The Sitter is out this week, reinforcing a lesson that Hollywood has long been trying to teach us: looking after kids is slightly more dangerous than juggling primed grenades. It’s a wonder any movie-goer babysits at all, with the following examples proving that children will, when they feel like it, disappear into the ether, electrocute you and/or erupt into balls of fire. So this one’s for all you nannies out there – you are brave, brave people, and we salute you.
*Babysitters: Carrie (Bret Parker)
**Babysat:* Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile)
*Thing we learnt:* **Children are not only figuratively volatile, but also can literally burst into flame.
Adorably bequiffed infant Jack-Jack – full name “Jack Johnson Parr” – may look like a delightful bundle of joy you genuinely wouldn’t mind looking after of an evening, but you’d be wrong. Just ask poor Kari, who over the course of The Incredibles and Jack-Jack Attack has to deal with his impromptu levitation, ability to glide through walls, love of climbing across the ceiling and occasional full-body ignition. Oh, and his laser eyes. Defending herself with a handheld mirror, oven gloves and a fire extinguisher, Carrie is the cinematic definition of a resourceful babysitter. Still, we suspect she’ll be vetting her clients more carefully from now on…
Babysitters:** Nick Persons (Ice Cube)
*Babysat:* Suzanne and Kevin Kingston (Aleisha Allen and Philip Bolden)
*Thing we learnt:* If the kids are THIS evil, do not date their mother.
In defence of the poor lad, Kevin is definitely led astray by his big sister in this so-called family comedy. But with Suzanne being such a manipulative, malevolent little brat, just doing as he’s told results in the two kids contriving to have a one-time Boyz N The Hood star beaten up by an angry deer and see a giant wooden axe land between Ice Cube’s, ahem, ice cubes. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg, no pun intended. The whole movie is a catalogue of unforgiveable dick moves from Kevin and Suzanne, notably getting Ice arrested by airport security and totalling his brand-new and much-prized car. All this because they haven’t liked any of the other guys who’ve dated their mum before. By the end, Nick may have won them over, but why he still wants to be anywhere near them is a mystery: there’s no redemption here.
Babysitter:** Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver)
*Babysat: Rebecca “Newt” Jorden (Carrie Henn) Thing we learnt:* You can survive for quite a long time on junk food.
Newt’s a sweet kid. She’s also a practical girl, telling Ripley that having soldiers on LV-426 “...won't make any difference” and informing Hicks and the squad that the xenomorphs “mostly come at night... mostly.” She is forever getting herself into scrapes, however, scampering down ventilation shafts and being captured by ginormous Alien queens. If that hadn’t happened, Ripley and company could safely have taken off and nuked the entire facility from orbit – it’s the only way to be sure – and Bishop wouldn’t have ended up a gone-off milky mess leaking all over the hanger bay floor. Sheesh – even when kids get past the puking stage they still leave a mess everywhere.
Babysitter: Sarah (Jennifer Connelly)
Babysat: Toby (Toby Froud)
Thing we learnt:** **Some goblins are surprisingly tall, well-groomed, well-endowed.
Poor Sarah. One flippant remark about wanting her half-brother to go away and suddenly Toby’s evaporated and David Bowie’s waving a crystal ball in her face. The little ‘un vanishing would be bad enough, but then having to run through an elaborate, goblin-infested, trap-laden maze to save him? What a drag, man. Still, at least she gets to dress up nice and dance with one of pop music’s most influential and best-dressed superstars, which is better than most babysitting gigs.
*Babysitter: Jill Johnson (Carol Kane)
**Babysat: Not known Thing we learnt:* Psychopathic serial killers have a thing for child carers.
It was meant to be a simple babysitting job. Kids are already in bed: all you have to do is sit on the couch, empty the fridge and answer the phone. You’re house-sitting, basically. Except that the phone keeps on ringing, and the stranger calling keeps saying really creepy stuff, like “Have you checked on the children…?” creepy. Eventually, in a delightfully 1976 twist, the police tell babysitter Jill that the phonecall is coming from inside the very same house, upstairs on the second line. Cue Jill running out screaming, thanking her very lucky stars mobile phones don’t exist yet – until the 2006 remake, when they do.
*Babysitter: Maria (Julie Andrews)
**Babysat: Liesl von Trapp (Charmian Carr), Friedrich von Trapp (Nicholas Hammond), Louisa von Trapp (Heather Menzies), Kurt von Trapp (Duane Chase), Brigitta von Trapp (Angela Cartwright), Marta von Trapp (Debbie Turner) Gretl von Trapp (Kym Karath). Thing we learnt:* The Nazis will even chase little children round a nunnery.
Not many would deal with difficult children by dressing them in curtains and teaching them close-harmony singing – but it seems to work for this particular babysitter. Of course, by the time the Nazis turn up and danger rears its head, Maria has become Maria von Trapp, and as stepmother to Georg’s seven little ones she isn’t really their singing babysitter anymore. Still, there be Nazis – and babysitting adversaries don’t get any tougher than them. Fortunately, thanks to those singing skills and an assist from some plucky, car-savvy nuns, the Von Trapps’ escape is assured. How’s that for some Deus Ex Machina, eh Mr. Hitler?
Babysitter: Chris Parker (Elisabeth Shue)
Babysat: Brad and Sara Anderson (Keith Coogan and Maia Brewton), Daryl Coopersmith (Anthony Rapp)
Thing we learnt:** **The 1987 Buick Electra Estate Wagon is highly susceptible to flat tyres. Allegedly.
Chris Columbus’ directorial debut gives us a world where Elisabeth Shue gets stood up on a date. No wonder he went on to land the Harry Potter job: clearly a career in fantasy beckoned. Still, if you can swallow that, you can probably swallow the rest of the movie’s absurd hijinks – all of which arise from the fact her car gets a flat tyre on the freeway while she’s driving into town to confront her no-show boyfriend, with her charges in tow. Thanks to that, she ends abseiling down an office block, meeting Marvel superhero Thor, and getting chased by some Playboy-reading badguys. Eventually all the kids involved get home safe, saying it was “the best night of their lives” – and despite all this, she still doesn’t get a tip.
Babysitter: Sean Armstrong (Hulk Hogan)
Babysat: Kate and Alex Jr. Mason (Madeline Zima and Robert Hy Gorman).
T**hing we learnt:** Hulk Hogan should have fired his agent.
Just some of the humiliating things that occur to Hulk Hogan in Mr. Nanny: the old flour on the head trick, the old bucket of water on the door trick, the old rollerskate on the stairs trick, being electrocuted, being choked by a magnetized dumbbell, kissing a toy doll, drinking from a tiny plastic tea cup (with his pinkie out), wearing a tutu, pirouetting whilst wearing a tutu, being sent out of class, headbutting an open cupboard door, being in Mr. Nanny – arguably the most embarrassing experience of the lot.