Now that Foreign Cinema month is over, I feel the need to cleanse the palate with a 90’s teen cult classic. Nothing subtitled or black-and-white here, folks. Just some good old-fashioned Working Girl-meets-Risky Business hijinks. This week, I’ll be watching Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead (DVD), and basking in early-90’s nostalgia. Chunky jewelry, shoulder pads, Married With Children-era Christina Applegate- what more does one need?
Because of the ridiculous title, many people would probably write this off as forgettable Hollywood fluff. Oh how wrong they would be. Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead features early performances by soon-to-be famous actors like David Duchovny, Josh Charles, and the aforementioned Ms. Applegate. In fact, it’s worth watching just to see David Duchovny’s slick ponytail. I love that the absence of adult supervision actually forces the teenagers in this film to grow up, instead of just throwing a raging party and rolling credits. As a young girl seeing this for the first time, Sue Ellen “Swell” Crandell’s foray into the corporate fashion industry was actually kind of inspiring to me. Petty cash, confusing fax machines, QED reports- it all sounded so exciting! (side note: I still have no idea how to use my office fax machine). Joanna Cassidy’s character Rose was always my dream boss- supportive, trusting, and just crazy enough to eat M&M’s off the floor.
Another aspect of the corporate world that I always found intriguing was the concept of a long lunch with cocktails and cigarettes. Like, in the actual restaurant. People were crazy back then! I’ll never forget the horrified look of the waiter as Sue Ellen orders a martini that is both sweet and dry (“just a little bit of both”). I didn’t know what it meant as a child, but I learned to never order a martini like that when I grew up. I do find it funny that her sleazy co-worker Gus orders a white wine spritzer. Perhaps he’s tapping into his feminine side? Regardless, I happen to love that drink, so while watching Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead, I recommend drinking a White Wine Spritzer.
White Wine Spritzer
3 parts Sauvignon Blanc
1 part club soda
Pour wine into an ice filled wine glass. Top with club soda, and garnish with a lime wedge.
This movie still has quite the following, as evidenced by a recent screening I attended at the Alamo Drafthouse. We were all there to revel in our love of this weird little slice of 90’s cinema, and marvel at how Kenny “Dishes Are Done Man” Crandell (actor Keith Coogan, in attendance) had aged. One great piece of trivia from his Q&A session was that his horrible haircut was actually a wig. I’m not sure I can say the same for David Duchovny. That ponytail looked too real. Cheers!