1972. Vada Sultenfuss (played by Anna Chlumsky) is an intelligent, bubbly, hypochondriacal 11-year old girl. Her father, Harry (Dan Aykroyd), is a mortician and a widower. Her best friend is Thomas J Sennett (Macaulay Culkin). Then her father hires a new receptionist, Shelly (Jamie Lee Curtis), and life will never be the same again. Written by
The MPAA originally gave the movie a PG-13 rating (most likely for the mature elements throughout it). It was changed to PG on appeal. See more »
When Harry is getting dressed for his date with Shelly, his brother comes into the room and messes up his hair. Harry tries to straighten it out, but you can still see it sticking up all over. In the very next shot you can see the hair is perfectly combed as if nothing happened. See more »
I was born jaundiced. Once I sat on a toilet seat at a truck stop and caught hemorrhoids. And I've learned to live with this chicken bone that's been lodged in my throat for the past three years. So I knew Dad would be devastated when he learned of my latest affliction.
Dad, I don't want to upset you, but my left breast is developing at a significantly faster rate than my right. It can only mean one thing: cancer. I'm dying.
[making a sandwich]
Okay, sweetie, hand me the ...
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Something about this movie sucks you in. Even if you take away the guts, it has its own little world. I believe this might be so more for me, since I didn't live through the time it takes place, but I found the atmosphere one that almost makes you forget about the "adult world," which is charming.
The story is also very well done. This movie is typically revered as one more enjoyed by children, but I think adults can get something out of it too, from the psychological depth of the characters. The plot also is not very cliché at all...so little that it stands out, and is inimitable enough that no one has even tried to rip it off.
The acting is also pristine. Lastly, what tops off this movie is the music. As important as the movie itself is, even a good movie can be dulled out a little if the music isn't good. James Newton Howard outdoes himself here. The 70s tunes complete the effect of forgetting you're in a relatively punked out society where you won't find as many friendly streets. Also, several spots, such as Vada walking on the tree branches late in the movie, the music composed is an example of talent that few composers have to so fluently use music as a translation of emotions.
The story is good, and the execution, which is equally important (and often neglected in would-be awesome movies), is next to flawless. It is not by any means mind-blowing, but it is not meant to be, and you will remember it.
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