To All The (Cinematic) Girls I’ve Loved Before
Actresses who awakened me cinematically to the joys of the fairer sex during my numerous late childhood rewatches.
Published on January 24, 2013 | Filed under editorial

Think back to your impressionable years. Those times when your understanding of life began to take shape. When you weren’t quite a child, but you were far from an adult. At one point an actress or actor in a cast was just that, part of the cast. Your young eyes wouldn’t necessarily focus on a single actor based on their physical appearance. But at some point, like a ship emerging from the fog, the way you viewed things changed. I can remember that switch being flipped, not a specific moment, but all of a sudden I took notice of women in movies in a different way. I was young enough to still be innocent, but old enough to know I liked when certain women where onscreen.

For instance, since my journey into young adulthood and on to full blown adulthood, Adrienne Barbeau was, in my opinion, the picture of femininity. In her day Ms. Barbeau was a knockout, to say the least. Even now, at her age she still manages to retain that beauty.

Adrienne Barbeau

As a kid I watched a ton of movies, and looking back it seems like most starred Adrienne Barbeau. The Fog, Swamp Thing, Escape From New York, Creepshow, and Back to School all featured Ms. Barbeau in some capacity. But when I watched these movies (multiple times) as a kid, she never caught my eye the way she would just a few years later. The same goes for Cindy Morgan who was in Tron and Caddyshack, another two of my childhood staples.

Cindy Morgan

The idea for this post came after a flurry of recent rewatches which I first saw during that impressionable period and reminded me of the brief time in my youth when my eyes were magically opened to the opposite sex.

Elisabeth Shue

Elisabeth Shue was one of my favorites especially after seeing The Karate Kid during what I’ll call my “awakening.” She was cute as a button, and upon a recent rewatch I found she looked shockingly young. I hadn’t seen The Karate Kid in years and I found myself still looking at her in a longing manner the same way I did during my awakening. Which made me feel like a creep, but I just found out she was in her late teens/early twenties during filming. Whew.

Catherine Mary Stewart

The multiple viewings of The Last Starfighter and Night of the Comet alone put Catherine Mary Stewart in my top tier. She was (and still is) quite gorgeous. I mean, look at her hair! In both of the above films the characters she played also helped cement my young cinematic crush.

Ami Dolenz

Ami Dolenz popped back up on my radar after I rewatched Miracle Beach, which admittedly falls well after my awakening, but I then remembered her from She’s Out of Control. I recall being quite taken by her, which is saying something because I was a huge Tony Danza fan.


Supergirl introduced me to her, but The Legend of Billie Jean made me really notice Helen Slater. Billie Jean was a bad ass who took a stand, chopped off her hair and did what she thought was right. She also took a swim in very little clothing. Toss in that innocently charming Texas accent, and I was sure my young mind couldn’t handle it. I’m not sure I knew exactly why at the time, but I really liked her. I remember being super jealous of Keith Gordon’s character Lloyd because of his relationship with Billie Jean, and his awesome room. Side note, I also “love that chicken.”

Jennifer Connelly

And finally, the crown jewel, the apple of my newly awakened eye, Jennifer Connelly. The Rocketeer and Career Opportunities fall at the tail end of my awakening but I just had to include her. I think I saw Labyrinth in the middle of my awakening, but she was just a kid then. I found her quite easy on the eyes in The Rocketeer, partly because of her innate beauty, but also the hair, makeup and wardrobe of the film’s setting works really well on her.

I know everyone must have a list of actors or actresses that helped usher in their “awakening.” Let me know in the comments who did it for you in that period where you weren’t quite a child, but weren’t yet a gross teenager.

Designer and Publisher. Fan of Carpenter, De Palma, the Revenge of the Nerds series, reading subtext theories, film poster art, and soundtracks, among other things. Not a film critic nor an academic, just passionate about the medium.

Dylan Santurri

  • Jon Abrams

    Definitely the lady from FLETCH. Gail Stanwyck. And Stacey Dash in MO’ MONEY. And Jenny Summers from BEVERLY HILLS COP. And then I saw stuff like Betsy Russell in PRIVATE SCHOOL, and became a gross teenager.

  • Christine

    Robert Downey Jr. in the trailer for Hearts and Soul.
    Kyle MacLachlan in Twin Peaks.
    Jennifer Connelly in Labyrinth.
    David Duchovny in the X-Files.

    It appears ’93 was my year, making me 11. Good call, Dylan.

    • Christine

      I also realize I put TV stuff here. I couldn’t help it.

  • Playtyme1961

    as a child…Bradford Dillman in all the made for tv movies, William Shatner, no explanation, Lance Henriksen and Terry O’Quinn in Millenium

  • Deadlydollshouse

    So sad that J-Con has lost her curves. She was gorgeous in her early 20s, but post-A Beautiful Mind, she got so weirdly bony. It doesn’t look right on her.

    Martin Short in Three Amigos
    Rick Moranis in Little Shop of Horrors
    um, David Bowie in Labyrinth (while we’re on the topic)
    Fred Savage in The Wonder Years
    Jason Bateman on The Hogan Family

    there’s probably a lot more I’m forgetting. They’ll come to me…

  • I’ve always had a thing for Teri Garr, every since I saw TOOTSIE and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS. I also always thought Susan Egan’s voice as Meg in HERCULES was sexy, though Jennifer Tilly has to have one of the sexiest voices ever. I think I must have first seen her in LIAR LIAR.

  • That would be Valentine in Tremors. As in, Kevin Bacon, though I didn’t know who he was at the time. 🙂 I would have been 9 years old.

  • Almost all of the early Bond girls- Those films were on TV all the time & the most sexual thing i saw for a long time.
    Jennifer Connelly in Labyrinth (though that was at the begining of my “awakening”).

  • Shelby

    Joyce Hyser as Terry Griffith in Just One of the Guys, especially when she was in drag! I’m sure it is a coincidence that I grew up to become a lesbian who dates drag kings.

  • Dude, Miracle Beach! I remember watching that on Up! All Night.

  • doublepost

  • My earliest crushes were definitely Justin the Rat in The Secret of NIMH and Robin Hood in the Disney version (a literal fox, yo). Don’t look at me like that.

    Then came The Frog Brothers, Edgar and Allan, from The Lost Boys. *swoon* Followed by Raphael and Casey Jones in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

  • Dylan

    Thanks for everyone’s input!

  • Ornella Muti as Princess Aura in Flash Gordon, and of course Sherilyn Fynn as Audry Horne on Twin Peaks.

  • UncouthParacinema

    the twins in spaceballs that mel brooks pleasures under the covers in his bed. I didn’t know what he was doing but they sure were enjoying it. I remember that striking me as odd and interesting as a kid.

    • Jonabrams99

      That’s so goddamn funny. Weirdly enough, I remember having a vague intuition what he was up to, but not really getting why he said “Chew your gum.” Also baffled by “I bet she gives great helmet.”