Liveblogging the '90s: A Real-Time Review of 'Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead'
Suggested by Lainey Bobainey, today’s offering is1991’s Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead. First and foremost, you need to know that Comcast calls this a “frisky comedy.”
0:00 - Oh my stars I completely forgot about the animated opening credits. YOU GUYS. Do you remember all the ’80s and ’90s animated opening credits? And then there was that time they made a whole movie of ’90s animated opening credits and called it Cool World? Good times.
0:01 - So, Christina Applegate’s friends are going on a summer trip to Europe. She can’t go because her family can’t afford it. However her mom gets to go to Australia to see a sheep farm for the whole summer and leave her five children? Dude. I get not affording Europe. That seems like a whole expensive thing. But LEAVING YOUR CHILDREN FOR AN ENTIRE SUMMER? That is supposed to stay an unlived fantasy that you never make come true because it makes you a TERRIBLE HUMAN AND PARENT.
0:01 - Also, hats.
0:01 - Sue Ellen(Applegate) seems to think she will be a free a woman all summer chillin’ at the beach. SPOILER I THINK THE BABYSITTER DIES AND SHE CAN’T GO TO BEACH.
0:02 - The kids are so angsty. Like, seriously, I’d want to leave the hemisphere, too. BUT YOU CAN’T. Being the kind of mom who would ditch the continental US for months at a time is probably why your kids are monsters.
0:04 - “So, mom. Takin’ off on us. Shirkin’ that parental responsibility.” Blue-eyed floppy-hair boy knows what’s up.
0:05 - I just caught Sue Ellen’s full ensemb. Red and black caftan, black tapered pants, green boots and a hat from the Toni Morrison collection. My fancy garters. What a look.
0:06 - Her mom’s be-shoulder padded pink blazer is on point, too. Less on point? HER PARENTING. Youngest kid: Mom, will you call us every day? Mom: Walter! This IS mom’s vacation!
WORLD’S. WORST. MOTHER.
0:07 - The old lady babysitter was nice but now she’s a real bitch snizz. This movie made me deeply concerned about old ladies with cigarettey voices and messy houses.
0:09 - Blue-eyed floppy-hair has mad mack skillz and calls a little girl his moon goddess. He is creepy.
0:10 - Girl one got put in a dress. She’s ready to fuck a bitch up. Sue Ellen tells babysitter she shouldn’t have put the kids in nametags, but I can’t get the kids’ names either so maybe that wasn’t the worst idea.
0:12 - So we’re 12 minutes in and the babysitter is dead AS THE TITLE FORETOLD. The kids put a blanket over her. THEN THEY MOVE THE BODY ON A SKATEBOARD AND LOAD HER INTO A SUITCASE, STICK HER IN THE TRUNK AND LEAVE HER IN FRONT OF A MORTUARY WITH A NOTE.
YOU GUYS I FORGOT ABOUT THAT. THAT IS REALLY FUCKED UP. GIRL ONE SUGGESTED THEY CUT OFF HER HEAD. YOU GUYS. YOU GUYS!
0:14 - Now Sue Ellen is stealing the dead woman’s car. YOU GUYS.
0:15 - So, in that scene earlier, WHEN THEY DUMPED THE WOMAN’S BODY, it turns out she took the money the mom left for the whole summer. So now they’re completely poor and Sue El’s all “there goes our great summer.” Um, Sue El, there goes your complete and total ability to survive because you children cannot afford to exist. JUST CALL YOUR GARBAGE MOM AND TELL HER TO COME HOME FROM HER GARBAGE TRIP AND FEED HER CHILDREN BECAUSE SWEET JOB HIRING THE 90-YEAR-OLD CARDIAC CASE.
0:18 - Sue Ellen decides to get a job at a clothing store. She does not get a job at a clothing store. She gets a job at a hot dog joint with Josh Charles and some bow ties. It is very disgusting and by that I mean it’s your standard food service job. She’s all complainy to Josh Charles but Josh Charlies is all “I’m a decent human who was raised with some manner of work ethic.” So she immediately quits on her first day because feeding herself and her siblings is NOT worth it. Kenny the burnout brother informs his friends that they’ll never get out of school because of burnout reasons. MOM. YOUR KIDS ALL SUCK AT LIFE.
0:24 - Sue Ellen is applying for a fancy job and faking a resume. Her resume says she has an MA in fashion, so this will probably go just fine. Mostly because her nail game is PERFECTION.
0:24 - So is her outfit. Everything about it is without flaw.
0:26 - These last two movies have moved at the fastest clip imaginable. Sue Ellen is now the executive administrative assistant to Rose Lindsay, aka, Joanna Cassidy with a red wig, aka Brenda’s perfectly bonkers mom from Six Feet Under.
0:28 - We have our first “I’m right on top of that, Rose” and that was the first professional
tip any of us ever learned.
0:29 - She’s pulling in $37,500 as an admin in 1991?! That’s more than I made at my first three jobs 15 years later!
0:31 - The family’s car gets stolen by drag queens. This movie is going for a Savage Steve Holland wackiness. AND IT IS SUCCEEDINGish.
0:32 - Sue Ellen and Josh Charles are having a romantic moment while children scream and glass breaks inside. WHAT KIND OF HOUSEHOLD HAVE YOU CREATED, MOM?
0:33 - Sue Ellen is literally my fashion icon. Still to this day.
0:36 - Sue Ellen thought her new job was in high fashion. It is in polyester uniform fashion.
0:38 - Sue Ellen immediately learns the masterful skill of delegation (I literally just figured out how to properly do this) and pawns her work off on an excited secretary. This movie is either the worst lesson in how to be a human or the best lesson in how to live every element of life.
0:40 - David Duchovny’s here, too and his hair is the slickedest back.
He’s dating the asshole receptionist who is the most evil character in cinema. She is made of devil’s assholes.
0:44 - Now Sue Ellen is stealing petty cash from her company. I feel like this script was supposed to be The Wolf of Wall Street. How many movies like this exist with female protagonists? Smart, savvy ones at that? This movie is filled with terrible humans but in any other movie and in actual real life they would be celebrated revered men so this movie is actually a feminist triumph. Whoa. I feel like I’ve been sparking doobies with brother Kenny.
0:46 - This is what all dates looked like in the early ’90s.
0:47 - This is also the most reasonable conversation I’ve ever heard in a movie about dealing with how to figure out post-high school life plans. No hysterics, no melodrama, just “what the hell do I do?” The characters are becoming better people. I too am becoming better people.
0:49 - Stoney Kenny ate all the food with his stoney friends. Now he and his stoney friends are shooting dishes off the roof. Literally. With guns.
0:50 - Rose’s boyfriend takes Sue Ellen to lunch to try and bang her hard. He is the creepiest individual in the entire world. I don’t want to look at his face anymore. He’s hitting on her so grossly I feel oily.
0:55 - “Sue Ellen, every girl over 25 should have a cucumber in the house.” File that under lines I never got until this literal second. I JUST THOUGHT WE WERE SUPPOSED TO HAVE CUCUMBERS. FOR SALADS AND BEAUTY REGIMENS.
0:57 - Josh Charles is mad because Sue Ellen won’t tell him what she does for a living. She can’t tell him because his sister is the ass snizz receptionist monster.
0:59 - Sue Ellen has cucumbers on her eyes. She clearly didn’t get that line either.
0:59 - Everything would be so much simpler in movies if not for arbitrary secrets.
1:01 - Now the siblings are stealing money from the petty cash box. A whole family of stealers and thieves.
1:05 - Rose’s boyfriend creepster guy is giving me serious #YesAllWomen rage.
1:08 - Because brother Kenny is such human garbage, little Walter brother climbs the roof and falls off. Good god.
1:13 - These kids stole and spent $3,000 of petty cash from Sue Ellen’s work? BACK TO GARBAGE, ALL OF THEM.
1:16 - Work is in trouble because the uniform industry is a tough one I guess, so a school board rejected the company’s proposal (PUBLIC SCHOOL PRIVILEGE—I lived my life in a damn uniform). It’s up to Sue Ellen to save the day. She redesigns the uniforms and gets her family to clean up their nasty (but secretly stunning) home—all to avoid getting caught in a lie. The family comes together and cleans the whole house and makes it perfect. What are the real-life implications here? Jail time? Kids continuing to be garbage? A cycle of failure that carries on for generations to come? In another world, this movie is the film version of Shameless.
1:22 - David Duchovny and ass snizz receptionist break into Sue Ellen’s office in the middle of the night just to prove she’s a fraud. I’ve known some real twat nuggets in my professional life, and I’ve never given one snotty shit about any of them enough to stick around past 6. THIS MOVIE MIGHT NOT BE A DOCUMENTARY.
1:28 - Gus is literally the most vile character in film. And Rose is the picture of professional grace. And NONE OF IT IS THE POINT! I love it! This movie is so “sisters are doing it for themselves” and it’s not at all what it’s trying to say. Fuckin’ damn yeah, fist pump of womanhood! Let’s high five boobs!
1:30 - THE FASHION SHOW!
THANK YOU, KATRINA.
1:31 - Josh Charles shows up, her mom shows up and loudly yells “you’re in big trouble, young lady” acting like a mom for the first time ever. UM, MOM. SHE IS CLEARLY IN THE MIDDLE OF A PRESENTATION.
1:34 - “Rose, I’m so sorry.” Oh yeah and also I stole $3,000 in petty cash so I’m off the hook for that now right?
1:34 - “I specifically said no parties.” THIS PARTY HAS MEDIA AND MIDDLE-AGED PEOPLE IN SUITS. MOM, WHAT IS EVEN YOUR DEAL? ARE YOU ACTUALLY IMPAIRED?
1:34 - Yeah, mom. Go to your room. And take off that dipshit hat. You’re not in the outback anymore.
1:36 - Applegate needs to bring back the power brows. Those were working for her.
1:38 - The moral of this whole movie? Everything was so much better for this family when that garbage mom was out of the picture.
1:40 - Sue Ellen and Josh Charles work things out. But they will clearly have a complicated future because his sister is a human nightmare.
1:40 - Everything worked out great! Except that body that they stashed earlier! Fer fun!
Thank you for joining me for this tale of feminism, corporate espionage, terrible parenting, uniforms, hats and hot dogs. That sentence was basically a Stefan sketch and I CELEBRATE IT. Good night! It’s the afternoon! Whatever! Hats! THANK YOU, KATRINA!