Saturday, May 26, 2012

Adventures with the Baby-Sitter

The Sitter

Director: David Gordon Green
Cast: Jonah Hill, Max Records, Sam Rockwell
Released: December 9, 2011

I can't compare a movie about a baby-sitter having a crazy night with their charges without also mentioning one of my favorite movies from the '80s, Adventures in Baby-Sitting which I already wrote a review, but for the purpose of this review I will be comparing the two movies.

In The Sitter, we have college student Noah (Jonah Hill) who lives at home with his single mom and has a "girlfriend", Marisa. I say girlfriend lightly because their relationship is very one-sided. She only wants to be around him when it's beneficial for her and doesn't care about what he wants, but he doesn't seem to care that she's just using him and thinks things will be better. In Adventures in Baby-Sitting, we have high school senior Chris Parker (Elisabeth Shue) who is dating a popular, but douchey guy named Mike (played by a pre-Josh Lyman Bradley Whitford).

Both Noah and Chris have plans that do not involve baby-sitting, but somehow get suckered into it at the last minute. They don't belong to the Baby-Sitters Club where they meet every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and clients can call them on those days from 5:30-6 to set up baby-sitting appointments! (Did you ever notice in those books NOBODY ever needed them to baby-sit when they were having their meetings? convenient!) Noah has plans to watch some documentary on TV he's interested in and Chris has plans to go out with Mike. (Noah is not as popular as Chris!) Noah's mom is supposed to go out but gets a call from the Pedullas needing someone to watch their three kids. Noah doesn't want to, but knows if he doesn't, then his mom will and she will miss her social function which she has been looking forward to, so he agrees to baby-sit. Mike cancels on Chris when he tells her he can't go out because his younger sister is sick and he has to watch her. The Andersons call later needing a baby-sitter for their daughter.

Noah's charges include the Pedullas' two biological kids, Slater (Max Records...he was the kid in Where the Wild Things Are), a thirteen-year-old who is very neurotic and thinks everybody is after him and needs his medication to keep him calm and Blithe, who is six or seven and likes to wear tons of make up and talk about how "hot" everything and everybody is and always has "hot gossip" to share. There's also their adopted son from Guatemala, Rodrigo, who is twelve or thirteen and likes to destroy things and set cherry bombs in public bathrooms. He's kinda useless to the movie and only comes in as a plot device for one scene.

While Chris is only supposed to baby-sit for Sarah, an eight-year-old who idolizes Thor (and for the longest time...well up until the recent Thor movie came out, I had no idea that Thor was a real character...I thought he was made up for the movie! And no, I am not joking, I actually thought that. I don't care about comic books, obviously!) Sarah's older brother, Brad, a freshman in high school has a huge crush on Chris and when he finds out she's baby-sitting Sarah, he decides to stay home even though he was suppose to spend the night at his friend's Darryl's house.

Both Noah and Chris aren't at their charges' homes very long before they both receive calls that will change their entire nights. Noah gets a call from Marisa who's at a party (even though she told him earlier that day she had gotten food poisoning and was too sick to do anything!) and asks him to stop by at a guy she knows to get some drugs and drop them off at the party. She promises him that if he does her this favor, she will have sex with him. Chris gets a call from her best friend, Brenda, who has decided to run away from home because her stepmom is driving her crazy. She spent all her money taking a taxi downtown to the bus station where she is now stuck with a bunch of unstable people and wants Chris to come and get her. Two very different situations and Noah comes across as the worst baby-sitter in this situation because he doesn't even hesitate about going - he just grabs the kids and off they go on their adventure. Even though Chris's situation is more dire ( your best friend who is in serious trouble or score drugs for a girl who treats you like contest!), she has hesitations about going and tells Brad to watch Sarah while she's gone but they tell her if they do that they'll tell her parents so she's forced to take them with her along with Darryl who happens to stop by at that time.

Both head out with the kids and their evenings turn into complete nightmares. Let's see if I can remember all the mishap they get into: Noah has to make a stop at a department store to get new underwear and pants for Blithe after she has an accident (why they didn't just go back home, I don't know) and one of the workers and customers, who also happens to be an old classmate from high school, find it suspicious that a grown man is hanging out around little girls' underwear and when the worker asks Blithe if she knows him, she replies with, "I only just met him" and there's a conversation that puts him in a bad light. When they return to the car, they find out that Rodrigo has ran away, but with a tracking device, Noah finds him at a fancy restaurant where he's planted a cherry bomb in the bathroom and a toilet explodes. He manages to get drugs and while he's there, Rodrigo comes in saying he has to use the bathroom. When Noah leaves, he notices that Rodrigo has a huge egg-shaped item that he said he took. Noah tries to grab it from him, it breaks and cocaine spills all over him and the car. The druglord finds him and tells him he owns him 10 grand. Noah gets an idea to go to a bar mitzvah for twin girls in Slater's class who have invited him. They'll attend the party and he'll steal all the checks people have written for the twins. While he's there, he meets a girl working as a waitress who used to go to high school with him and it turns out she likes him and had a crush on him back then (and she is much prettier than his current "girlfriend"...hmm, dude...get a clue!). More shenanigans transpire including a huge fight, Noah breaking into his father's jewelry store to steal diamonds, getting arrested, stealing a car, getting held by gunpoint...I don't think those are in chronological order, but you get the idea!

I remember the events of Adventures because I've seen that movie many more times (as opposed to the one time I watched The Sitter). Their car breaks down and a tow truck stops and offers to take them to a garage. I would not have gotten in the car with that guy...he was creepy, and not just because he had a hook for a hand. No, it was the way he kept laughing manically. They never make it to the garage because the truck driver gets in a gun fight with some guy and Chris and the kids make a run for it and end up in a stolen car that is driven to a huge warehouse where they are taken upstairs to a room to be dealt with later. They manage to escape by crossing a beam across the ceiling and climbing out a broken window. Of course nobody happens to look up except for the one "good" car thief. The bad guys discover the kids are gone and start chasing them. The kids end up in a blues bar where nobody is allowed to leave until they sing the blues - that place looked pretty crowded too; it must take a long time for all those people to sing the blues and leave. Anyway, that's one of the most memorable scenes of the movies but while watching it this time, it made me wonder why all these people were laughing and cheering about this seventeen year old singing about how her best friend is probably dead and her car broke down and there's these bad guys after them...I mean, you think one of these people would think, "Hmm, these young kids are in heaps of trobule - maybe I should contact the authorities?" Uh, no! They end up on a subway while running away from the bad guys, again, and discover they are sitting in a car between two gangs who are about to kill each other. Chris tries to stop them, but one of the guys calls her a bitch and Brad gets mad and tries to stand up for her resulting in a knife being thrown in his foot. This scene gives us the best line of the movie when Chris says, "Don't **** with the baby-sitter!" You would never hear one of the girls from the BSC say that! They take Brad to the hospital, they find themselves at a college party where Chris meets a nice guy who hits on her and lends her the money, they get their car back from a Thor look-a-like, and everything seems to be going well and they can finally pick up Brenda until they pass the French restaurant where Chris was suppose to have dinner with Mike and sees that Mike's car is parked out front so he obviously went there without her...what a jerk!

She goes in there to confront him where she finds him having dinner with another girl who has a piggish face. The same thing happens in the other movie when Slater is at the baz mitzvah and sees his best friend there with another friend who had previously told him that he couldn't hang out because he was sick and it turned out he just didn't want to hang out with Slater...what a jerk! Back to Adventures where Darryl kicks Mike into another table and they leave all happy that they taught that jerk a lesson. But, oh no! Sarah is missing! Thinking that she went to a toy store nearby, they run over and check, but she's not there. Brad notices the building his dad works in and where he and the Misses is tonight. The building is nowhere near their location and they decide to run there, not go back to their car and drive there like any normal person would do. What idiots! So they get to the building and there's evidence that Sarah is there too. She's being chased by two bad guys and she goes all the way to the top floor and when she sees one of them has followed her, she decides to climb out of a broken window with a rope. I think this little girl had a suicidal wish: when she was in the truck and there were bullets flying past her, she was laughing and clapping her hands and when she was in the subway and the two gangs took out their pocket knifes, her eyes lit up. And now she's climbing out of a fifty-story building. The best part is when she's right outside these huge windows where the party her parents are at is being held (just two stories below where she climbed out) and even though the party is full of people, NOBODY notices her except for the other bad guy and Chris who has disguised herself with a large fur coat. Yeah, right! I call shenanigans!

Both movies end similarly. Once everything is situated, both Noah and Chris have to race back to their charges' homes before the parents arrive back. They both do this and tidy up the home with just minutes to spare. The only slight difference is in The Sitter where all three kids are watching TV with Noah when the parents get back at one in the morning, where in Adventures, Chris had the common sense to tell them all to get upstairs to bed. When Chris leaves, she runs into the guy she met at the frat party and they kiss with the kids looking out the window. And when Noah is leaving he runs into the girl he met at the bar mitzvah (there was a whole other storyline involving her) and kisses her while the kids are watching from the window, it was a shoutout!

I would say The Sitter is slightly (only slightly) a little more realistic than Adventures in Baby-Sitting, but I have to say Adventures is the better movie. Yes, I've seen it many times and I love it, so I may be a little biased!

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