Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Baby-Sitters Club Movie

Memory Reaction
I didn’t see this movie until it was out on video, because at 14, I was too embarrassed to see it in the theaters. Maybe if I could have driven and gone by myself without telling anyone I would have done it, but I was just a bit too young for that. I think I did see it right after it came to video though.
But anyway, I have this really vivid memory of a joke in the trailer for the movie. Mallory and Jessi have an exchange about how they’ll have enough money to buy a car, and end it with “And in five years we can drive it.” That really stands out to me. I also remember a scene in the movie where Mary Anne kisses Logan while he’s lying down on a bench or something, and thinking it was super-risqué, even though I think it was just a peck. I was kinda naive back then.
I thought it was such a big deal that the movie was going the route of bringing back Kristy’s dad though (I somehow knew this ahead of time), because him leaving is such a big part of her backstory and the books never even touched on him returning, at least not at that point. I did think it was weird her dad never mentioned his three other children and that it was out of character for Kristy to keep it a secret.
I also remember reading a review that talked about how one of the adults in the film was played by someone really famous, and I had no idea who it was.  This was EllenBurnstyn. I wouldn’t have recognized her now if I didn’t look that up. Hair color makes a big difference.
Oh, and I was really glad that Larisa Oleynik was playing Dawn because I loved The Secret World of Alex Mack.  So much I apparently didn’t mind that she really doesn’t look very much like Dawn was supposed to. I think she’d have been a better Stacey.
Revisited Reaction
Kristy has an idea to run a BSC day camp in Dawn and Mary Anne’s yard, because then they’ll all be able to be together every day of the summer, instead of having to sit at separate houses. Also, they want to make money. All’s seemingly going well, but Dawn and Mary Anne’s new neighbor, Mrs. Haberman, gets really annoyed at all the noise and chaos the day camp brings and keeps threatening to get them shut down. Eventually, Dawn bonds with her a little and gets her to soften.
The girls plan to use the money to find a real “office” for the club to do business in. They find an old greenhouse they think they can use. It’s owned by the town, and they’re told they can use it if they clean up the place and get it approved by some civic committee. So they spend a lot of time working on that.
Meanwhile, Kristy’s father, Patrick, shows up and is just waiting for her on the street when she gets home one day. He claims to miss her and asks her to spend time with him, but says she can’t tell anyone, especially her mom.  Because he’s an awful person. For the next few weeks Kristy starts sneaking off to meet him, even leaving camp early and blowing off other plans (helping Jackie Rodowski learn to hit, helping Claudia study, etc). She even forgets that she’s supposed to bring David Michael home from camp one day.  The rest of the BSC, Kristy’s mom, and Watson are all pissed at her for sneaking around.  Mary Anne was with Kristy when she first saw Patrick so she knows what’s going, but Kirsty made her promise not to tell anyone. Since Mary Anne doesn’t, the rest of the club (especially Dawn) are pissed at her too. It’s kinda immature, but typical for 13-year-old girls.
On Kristy’s birthday, Patrick’s supposed to take her to an amusement park before dropping her off for the party the BSC’s throwing her. He never picks her up and when Kristy calls his hotel she finds out he checked out without telling her. Again, because he’s an awful person. She goes to the amusement park hoping he’ll be there, but he’s not. It starts to rain and Kristy’s stuck out there. The BSC realizes something’s wrong, and Mary Anne tells them the truth. They manage to go and pick her up at the park and have a nice bonding session. Then Kristy tells her mom about Patrick, and she’s appropriately annoyed.  Kristy’s dad sends her a few letters with lame sounding apologies, and she voice overs about how this is progress because she only has to wait a few days to get his letters, instead of years. She doesn’t sound as sarcastic as I think she should be with that comment.
The girls do get approval on the greenhouse cleanup, but are told they can’t use it because they’re a business and not a non-profit club. Neighbor lady’s on the committee, and when Stacey admits they only profited $168, she says they should let the BSC use the place. But then the BSC decides they don’t really want to leave Claud’s room and give the greenhouse to neighbor lady to use with her garden club.
  • Claudia flunked science and has to go to summer school. If she doesn’t pass her final exam her parents will make her quit the club. I guess the script writer didn’t have the energy to give her an original storyline and just stole from the books. Kristy feels bad she hasn’t been helping as much as she said she would, so she makes up a stupid song to teach Claud about the human body. She performs it along with the whole camp, which apparently works because Claudia gets a B- on the test.
  • Stacey starts dating Rosie Wilder’s cousin, who’s in town for the summer from Switzerland. He’s 17 and thinks Stacey’s 16.  Then they try and go to a teen club in NYC and Stacey’s real age comes out. He’s horrified and Stacey’s embarrassed. Then suddenly he’s showing up at her house playing a harmonica to woo her back and Stacey doesn’t want to talk to him? It’s weird. But she calls him when they need a ride to find Kristy and he tells her how he wants to see her when he comes back next summer. When he’ll be 18 and the age difference is an even bigger deal.
  • Cokie Mason tries to hit on Logan and when Mary Anne puts a stop to it, spends the whole summer spying on the BSC and trying to sabotage their camp and greenhouse cleanup. But she and her minions ultimately fail, obviously. Mary Anne does stay mad at Logan for ages because he didn’t immediately turn Cokie down, but they make up.
  • Alan Gray spends the whole summer hitting on Dawn, who seems to think he’s just trying to annoy her. Eventually he tells her he seriously wants to go out, and she says yes.
  • Mallory mentions she’s writing a novel a dozen times, but gets no real subplot. Jessi doesn’t even get a running gag like that. Poor junior members.
  • There’s this cute thing in the opening credits where we see pages of the club record book and hear clips of clients leaving messages with weird sitting requests. But they all seem out of character. The Rodowskis want someone to dog sit and the Wilders want someone to dress up as a clown for a birthday party?  I don’t believe either client would do that. Also, record book page we see says June while we hear a voicemail saying it’s August.  
  • Kristy wears a Krushers shirt at the beginning that looks totally wrong. It’s white with red sleeves, and has the word “Krushers” written in blue script.  Very inaccurate.  But later Kristy’s birthday cake’s decorated with a red and white baseball hat, which does fit with the books, or at least Kristy’s shirt having red letters.
  • We see Stacey catching a cab in downtown Stoneybrook to get to the BSC meeting. And later Kristy takes a cab to the amusement park. These girls never took cabs in Stoneybrook. I would expect a small town like that wouldn’t even have them, unless you called specifically for service to an airport or something.
  • Also, if there are cabs, why can’t Kristy take one when stuck at the amusement park?
  • It annoys me that we see a BSC meeting, and Kristy just puts her hand over the phone mouthpiece while they decide who’s going to sit.
  • It seems weird that they’d make Luca a cousin of Rosie Wilder, who was such a minor client in the books.  But since they did pick her, they should have used the right description. She was a redhead in the books right?
  • The kids they sit for seem so much younger than they did in the TV series. The kid playing David Michael looks about four. But maybe I haven’t been around enough seven-year-olds to know what they look like?
  • Also, except for Jackie, the kids don’t really get personalities. And even Jackie’s is pretty weak.
  • The actors as the main girls all look much younger than the actors in the TV series, but they do look age-appropriate to me. They were just too old in the show.
  • Kristy’s wardrobe’s really off. Her dad gives her a dress so she wears it every time she goes to see him. She usually changes beforehand so no one will see the odd choice, but they do notice. It’s got plaid in it and she keeps wearing it over stripes like she’s Claudia and can do things like that. She also wears lots of stripes and overalls, which do not fit with what’s in the books.
  • When Kristy has the idea to have a camp, the other girls act like Kristy’s always having crazy ideas and are surprised the camp’s a good idea.  But they never thought she had bad ideas in the books, they thought they were legitimately good ideas. 
  • They also had a bunch of different camps in the books, so this isn’t really a new idea.
  • Kristy’s mom seems pretty disinterested in doing anything with her on her birthday.
  • Dawn’s mom doesn’t want the little kids going into her house, so they rent port-a-potties.  Port-a-potties? 13-year-olds can rent port-a-potties? WTF? I mean, I guess it’s nice the mention the need for bathrooms at all. But I think I’d rather kids use my bathroom than have gross smelling port-a-potties in my yard.
  • I’m trying to figure out how the BSC can charge $250 a kid for their camp, have what looks like over 20 kids and only profit $168.
  • We see Kristy riding horses with Jackie.  Mary Anne, Logan, and Cokie and her minions are also at the stables with them.  It’s really random. I know there was that Mallory horse book, but the other girls never rode.  Maybe they just wanted a different backdrop, but it just seems like such a weird choice for normal kids to be riding horses.
  • They show a lot of BSC fliers, but none of them have the club name written in blocks.  That was on the cover of every book, how much work would it have been for the prop people to get that right?
  • It’s so weird when people on TV/Movies all sit on just three side of the table so that the camera can show them all at once.
  • Mary Anne’s played by Rachel Leigh Cook and I looking back I thought she was already famous then. But according to IMDB it’s her first role. So, I guess when she became more famous I just remembered her from this?
  • In a nice moment of book continuity, we hear about Pizza Express and that Kirsty likes anchovies. Although, I think the anchovy thing’s only consistent with some books, there was one where she didn’t like them.
  • There’s a thing early on where Watson can’t find Karen or Andrew and Kristy makes a joke about it saying “it’s Coronel Mustard in the library with the wrench,” before opening the door to the closet where they’re hiding.  Then later we see Kristy and Mary Anne playing Clue and a close up on those exact pieces being in the library on the game board.  That seems like a weird thing to make an effort to include.
  • Alan’s portrayed very differently in the movie than the books.  They have him being more of a geek here.  He even wears a bow tie. He’s supposed to be obnoxious, not geeky.
  • Stacey goes on a date with Luca where they go on a hike.  Her mom’s all worried about her not eating and Stacey lies and says she brought something with her, then almost passes out. I thought this was out of character because in the books Stacey (almost) always did take care of her diabetes, but her parents still worried obsessively.  Here her mom had good reason to nag her.
  • Cokie Mason was played by Marla Sokoloff, who at the time I knew from guest starring on Full House and Party of Five.  I remember a (more recent) interview with the actress where she joked about being the bad girl that corrupted all the “good girls” on TV in the 90s. 
  • The girl who plays one of Cokie’s minions is a red head and I thought I was remembering her from this old show Hang Time. But it turns out I must be remembering her from Alex Mack and Boy Meets World. I loved that Hang Time show though.
  • Alan Gray offers to help at the camp for free, because he likes Dawn. And Kristy just lets him.  Kristy would never let Alan help at the camp unless there were really extenuating circumstances. And even then she’d put up a fight about it.
  • At one point Mary Anne points out that Kristy’s “almost 13.”  So is she supposed to be 12? Because then there should only be five girls in the club. They should have just said she was 13 and ignored that her birthday was approaching in that scene.
  • Logan was played by Austin O’Brian from My Girl 2. I remember liking him, although now I can’t remember why.
  • Kristy and Mary Anne are looking at old pictures, and Mary Anne says that her mom looks like Jo from Little Women. How can you look like a book character? I’m assuming most editions of Little Women aren’t illustrated.  And if she’s talking about what would have been the most recent movie wouldn’t she have said Winona Rider?
  • Kristy makes a sandwich and the Jiff peanut butter she’s using looks exactly like the jar I have in my kitchen right now. 
  • Kristy shows up late for a meeting, and the girls say they’ve been waiting for over 30 minutes and should start it themselves. But if Kristy’s 30 minutes late for a meeting, isn’t it over? That’s such a dumb mistake. Did the writer read chapter two of even one book?
  • Nina Marshall has an imaginary friend named Jimmy Tony. That sounds really familiar. Was it in the books?
  • Claudia and Stacey go to NYC, where they’re going to have a night out with Luca. We hear that Mr. McGill questions Luca about where he’s taking Stacey, so you’d think he would have realized Luca’s 17 and that they’re going to a 16 and over club.
  • You’d also think that Mr. or Mrs. Wilder would tell Luca how old Stacey is.
  • I find Patrick showing up, only contacting Kristy, and being pretty physically affectionate with her kind of creepy.
  • Patrick says he needs a job before telling Elizabeth he’s in town, so that she doesn’t think he’s a loser.  Because being employed will make a woman forget her husband walking out on her and her 4 children.
So, seeing as how this is pretty much the last BSC item I had left to write up, I think this will be my last post for awhile.  I know they're have been some requests to recap the Little Sister books, but I just don't have the energy/desire to take that on at this time, and it wouldn't be nearly as much enjoyable since I only ever read a few of them.  If I ever change my mind I will start posting them here. 
Thanks for everyone who stuck around and kept reading. I've had lots of fun and really appreciate you reliving my childhood with me.