Growing up, I had a few models for my bookwormy tendencies. One major icon was one Miss Vada Sultenfuss. She was the heroine of 'My Girl', played by Anna Chlumsky, who was on 'Watch What Happens' last night with Andy Cohen, making me feel equal parts old and like a child as I realized how long ago that movie was for both of us. Congratulations to her, by the way, she just announced that she's pregnant. See what I mean? I'm so old, the child stars of my childhood are having kids.
While I think everyone knows and loves the original, it's the sequel that came out a few years later that is truly a formative part of my childhood. Partly because the first, well, it's a little sad. And for repeated watchability, it's a heck of a lot easier to watch Vada develop a romance with a boy who ends up being her cousin (through marriage! not blood!) than it is to watch her lose her best friend to a swarm of bees.
Vada's love of words is present in the first film, driven partly by a crush on her teacher. In the second, she's still infatuated with books, but she's definitely not crushing on poet Alfred Beidermeyer. Here are just a few choice quotes that I hope show you why I love this movie so much, despite it being a typical sequel that everyone agrees isn't as good as the first:
Alfred Beidermeyer: My dear, this is not a country that rewards poetry, this is a country that rewards gas mileage, besides, people don't read poetry anymore, they watch television. Don't be a poet, be a TV repairman.
Vada: I love the fragrance of vintage books.
Nick: I love the fragrance of chili dogs.
Vada: How come guys talk so much when they have nothing to say, and girls have plenty to say, but no-one will listen?
Phil: We may go out for coffee after the meeting so don't expect us before midnight.
Rose: There's plenty of fruit.Am I the only person who knows this movie frame by frame? Who thinks that the definitive version of 'Smile' is the one sung by Vada's mom in the home movies? Who loves the fragrance of both vintage books and chili dogs?
Phil: You know where the fire extinguisher is.
Nick: If the fruit burst into flames I'll be prepared.