Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter Died

Continuing with the Babysitter Duology is Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead. The first thing I realized when remembering this movie is how long the title is. It has to be one of the longest titles among the movie titles I’ve watched. There are longer titles but how likely am I to watch Night of the Day of the Dawn of the Son of the Bride of the Return of the Revenge of the Terror of the Attack of the Evil, Mutant, Hellbound, Flesh-Eating Subhumanoid Zombified Living Dead, Part 3?

I haven’t revisited this movie recently so I haven’t yet confirmed whether or not it’s still good. I suspect, just going by the themes I remember, it is the superior of the Babysitter Duology. Why do I say that? Because DTMTBD is about growth of characters into a more fully realized state. Adventures in Babysitting‘s character growth consisted of one character deciding to dump Josh from The West Wing and another character acknowledging that maybe he doesn’t own a woman.

So what is DTMTBD about? It’s really about the oldest sister of four siblings. She’s an irresponsible teen who wears shoulder pads and wants to go to the mall, ok mom? Like, she suffers the indignity of adults around her. It’s awful. Their mother, for obscure or arcane reasons, has to go to Australia so they’re left in the care of The Babysitter, who turns out to be a mean old lady.

The trailer, now that I think about it, really covers all that. What it doesn’t cover is what I think both makes it a good trailer and a good movie. You see, once The Babysitter dies, the siblings at first revel in their freedom and descend into hedonism. However, once they find that their carefree lifestyle cannot support them, they are forced by circumstances to grow as people.

The slacker older brother not only grows into a homemaker (oddly a reverse of gender roles) but comes to actually enjoy it, and discovers newfound talents as a cook. The oldest daughter, through use of deception (how Penelope from the Odyssey, amirite?) to get a job in the fashion industry, where she becomes a successful fashion designer.

The movie is about adversity bringing about growth, and the painful transition from immaturity to maturity. Teens don’t really act like jerks, in general, because they are jerks. They’re jerks because, my theory is, they can’t see things in context. They don’t have the life experience yet, and pushing against everything around them is the natural thing to do. It’s probably why I’ll never have children, because while I theoretically get it, I couldn’t handle it as a dad.

In some ways it’s like the hero’s journey. Oddly much more so than the heroic journey of Adventures in Babysitting because it’s mostly an internal struggle instead of mobsters. Man, I’m really killing it today on great points.

So yeah, this movie is probably good. Good enough that I’ll risk rewatching it sometime. I think the title, in retrospect, could have been something like: Home Alone. What? This predates Home Alone by like a decade or something and the title makes perfect sense here.


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