Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead (1991) Poster

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"Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead"- 8/10. Christina Applegate brings humor to this classic 80's style movie.
movies2u16 January 2004
Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead (1991)

This is one of the best and the last 80's style comedies along the lines of "Uncle Buck". Sue Ellen (Christina Applegate) is the oldest of 3 brothers- Kenny (Keith Coogan), Walter (Robert Gorman), Zach (Christopher Pettiet) , and 1 sister- Melissa (Danielle Harris). Excited about her mom leaving for Australia on vacation, Sue Ellen is expecting to have a great summer- that is until she discovers she is going to be "babysat" by the evil Mrs. Sturak- a mean, grumpy old hag who gives you book reports instead of letting you watch television in the evening. Then, Mrs. Sturak dies- leaving Sue Ellen and her four siblings to survive the summer, prompting her to get a job to support her brothers and sister, put food on the table, and learn the true meaning of responsibility. This movie has some laughs and is pretty fun and entertaining. A good family comedy. 8/10.
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8/10
Really stupid but I LOVED it!
preppy-31 November 1999
OK the premise is dumb--A mom is going on vacation to Australia for two months. She has five children and leaves them with a tyrannical babysitter. The babysitter dies (of natural causes) within the first 15 minutes and the kids basically have to live alone all summer...but need money for food. The oldest one is 17 year old Sue Ellen (Christina Applegate)and she easily gets an executive position (just like real life, right?) at a fashion agency and, naturally, is incredible at her job. And her brothers and sisters learn values from her example...

Sounds horrible, but it's well-acted (especially Applegate and a drop dead gorgeous Joanna Cassidy), it moves quickly, is very funny, has a great soundtrack of new AND old songs and I enjoyed every minute of it! Not a great movie by any means, but if you can turn off your brain for 2 hours, you'll really enjoy it!
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7/10
Nostalgia at its best
tub8338828 October 2013
I remember watching this film when I was about ten and I loved it. I remember being motivated to see it in the first place because Married with children reigned supreme in our house and I loved Christina Applegate. In this movie she didn't disappoint either, as she was not only good in it, but played a character wildly different from mean, dim witted Kelly Bundy. Instead she played Sue Ellen Krandle a decent ,level headed, but restless young woman who is uncertain about her future. Sue Ellen has a contentious relationship with her siblings and mother,but she also is willing to strive for their approval and respect. In other words she is a regular seventeen year old. More mature than her siblings but not quite ready to take up the mantle of an adult. When her mother goes to Austraila, Sue Ellen thinks that she is going to have a care free summer of fun in the sun, when a woman comes to the door and her mother introduces... the babysitter. When mom leaves the seemingly sweet grandma like gem, reveals a nastily terrifying tyrant underneath, and Sue Ellen and her siblings try and keep cool heads. The old be careful what you wish for scenario surfaces when the baby sitter sees Sue Ellens punk brother's bedroom and is literally shocked to death. Sue Ellen finds the woman's corpse and to make a long story short her and her siblings are left for two months with out money or adult supervision. This movie is not perfect from a technical standpoint. It a predicable cheesy fantasy full of scenarios that in real life would be incrediblbly dark. However, for some reason, the acting, the engrossing action pact scenes and the love you have for the respectful a, fresh and resourceful sue Ellen and hate you have for the bad characters emotionally engross you. This movie couldn't hold up today, but for its time, and because the memories it brings I will always love it.
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8/10
Fun from the word GO!
chloe-webb-0114 July 2012
How could you NOT like this movie! I am watching it right now, and it has inspired me to write a review, and hopefully give it more recognition and more importantly, a higher rating!!!! Kids home alone with no parents, free to do whatever, but also trying to maintain living! Each character has their own stereotype- Walter the youngest: a handful, Melissa: the disobedient tomboy, Kenny: the headbanging rocker drop-out, Zachary: the calm, but sneaky love struck teen and Sue-Ellen: the responsible, yet hip mother of her siblings. This movie is full of much excitement and a great plot. You cannot go past this underrated classic!
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7/10
A fun and vibrant film.
maz underscore25 February 2007
I remember watching this film when I was growing up, I loved it then and I still love it.

Despite the fact it's obviously predictable, it's a fun film that's well acted and directed and has a great soundtrack.

Christina Applegate is quite impressive as Sue-Ellen, as is the rest of the cast.

Most of the characters are quite black and white with the obvious "baddies" getting their comeuppance towards the end of the film. Predictable films howeverm, aren't always bad. Especially if they are well acted and the characters are interesting. The only character that was meant to be nice that I found utterly annoying, was Josh Charles as Sue-Ellen's sugary sweet suitor, Bryan. His acting was great don't get me wrong, but I think it's safe to say Bryan wouldn't be MY type!

If anything else, this fun film is easy to watch and will remind most people in their mid 20's of their adolescents.
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7/10
Harmless entertainment
viv-151 July 2005
You know... I've seen this a couple of times and I'd see it again. It made me laugh. It was charming. It was a harmless flick; no psyches were harmed in the making thereof. Granted, no real thought needs to be put into watching it. But it was fun, and I enjoyed it.

Christina Applegate especially impressed me, which is noteworthy as -- at the time -- I really disliked her as a result of really disliking "Married With Children." She was not only good in her role but, I have to say, pretty much won me over.

I can't say that the film made me wish I had siblings or a dead babysitter, but it did entertain me, and it made me smile to remember it watching this review, which has got to be worth something.
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10/10
What I have to say about my favorite movie ever..."Can't you call Lizard or Hellhound?"
Marc Reiss12 November 2004
Being one of those people that isn't heavily into the whole cinema "thing," I have my classic favorites and I stick to them. But this one outshines them all. When asked 'what is your favorite movie?' at times I am hesitant to disclose DTMTBD as my number one. First, it must be clear that this is obviously not necessarily a "good" movie, in the eyes of the Academy or critics, but it's not supposed to be. That's the beauty of it, and that's why Christina Applegate is an actress!

There are so many quotes that I would like to add to my "comments," but as most of you have probably seen it, you don't likely need a commentary; so instead I'll just get back to the QED Report so Swell can have it to New York by this afternoon.

It's too bad she and young Brian are married now -- I used to watch the grunion run with him. We'll see.
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Better than the 5/10 rating it has here.
tholts7 December 2004
Just saw it again; the cast carries a silly plot, in much the same way as a '40s screwball comedy but with an 80s/90s sensibility and awareness. Applegate and Coogan are really outstanding here, and the supporting cast is smart enough to either support or stay out of the way, as necessary. It's pure humor with no big message, which apparently was a virtue 60 years ago but is unforgivable now. I'd best describe the humor as, "Hilarity ensues as fish out of water learn to breathe air."

I'd give it a very solid 6.8 out of 10, worth a rental or a Netflix hit, but not a $20 purchase.

Tom
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Amusing film from a more innocent age.
jpt2711 November 2004
What is a great film? Something that is truly timeless, or something which is a classic of its genre? Obviously, no-one's pretending "Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead" is a great film (no great film has a title of more than three words. Think about it) but nonetheless, one does get to see how a film handles its composition of several genres rather than one. It's the best strategy towards greatness, and I hope to see this attempted more frequently.

"Don't Tell Mom..." is at an interesting cultural crossroads. It's basically the last of the Eighties high-concept comedies: the same broad category as films like Big and Crocodile Dundee, where the whole film comes from the pitch. However, we get to see shades of Wayne's World-esquire Generation X teen movie, especially in the character of Rob, and unfortunately the short-lived genre of 'kids acting in grown-up situations and delivering ever-so-amusing grownup lines.' John Hughes was the master of this style of film-making, and there's definitely shades of his work in here, most noticeably the setting of a film largely within a family house.

First of all - the pitch. Kids left at home for summer with babysitter. Babysitter dies and kids must fend for themselves with as few people let in on the secret as possible. From this moment on, the film was always going to go about the format of throwing its naive, brattish teenagers in the real world at the deep end and extracting as much amusement as possible from their sinking-or-swimming.

The screenplay starts to thin at this point. Of the five kids in the house, only two are feasibly old enough to work, or indeed to learn any sort of life lesson throughout this experience. The plot then follows Sue Ellen as she stumbles her way into a job and up the corporate ladder (the script is devoid of jokes at this point, but I kept watching because Christina Applegate is a surprisingly good actress.) Everything from this point is a misjudgment - it's virtually scrawled across the screen that Sue Ellen is getting some life lessons and becoming a young adult. The film could have done without the 'boyfriend' storyline though - it's without doubt the saggiest part of the film.

More interesting is the Kenny storyline. Younger brother Kenny goes from being a hopeless layabout stoner with no inkling to as what he wants to do in life to a man with a plan. Lack of screen time prohibits us from truly understanding why, but we do get an insight into the film's message - the real world is about sacrifice. Kenny must throw away his carefree existence if he wants to become a man.

Sure, this film has faults like pearls on a string - the annoying smaller children who eat up screen time and contribute nothing but an unbearable cuteness (and they're not even that cute: they steal money from their mom's purse - twice.) Sue Ellen's corporate life is shown as patronizingly simple, but that's a fault of all movies in general, you can't have clever successful people as the heroes because the audience feels intimidated. The other major fault I'm going to point out is the chronic lack of laughs. About the biggest giggle was David Duchovny's horrendous yellow shirt. But "Don't Tell Mom," much like its characters, has an innocent, naive charm about it, and if you can put aside your critical mauling instinct, it won't be the worst two hours of your celluloid life.

Keep your eyes peeled for a throwaway reference to Big.
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8/10
Much better than is to be expected
mrsastor1 June 2007
I loved this movie, I found it very entertaining and would recommend it.

I'm often surprised at the points people get hung up on in reviewing movies. They are, after all, FICTION. The main "controversy" surrounding this plot seems to be Sue Ellen's job. I have done office work for over 25 years and yes, it is entirely possible that Sue Ellen could have landed that position without too much trouble. Maybe not inside of five minutes at the first firm she walked into, but using a faked resume, as she was, she could have obtained a pretty soft office job without too much trouble. Some firms I've worked for would verify your more recent work experience, but many others never verify anything on a resume, and I've never once in all my years known of anyone to verify the education one claimed to have. Indeed, I've often kicked myself that I could have claimed to have some precious, worthless high dollar degree and no one would have questioned it.

Beyond this, the movie is awfully good for this genre of film. We see the children unexpectedly learning valuable life lessons and it changing them into better people. It's really a rather wholesome movie considering the time period and target audience. I've let my nephews, nieces, and grandchildren watch in my home, there is nothing more objectionable than the very occasional swear word in it.

One of my favorite movies from an otherwise dry period in Hollywood, highly recommended.
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