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36 thoughts we had while watching Chances Are

By Courtney Enlow

Thirty years ago, an utterly buckwild movie was released. Now, it being 1989, this could be any movie, tbh. It was a weird time. A lot of great movies were released, but so was The Fly II, two Jean-Claude Van Damme movies, and a movie about an evil 900 number. But the movie I'm referring to is Chances Are. The film starred a practically fetal Robert Downey Jr., Cybil Shepherd, Mary Stuart Masterson, Ryan O'Neal, and Christopher McDonald aka Shooter McGavin. It is a romantic comedy-fantasy about incest. I don't know what else to tell you.

This was one of my favorite movies as a child because I had a tiny baby crush on a tiny baby Robert Downey Jr. and I remember this movie being good. What I did not remember is how utterly f*cking bananapants bonkers it is. So, in honor of its anniversary, here's the Deja View this incesty dead guy rom-com deserves. 

  1. Ryan O’Neal just told Shooter McGavin he’s in love with Shooter’s bride-to-be literally while she’s walking up the aisle to marry Shooter and this timing is NOT IDEAL, BOO.
  2. “I know.” DAMN SHOOTER, THAT IS ICE COLD and deservedly so.
  3. Shooter is just hiding in the closet to surprise Cybil Shepherd for their anniversary, but not with a present or anything, just hiding in the closet, nbd.
  4. Ryan O’Neal just showed up in their house on their anniversary without knocking and interrupting their anniversary/we’re-pregnant sex because bro has NO BOUNDARIES. He’s also making very funny-haha jokes about being the one to impregnate Cybil which is uncomfortable for so many reasons. Now she’s kissing Ryan O’Neal goodbye on the lips. This is f*cked up. Is this what the Keira Knightley/Andrew Lincoln/Chiwetel Ejiofor relationship would have been like if Love Actually just kept going?
  5. Excuse me. What is this off-brand Jackie O. nightmare of an ensemble? 


  6. My dude, you looked both ways AND got hit by a car. This is on you. 
  7. If the afterlife has lines and shots and labcoats I DON’T WANT IT. Eternal damnation doesn’t seem ideal but UGH I have no interest in a bureaucratic afterlife. 
  8. Damn, this movie presupposes that even reincarnation exists on the gender binary.
  9. So for those following along at home: Shooter McGavin is getting reincarnated and he’s supposed to be inoculated against remembering his other super dead life. SPOILER ALERT: HE DOES NOT GET INOCULATED. 
  10. He gets reincarnated as a baby Robert Downey Jr. who goes to Yale and meets and flirts with a baby Mary Stuart Masterson. AND THIS IS WHERE WE GET INTO THE MEAT OF THIS MOVIE AND THE MEAT IS INCEST. Mary Stuart Masterson is the daughter of Cybil Shepherd and Shooter McGavin, and she falls in love with her reincarnated father who is also still in love with her mother AND GUYS IT IS JUST A LOT. THIS MOVIE IS A LOT.
  11. Shooter McGavin has been dead for 23 years and Cybil Shepherd is still cooking for him and, girl, real talk: this therapy is NOT HELPING. Her therapist is basically like “get laid by a live human” and it’s not going great. She’s feeding York Peppermint Patties to a photograph. Homegirl needs more help than Dr. Bowtie McGetlaid over here.
  12. Reincarnated baby RDJ was born in Cleveland but ends up in DC just constantly running into figures from his Shooter McGavin life, you know, like reality.
  13. He shows up at the Washington Post basically just demanding a job with no experience, like a white dude or Clark Kent. He meets Ryan O’Neal who is just like “well I guess I just have a Robert Downey Jr. now” and takes him to Cybil’s house like he owns the f*ckin’ joint.
  14. Cybil keeps Shooter’s picture on the butter drawer and I feel like there’s a hidden subplot about her having a binge eating disorder but it’s unclear, it’s possible the script just thinks she eats cake alone and feeds candy to pictures and that’s a personality trait.
  15. RDJ is having Shooter McFlashbacks and he needs to have a real flail about it.
  16. Damn, there is a LOT of reading material in this bathroom. Someone has a serious case of chronic consties.
  17. The real issue is that Cybil Shepherd has kept the same random sh*t in the same junk drawer for 23 years. And the same bathroom reading material possibly. Those magazines need 23 years of disinfectant. 
  18. Robert Downey Creeper. 


  19. I mean he’s the reincarnated version of Shooter McGavin but he’s still GREATLY impolite. Like even if you didn’t become actual roadkill, there’s no excuse for drinking out of the orange juice container or eating a dead man’s shrine York Peppermint Patty. 
  20. Mary Stuart Masterson is really going BIG on this bro she just met and who keeps staring at her mom with some smarmy-ass eyes.
  21. Ew Ryan O'Neal just walked up behind Cybil and kissed her shoulder. In a world where the friendzone exists, STAY THERE. STAY THERE AND THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU'VE DONE. Also, don't hit on your daughter at your girlfriend's funeral
  22. I actually just realized how flawlessly cast Ryan O'Neal is in this movie. Ugh. Creeps. CREEPS EVERYWHERE.
  23. Mary Stuart Masterson, you deserve better than this disinterested DadBoyfriend who keeps macking on your mom. GIRL, YOU ARE A YALE-EDUCATED LAWYER. Love yourself.
  24. I think RDJ is about to kill this old lady. She'll probably be reincarnated as Cybil's granddaughter and start dating someone reincarnated as her own uncle, who knows, this movie is WILD.
  25. RDJ keeps tackling Cybil Shepherd on her bed and he just forced a kiss on her and that's no good but also just because he's reincarnated Shooter McGavin, would he kiss like Shooter McGavin? He has a different mouth. I feel like this movie's concept of reincarnation is unsteady at best.
  26. OK. So. Hoo boy. RDJ wants to have sex with Cybil but she hasn't had sex in 23 years (Jesus Christmas) so he goes to bed and Mary Stuart Masterson, you know, HIS GHOST DAUGHTER, tiptoes in and crawls into bed with him. There is...a lot. This movie is A LOT.
  27. Movies don't know the difference between therapists and psychiatrists. Like, ever.
  28. "I'm so ripe I'm about to fall off the vine." Damn girl, that is some poetic-ass horniness.
  29. "If he asked me to marry him, I'd say yes...He treats me like I'm 5, like I'm his daughter or something." MARY. STUART. MASTERSON. THIS IS TOXIC. SEEK HELP. NOT FROM YOUR MOM'S USELESS PSYCHIATRIST.
  30. "Why don't you just attack mom once and for all and get it over with?" What in the How I Met Your Mother finale hell is this?
  31. No one in this movie accepts nonverbal cues or verbal cues OR ANY CUES. EVERY ONE IS TRYING TO BONE DOWN ON PEOPLE WHO DON'T WANT TO BE BONED DOWN ON. 
  32. Shooter McDowneyJunior keeps trying to have sex with Cybil which only makes me wonder one thing:


  33. R(eincarnated)DJ has decided that Ryan O'Neal should just HAVE Cybil which the movie seems to think is sweet despite Cybil exhibiting almost zero interest in Ryan O'Neal but sure why not, let's just let the men make these decisions, one of whom is definitely dead, it's fine.
  34. Cybil just crawled into bed with Ryan O'Neal thinking it was RDJ and this movie is just people crawling into people's beds and trying to sex up on them and it's like CAN I SLEEP PLEASE? At the very least wake them up and ASK. "Excuse me, sleeping person, can I rub my sex parts all up on you?"
  35. So RDJ gets the inoculation and gets the Shooter McGavin vaccinated out of him AND gets handed a job at the Washington Post, HUZZAH FOR MEN.
  36. So Cybil and Ryan O'Neal get married and RDJ is the best man at his wife's wedding to his best friend and tells his best friend he's in love with his own daughter but it's fine because Cher and Peter Cetera are singing and it's romantic I guess? Damn the '80s were a mess. We're lucky any of us made it out alive. If we hadn't, we'd all be dating our own daughters now.