Sunday, November 21, 2010

Episode 23: "The Babysitter's Club"

Here comes one of the terrible movies on my list for Brian to enjoy.  If you're a girl from the late 80s-early 90s, you are very familiar with "The Babysitters Club."  If you're my age and don't remember it, you may want to pull out your Elementary School time capsule and dig out an old Scholastic book catalog and browse the choices.  You will find "The Babysitters Club" in between the ad for "Sweet Valley Twins" and the latest Judy Blume book.  It was all the hype.  Young pre-teen girls were becoming entrepreneurs and taking business tips from Christy and her friends for their own babysitting proceeds. 

Get ready folks, here comes my confession.  I never read a single "Babysitters Club" book.  Not a single one.  I was a true Francine Pascal supporter.  I wanted to be a Sweet Valley Twin.  As a kid, I would have done anything to be a blonde teenager twin but with a name like Lisa or Tiffany.  "The Babysitters Club" was Francine's competitor.  It would be like eating a slice of Pizza Hut when everyone knows, Domino's has my heart. 

BUUUUT, Sweet Valley made a TV show (WHICH I WATCHED) but never a movie.  This girl needs a cheesy teeny bopper movie on a sick day.  I gave into the temptation and betrayed my friends in Sweet Valley.  Yeesh, that confession was difficult. 

Here are just a few of the classic terrible moments that stole my heart in a bullet point display:
-Young Schuyler Fisk played the main character.  She was TERRIBLE, but improved her acting skills for "Orange County" as a teen.  Then let go of her acting career and made an incredible choice to switch to singing.  I adore her now.
-Young Rachel Leigh Cook was just as awful in this flick as she is in EVERY OTHER MOVIE.  How does she have a career?  She doesn't move her mouth when she talks.  She's full of mumbles.
-Oh there are classic editing mistakes.  It is great fun to try and catch them all.
-The Mean Girls wore Dr. Martens.  I would have done anything to have a pair of those boots.  They weren't the regular brown kind, they were metallic, pastel, and flower pattern.  That was THE definition of cool.
-One of the guys from "Saved by the Bell: The New Class" played an older teen foreigner that won over the heart of a 13 year old.  At the time, I felt dreamy just thinking about some older teen foreigner sweeping me of my feet.  Now, I'm totally creeped out by the plot.  The girl was 13 and he was like 18.  He would've been arrested.

Those are just a few memorable moments that make this movie...awesome.  I know it's terrible, but I still like to watch it.  I can't help but love those awkward pre-teen girls as they're not cool enough to own Dr. Martens like the Mean Girls.  I can relate to them. 

Oh what I would give for a Sweet Valley movie,

This review is a long time coming considering we watched "The Babysitters Club" in August. It's difficult to remember good movies from four months ago, let alone this catastrophe. But, for all its awfulness, this movie is an unintentional comedy GOLD MINE. Great Odin's raven, there's so much to mock!

First of all, as Lindsey mentioned, all of the cast are magnificently poor actors. Rachel Leigh Cook is like a robot but not a cool robot like the Terminator; no, a barely-mobile robot like the little girl from "Small Wonder." And it's a good thing Schuyler Fisk can sing because there's no chance she would have any sort of a career without her voice. What an ugly kid she was, too. It's sad, really. They dress her up to make her look like a tomboy but really, she's just ugly. The rest of the cast is equally bad.

Second, who made this movie? I understand that movies play to their audience. Most kids movies are geared toward kids, obviously. This one is different. This movie plays out like it was written, directed, edited, produced, and distributed by a group of 12 year old girls. The HUGE plot point involving the older teenage boy sort-of dating the 13 year old girl? What is that about?! I feel like this was supposed to be funny but really, that guy is a sex offender now. How was that given the green light? And the shot selection and long takes are excruciating. Most people never notice camera work or editing unless it's really great or really horrendous. Well let me tell you, this one is the latter. Our viewing group probably spent a third of the movie laughing over scenes that ostensibly ended 20 seconds before the cut and shots that were off center for no reason.

Third, and most importantly, I will never forget the pancake scene. At some point, Schuyler Fisk's character (whose name was probably Ryan or Alex or something real tomboyish to help hide the ugly) goes out into the woods with her estranged father (again, no one at the studio thought this was strange) who cooks her mouse pancakes. Only they don't look like mice. No, nothing even close to mice. What do they look like, you ask? Sperm. They look like sperm! We had to pause the movie while we all freaked out and collected ourselves up off the floor. Oh the laughter! And no one in post production thought, "Huh, you know what? Those mouse pancakes look nothing like mice but instead the most unfortunate, inappropriate thing an estranged father could show his pre-teen daughter in the middle of the woods. Maybe we should change that."

So, needless to say, "The Babysitters Club" is an awful movie. But it did bring at least one new inside joke into my repertoire and for that I'll cut it a break.

Grade: C-

I only read the Boxcar Children books growing up,

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