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Best Cinematic Little Siblings (Just Be Glad They’re Not Yours)

Best Cinematic Little Siblings (Just Be Glad They’re Not Yours)

Articles - Acting

In David Gordon Green’s The Sitter, out in theaters today, Noah Griffith (Jonah Hill) finds that buying cocaine for his girlfriend’s party is made exponentially more difficult when he’s babysitting three children—wannabe celebutante Blithe, socially awkward Slater and explosion-loving foster child Rodrigo—at the same time. While it’s possible for children in movies to be portrayed as adorable and innocent, it’s usually more dramatic—and funnier—for them to be inveterate troublemakers. And, as any older sibling knows, no one causes more trouble than a little brother or sister. With that in mind, MM presents our list of five great movie little siblings. “Great” is subjective, of course—while they’re fun to watch from the comfort of your couch, be glad that these little siblings aren’t a member of your family.

Mikey (Sean Astin) from The Goonies (1985)
directed by Richard Donner

Mikey may be younger than brother Brand (Josh Brolin). He may be asthmatic, kind of dorky and prone to giving cheesy inspirational speeches (“Because it’s their time. Their time! Up there! Down here, it’s our time. It’s our time down here!”). But in the world of The Goonies, where kids armed with only a sense of childlike innocence can defeat armed robbers and real estate tycoons, Mikey is undeniably the star. With the help of his friends, he ties Brand to a chair with his own exercise equipment, lets the air out of his bike (forcing him to ride a pink girl’s bike, leading to his humiliation in front of the girl he likes), leads him by the nose through a dangerous underground cavern and almost gets him killed. And, to pour salt on the wound, Mikey ends up kissing Brand’s girlfriend before Brand does. It’s a good thing for Mikey that his older brother is so well-adjusted, otherwise he’d have been locked in his room and noogie’d half to death long before meeting the Fratellis.

Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
directed by John Hughes

As with The Goonies, the fact that sister Jeannie (Jennifer Grey) has a few years on Ferris doesn’t mean the younger brother doesn’t get the run of the Bueller household. Ferris uses his wit, audacity and disregard for rules to run rings around everyone, from his parents to the school principal to his best friend Cameron (Alan Ruck). When Ferris wants to ditch school, steal someone else’s reservation at a fancy restaurant or indulge in an little impromptu singing on a parade float, well, he just does it. What’s worse, he seems to suffer no negative consequences for anything he does—even though wrecking your best friend’s father’s Ferrari is probably a pretty good reason to be grounded for at least a few weeks. With his devil-may-care attitude and his longstanding rivalry with the dim-witted Principal Rooney (Jeffrey Jones), Ferris is the epitome of teenage cool—but honestly, if you had a him as a little brother, wouldn’t you hate him just as much as Jeannie does?

Sara (Maia Brewton) from Adventures in Babysitting (1987)
directed by Chris Columbus

While other children her age are obsessed with Barbie dolls and playing dress-up, pre-teen hellion Sara Anderson has a different idol: Thor. While she still plays dress-up, instead of donning high heels and Mom’s makeup, her outfit of choice is a plastic winged helmet and a superhero cape. Sara’s adventurous spirit serves her well as she’s led around the seedy Chicago underworld by her babysitter (Elisabeth Shue), whose impromptu trip to rescue her friend from a bus station leaves her—and the three kids she watching—tangling with car thieves, mob bosses and gangs. While Sara’s childlike innocence is cute when it makes her believe a surly mechanic (Vincent D’Onofrio) is Thor in disguise (long, blonde locks + carries a hammer = God of Thunder), maybe her older brother Brad (Keith Coogan) should’ve pulled her aside at some point and told her that it’s not actually possible to fly. Then, when Sara found herself chased around an office building by the leader of a ring of car thieves, she might have done the smart thing and yelled blue murder for an adult, instead of attempting to scale down the side of a skyscraper. Had it not been for her last-minute rescue, it’s a pretty sure thing that those plastic wings on her helmet wouldn’t have stopped her plummeting 44 floors to her death.

Sam (Corey Haim) from The Lost Boys (1987)
directed by Joel Schumacher

As the younger brother of Michael (Jason Patric), a teenager who gets turned into a vampire (well, a half-vampire) after he falls in with a crowd of be-mulleted bikers, Sam handles his introduction to the world of the supernatural as any true younger brother would: Obnoxiously. From his initial reaction to discovering Michael’s undead state (“You wait ’til mom finds out, buddy!”) to his ill-timed interjections during an emotional conversation between Michael and fellow half-vamp Star (“You drank someone’s blood? Are you crazy?!”), one thing that Sam can never be accused of is having dignity under pressure. (Though his… er… unique ’80s wardrobe doesn’t help with the whole “dignity” thing, either.) But maybe it’s not Sam’s fault—being around all those mullets could melt anyone’s brain.

Phoebe (Ashley Bank) from The Monster Squad (1987)
directed by Fred Dekker

She might not have reached double digits yet, but when it comes to dealing with monsters, Phoebe knows her stuff. The younger sister of Monster Squad leader Sean (Andre Gower), not only does she befriend Frankenstein, who later becomes a powerful ally, she then gets Sean and his friends—whose reaction to seeing the monster was to shriek and run away—to accept him as a Monster Squad member with a memorable admonition: “It’s OK you guys, he’s friends with us! C’mon, don’t be chickensh*t!” When a five year old tells you to man up, you’d better do it. As if the pigtailed, dress-wearing Phoebe weren’t badass enough, it’s she who throws Dracula and the other monsters back into Limbo by reciting a German incantation that will only work if it’s read by a virgin. Her pronunciation wasn’t even that bad, considering she was probably missing a few baby teeth.

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