old, we’ll always have Gremlins. Yet with Cates now long-retired from acting, and long-married to Kevin Kline, it’s a chapter of our lives we’ve both had to get over. Thanks for the memories, though. They were great…