Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead (1991)
January 6, 2023 8:25 AM - Subscribe

[TRAILER] Sue Ellen Crandell (Christina Applegate) is a teenager eagerly awaiting her mother's (Concetta Tomei) summer-long absence. While the babysitter (Eda Reiss Merin) looks after her rambunctious younger siblings, Sue Ellen can party and have fun. But then the babysitter abruptly dies, leaving the Crandells short on cash. Sue Ellen finds a sweet job in fashion by lying about her age and experience on her résumé. But, while her siblings run wild, she discovers the downside of adulthood.

Also starring Joanna Cassidy, John Getz, Josh Charles, Keith Coogan, David Duchovny, Cathy Ladman, Christopher Plummer, Dan Castellaneta.

Directed by Stephen Herek (Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure). Written by Neil Landau, Tara Ison.

35% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently streaming in the US on HBO Max. Also available for digital rental. JustWatch listing.

Today is Christina Applegate Appreciation Day, because she's terrific and MS sucks. And of course we have to include this film, which many 90's kids spent more time with than their own families, as it played constantly on basic cable.
posted by DirtyOldTown (13 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
So many awesome quotes in this one:
"...talks like she's chewing the side of her face"
"Dishes are done, man!"
"She went to the yarn store."

This is the first movie I remember Joanna Cassidy from and now I think of it every time I see her. She does the office lady role so well.
posted by soelo at 8:49 AM on January 6 [2 favorites]

A staple of my adolescence, absolutely. This is not a bad movie at all. The part that I remember best is Swell and Kenny having a domestic argument, Swell noticing that Kenny fluffed the cushions on the couch and complimenting him on it, and then Kenny admitting, "it needed it." It's movies like DTMTBD that challenged gender roles without knocking me over the head with a message.
posted by Stuka at 9:27 AM on January 6 [8 favorites]

That was Concetta Tomei and not Stephanie Zimbalist??? Also, I SWEAR up and down on a stack of bibles that the film starred Téa Leoni as the jealous coworker, and that it's where she and David Duchovny met and started dating after shooting the "did she get this resume out of a book?" scene.

Stuka, that scene is when twelve-year-old me realized the movie was actually really, really good and not just something disposable starring what's-her-face from a TV show my parents wouldn't let me watch and a Pauly Shore-wannabe.
posted by infinitewindow at 1:28 PM on January 6

Streets is an interesting Applegate movie I'd like to see covered. I saw it once on the late show and it stuck with me. It's about a teenage prostitute getting by on the streets of LA, and (at least as the time) it struck me as both sleazy and empathetic. There's a scene where she's with a john in his car and he wants a blowjob, and she gets out of it by saying, "Sorry, I can't. I have a dental abscess going on right now. Wanna see?" I saw that and I thought, "This sure ain't Pretty Woman."
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:39 PM on January 6 [3 favorites]

Never seen it, but that one is also on YT, looks like.

There are actually enough interesting CA movies that I could give her a second day later down the road. Several of the roles she got were thankless girlfriend/best friend roles but she is always charismatic anyway.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:09 PM on January 6

I’m still in love with Brian <3
posted by one4themoment at 3:33 PM on January 6 [2 favorites]

the film starred Téa Leoni as the jealous coworker

No, that is the inimitable Jayne Brook, who would go on to a starring role on Chicago Hope, a recurring appearance as Dan's therapist girlfriend on Sports Night, and (most recently) appearances as Admiral Cornwell in the first two seasons of Star Trek: Discovery.
posted by hanov3r at 4:03 PM on January 6 [2 favorites]

I spent YEARS believing that drag queens were men who wore wigs and dresses to steal cars because of this movie.
posted by Dynex at 5:07 PM on January 6 [3 favorites]

I assumed it had something to do with drag racing.
posted by Dynex at 5:15 PM on January 6 [8 favorites]

Many years ago at work one day, my co-worker in a neighboring cubicle responded to a supervisor's question with "I'm right on top of that, Rose!" I burst out laughing (the supervisor's name was not Rose) -- I was not expecting to hear a "Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead" reference, and my co-worker was not expecting anyone to get the reference. But from then on we used it on each other randomly.
posted by oh yeah! at 5:16 PM on January 6 [9 favorites]

I loved this back in the day. Not sure I've seen it since highschool.

Christina Applegate really turned out to be much much more than just Kelly Bundy. Damned shame about her MS. I think that she's smart and versatile enough to have had a second mature career - and she still might.

I think I'm going to have to check out 'Dead to Me.'
posted by porpoise at 6:00 PM on January 6

Holy shit 'Dead to Me.'
posted by porpoise at 12:38 AM on January 7 [2 favorites]

OMG, it's Christina Applegate day on Fanfare! I love her!

When I was watching Dead to Me I was wondering why, whyyyyy, she never played Catherine O'Hara's daughter in something. They both have that same wacky droll thing about them, the same timing. The best things about their performances seem to overlap in the best way.

And it turns out they WERE in a movie together! A terrible looking thing from 2004 called Surviving Christmas (trailer) which has Ben Affleck playing a character who is somehow even more unsympathetic than his usual roles. There's a brief moment in the trailer where Catherine and Christina react to each other, and it just makes me yearn for what could have been had they been put in a better movie.
posted by mochapickle at 11:37 AM on January 7

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