Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Babysitters

We just finished a film called The Babysitters.

It starred John Leguizamo, Cynthia Nixon and a host of other familiar faces but no name actors.


The opening sequence lays out where this film is going in case the movie poster above or the trailer below left you confused.  Literally an orgy of middle aged men and young teenage girls.  It then clips to an eariler time frame with the leading lady doing the voice over.

Voice Over:
I'm a junior at Alfred E. Groves high school. 
This is my babysitting service. 
The answer is no: mom doesn't drink, dad didn't hit me, 
Uncle Steve never showed me his privates. 
I don't even have an Uncle Steve. 
The money is nice, 
and paid fellatio isn't that much more humiliating than flipping burgers. 
But that's not why I do it.

Katherine Waterson plays a high schooler who baby sits for Nixon and Leguizamo.  She's stricken with OCD that's manifested in neatfreakism and an overwhelming need to have things and people in their place.  She's the perfect student and is facing the S.A.T.'s in the near future.  Sex Ed classes and their STD imagery are peppered throughout the movie in nearly perfect timing to draw your mind back to the gritty reality that is sex.

It is obvious from the start she has a crush on the father, played by Leguizamo.  After her first babysitting gig of the film he takes her out to get something to eat before going home.  Later that evening he kisses her.  Embarrassed, he apologizes when he brings her home.  He gives her $200.

The first revelation was centered on the kiss, not the money.  This girl just had her teenage crush fantasy come true.

The next time she babysits for Nixon and Leguizamo, she and the father go all the way.  This earns her another $200 and less embarrassment but a new revelation comes upon her.  This is a lot of freaking money.  College isn't cheap.  Let's do this!

Things quickly went from her loss of virginity to needing another babysitter for Leguizamo's buddy.  After a successful evening for both, she tells her friend she should get some of the money, like 20%.  And bam! She's a madam.  Or a pimp, but I don't think pimps sleep with any one and it's entirely possible that madams do, so yeah, madam.

The OCD nature kicks in and she becomes an expert at organizing the babysitting schedule.  But eventually they run into a situation where they need another girl to cover. 

All the while a boy in class has been crushing on her.  Whether it was because she was preoccupied with the idea of an older man or just preoccupied with an older man, this boy and her never quite work out.

That boy's sister eventually gets thrown in to the situation without warning.  Babysitting that is.  She decides to go for it as a sweaty nervous guy is thrusting himself upon her.  The next day the madam makes sure she's ok and demands her cut.  She's then added to the roster.

The whole movie Nixon's character keeps eluding to former addiction problems.  This combined with her insecurity about the possibility her husband cheating on her leads to lots of home stress and fighting.  Eventually that stress leads to a fight between Leguizamo and Waterson.and the price goes up.

This is where things get sticky and the plot starts to get dry for me, but funny and soap opera-y.  The third girl gives a sitting job one evening to her step sister.  This does not bode well for any one involved.  The wicked step sister is a skanky whore who doesn't want to pay the pimp.

New whore starts her own service and the original babysitters loose all of their business.  As the new whores flaunt their riches, Waterson gets pissed and tries to get proof of the competition.  This necessitates a cover up in the form of massive school vandalism.

Now all the whores are threatened by Madam Waterson sets the rules for all to play by.  Business is back all is good.

They decide to step it up a notch and hold a "business retreat" at a cabin and have essentially a huge orgy.  This goes awry when pills are popped and the third whore (sister of loser boy from earlier) looses her shit. 

Everything spirals out of control.  Whore number two (the best friend) has loser boy brother beaten up to try to keep sister quiet as step sister rules the roost.  A fight between Leguizamo and his wife leads to his kids being home alone and him abandoning Waterson when they nearly get busted by a cop.  As she reaches out for help to whore number three she finds out step sister is out on her own again. 

This is where reality comes crashing down.  Best friend whore and her regular John are gettin' freaky when Waterson calls for help showing step sister who is boss.  The John is pissed but assists in beating the crap out of the John step sister is with.  That John turns out to be....wait for it......Waterson's dad!  I know, GASP!

The end is extremely melancholy.  Everyone's lives fall back into place. 

Waterson remarks  
Guess it was just one of those moments, a unique detail in an otherwise ordinary life. 

Critics and audiences hated it.  In truth, I really did like this movie.  It was provocative without being Skinamax material.  It made me question the environment my kids will grow up in.  No I'm not worried about my daughter becoming a whore.  Basically, grades aren't everything.  Her father was very detached from the goings on in his child's life. Just because your child seems to be doing good in school or have a spotless room; it doesn't mean they are the perfect child.  They are getting smarter.  Even though most would think dumber...they just are quicker than we used to be and are being taught by folks who are not as quick.  That combo makes for bored children who find apathy easier than drive. 

I'm not sure how deep this movie was really trying to go.  Frankly it didn't matter.  The story was compeling.  It made me take pause and evaluate how importance family interaction and communication really is.  I don't know what the right solution is.  Pushing studies and the importance of education is one of the biggest challenges we'll have in a world conquered by the Internet, video games, cell phones and TV.  I want to encourage my kids to become active and stimulated by making and doing things that better communities or even the world.  The idea that I'm going to have to combat sex (not on the Brothel level) as well is daunting.  How are we supposed to make these kids into successful adults?

I used to joke (WELL before I had kids) that successful fathers are those who keep their daughters off the poles and keep the needles out of their arms.  I think that sums up this movie.  There is more to success as a parent than chaste children, but it didn't deliver much more of a message than that.  Pick your battles, because the war is in the near future I guess.

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