Anne T. Donahue
May 04, 2013 8:00 am

Listen. There’s something you guys just need to know: I will always come back to you. I write this with the guilt of having missed two out of the last four weeks, but what you must 100% be aware of is that like Rose, I will never let go, and I will always return, and we will always share these movie nights. In fact, I am saying this with the type of conviction reserved only for holding someone’s hand and looking them right in the eye because damn it, what we have is special.

Which is why we’re going to watch something equally so. It’s warm now, dreams of summer camp are dancing in our heads (not mine actually because I never went), and we can bask in the soft glow of nostalgia as dogs bark outside my house and 1900 children scream at the top of their lungs about stickball or whatever it is they’re playing. So an appropriate movie beckons. Enter: The Parent Trap, and the fact that this column began because I already wrote about it.

Long ago, that is. Before Old Lady Movie Night, and before I truly understood the weight of judging a fil-im by its content. I wrote in point form about it on my own blog, and that blog birthed what we have today. It was different, it was shorter, it was broken down in a one-sentence-like structure-thing, and I have been dying to write about that movie ever since. Young Lilo, you guys. Young Dennis Quaid. Perfect Natasha Richardson.

So let’s begin. Let’s learn the secret handshake, and let’s live vicariously through everyone’s wardrobe, and let’s not dwell too much on the fact that I bought the soundtrack when I was 13 because I believed I could be as cool as Hailey** and Annie. Like that song “Never Let You Go” would do that*.

*It did. Or at least that’s what I tell myself every day when I listen to it. Lowenstein. Lowenstein. (My name is Zweig.)

**I know it’s Haley. But I learned that way too late, so just pretend that’s what I’ve written because you guys, I made a mistake.

1. First and foremost, are you kidding me these parents didn’t tell their TWIN GIRLS about each other?

Because honestly? That is messed up. That is seriously the stuff that post-traumatic dreams are made of. And okay WE GET IT. You had a whirlwind relationship and hated each other because you fought over something like a hairdryer being thrown, but instead of saying, “Okay, we had kids, and now we must be adults” THEY LIE BY OMISSION. Is it bad I don’t think I’d forgive my parents for that? Like, maybe in ten years we’d laugh about the adventure at hand, but during, I think we’d have to have a lot of family meetings with counsellor supervision. Like, why could you not tell me? Why couldn’t you just say, “Hey, you have a mother/father. And here’s how it went down, and also you have a sibling.” WHAT IF SOMEBODY NEEDED A KIDNEY.

2. Did anyone go to camp? Was it this fun? Because it looks amazing

I was afraid of camp and other children and staying away for days at a time, so camp wasn’t exactly a go-to summer plan for ye olde Donahue family. BUT watching this was LIKE camp, am I right? Was it just filled with fun times and cool people and counsellors who cared but also made terrible decisions (which we’ll get to later)? Was there also a random kid who was a boy that got sent to a girls’ camp by accident? Do you think that boy eventually had to confront his obviously inept parents about an incredibly confusing mistake? Do you think it was a mistake like that which led to him realizing his parents clearly could not read as “girls camp” was not something that registered with them? Do you think any of these counsellors came from the camp in Wet Hot American Summer?

3. Lindsay Lohan is perfect in this SHE IS PERFECT

First, I would still like her haircut, and it is partially the reason why I cut my own hair (see also: poverty); second, THAT ACCENT. How?! Sometimes I will try to speak British (alone) to see if I can carry it off, and please let the record state that I cannot and also that it is a travesty. Meanwhile, she’s 11 and sounding equally as legit as Gwyneth Paltrow. WHATEVER, LINDS. Also, she’s a genuinely good actress! She played Annie and Hailey well! And by “well” I mean “perfect.” So here is me saying Lindsay Lohan, will you make a Parent Trap 2? Or at least teach us all the secret handshake.

4. Speaking of the secret handshake … WOW

That probably took a lot of time. I say this because like you, I also tried to learn the handshake, and again like you (lie to me if this is not like you), I failed at it miserably. Maybe because my best friend did not want to partake in it. Maybe because even my friendless self didn’t have the time. Maybe even because HOW DID THIS HANDSHAKE BEGIN. Were they stuck in traffic and/or a place which left them choreographing a dance? I bet they could’ve performed this during the Wet Hot American Summer showcase to roaring applause — and Amy Poehler’s character would’ve loved it.

5. How did no one notice that they were twins, though

HOW. I notice if someone kind of looks like someone I met at a variety store. How did no one notice THESE IDENTICAL BEINGS. But more importantly: why did they hate each other? Wouldn’t you assume right away that you met your long lost twin and that you were destined to be best friend? Have I just watched too many movies? Perhaps. But perhaps even more, odds are they would put two and two together and think, “Wow I only have a mom and I only have a dad, I think we are twins.” And then we could’ve spared the drams. Not that it doesn’t TOTALLY RULE though, because it does, and this movie is flawless. #flawless

6. I just feel weird about Hailey making Annie jump into the lake naked and then stealing her clothes

And I say this as a former teenage girl whose psyche would’ve been DESTROYED after something like that. RIGHT? I mean, I’m 27 now and I think my psyche would STILL be destroyed after something like that. Only for whole new reasons starting with: who are these people that let these other people steal my clothes?

6. b) How did they get the furniture on the roof? Where did they get all the tools for the giant huge prank with goo and stuff?

#QUESTIONS but …#STILL #FLAWLESS

7. And then the two enemies get sent to a cabin in the middle of nowhere, completely unsupervised

This really could’ve gone one of two ways. The first: what we see happen. The second: an actual horror film. Why wouldn’t they just send them home? Or … just made them clean things? Instead, they are sequestered. Atop a hill. Where Annie is forced to come to terms with not knowing who Leonardo DiCaprio is. (LIES ANNIE YOU TOTALLY KNOW WHO HE IS EVERYONE KNOWS WHO HE IS EVEN BABIES WHO WON’T BE BORN UNTIL NEXT YEAR KNOW WHO HE IS.)

Okay but now they just realized they’re twins, and now I’m basically weeping. #FLAWLESS #!!!!!!

Though, never forget:

8. Oh and by the way HAILEY AND ANNIE ARE GENIUSES NOW

You know how I would’ve handled this? “Mom, I can’t believe you didn’t tell me about Dad — I just met my twin. We’re going to have a big talk about this.” INSTEAD, they do the full switch, and Hailey gives Annie the best haircut ever. And then pierces her ears, which actually seems like the most terrifying thing. Also, I never would’ve thought to use an apple, proving I really would be the worst person to try and pull anything like this off.

9. What we talk about when we talk about Natasha Richardson

We talk about the fact that she was even more flawless than this movie, and that she was the ultimate mom in this and AHHH I love her, and I love her character, and we all love Natasha Richardson, obviously, as she is also a Redgrave a.k.a. from the greatest family of all. Also, remember how amazing her apartment is in this movie? And how every TV/movie mom should be like her minus not telling their child about their secret sibling? Yes. We all remember. I seriously want to sob through every scene she does because SHE WAS THE BEST.

10. Guys, I don’t think Meredith is really that bad…?

I mean, no one — NO ONE — is Natasha Richardson, but Meredith is just doing her (like Drake says). You know? I KNOW. We shouldn’t like her, BUT she’s just living her life! And maybe she DOES like Dennis Quaid! We don’t know! She’s career driven and yeah, fine, she lies to that guy on the phone, but Annie just sets her up to fail, and Dennis Quaid is confused, and Jessie doesn’t like her… but I just can’t hate Meredith. I’m sorry. Part of me thinks I would want to send Annie to boarding school too if she kept splashing me from the pool and making me feel horrible. And also, like, they full-on treat her terribly during the camping trip. And for all we know, Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson could’ve met in person and thought, “Oh yeah, no — there is nothing here” when that happened. WE DON’T KNOW. Anyway. Meredith is also played by Lisa Looter from Romy and Michele, so I think we all need to take a sip of our favourite beverages in honour of that.

11. But Jessie does rule, though

I  kind of also wanted to be Jessie, who is just so smart and funny. And can we please talk about her hooking up with Natasha Richardson’s butler? Because YES. THAT IS HOW THINGS ARE DONE. (Particularly in movies I have loved since I was 12.)

12. Seriously, though, as if Meredith and Dennis Quaid get engaged after EIGHT WEEKS

EIGHT WEEKS, YOU GUYS. Like, that’s a bit much considering Hailey hasn’t even MET HER, and she’s only had her dad for the last 11 years. Do we not proceed with caution here? Should there maybe be an introductory dinner first? A few afternoons out? Absolutely not, “Hey we’re getting married — you cool?” without a consultation in the slightest. I feel like I’d give my friends more warning than Dennis gives his TEENAGE DAUGHTER. Like, at least more than a poolside meeting, Dennis. AT LEAST A BRUNCH… regularly, for a while.

So maybe we shouldn’t hate Meredith, we should just be angry with Dennis for making terrible choices.

13. Okay, but Meredith really also handles this terribly

Who would yell at the kid of the guy you’re going to marry?! WHO? Also, she threatens her! ALSO, remember when they’re getting married in two weeks? WHAT IS THE RUSH. WHY. So maybe Meredith needs to check herself. And Dennis needs to slow it down. And we all just need to move in with Natasha Richardson and Granddad and bring Jessie with us.

14. Martin is a mega babe

NOT TO OBJECTIFY, but Martin the Butler is a mega-babe of glorious levels, and I don’t even care who knows it. The charm! The raising of the one eyebrow! The British accent! IT’S ALL THERE. Minus the Speedo, though, which I think should be worn by nobody. In its place, anything else, actually. (Except cargo shorts.)

15. “Have you seen your father?” – “You talkin’ to me?”

Did anyone else want to be exactly as cool as Lindsay Lohan was in this moment? Guys, I wanted her clothes, her hair, and her comedic timing more than I can describe in these sentences. And yes, I still try to assert “You talkin’ to me” when I can. And no, it never goes as smoothly as this.

16. See, though, the fact that Dennis Quaid gets so mesmerized by Natasha Richardson is an indicator he shouldn’t marry Meredith on principle

Like, even if Meredith was the greatest human to grace the earth, the fact that he FALLS IN A POOL when he sees Natasha Richardson implies that he has strong feelings for Natasha Richardson. Call me old fashioned, but you shouldn’t feel super warm, fuzzy, and “AHHH I LOVE HER”  when you see your ex-wife, Dennis Quaid. JUST THROWING THAT OUT THERE.

16. b) Also, what the hell, Dennis Quaid? You didn’t tell your fiance about your OTHER KID?

Now, see that’s a dealbreaker. That would be when I tell my fiance that it’s probaaaaaably not going to work out because he lied (BY OMISSION) about something very important like, say, a secret child. I mean, it’s not like he lied about not liking hotdogs. And now he’s hanging with his ex wife and hey! That’s awesome and cool and we love it! But yeah, no. NOT GONNA WORK OUT. Fair thee well, TIME TO GO.

17. But how dare Natasha Richardson and Dennis Quaid not just make out and drink wine the rest of this movie

Right?! WE KNOW THEY LOVE EACH OTHER. And again, we are all Kathy Geiss:

Kiss.

KISS.

KISS!

Fortunately, they do. Later. TOO MANY EONS after they spend an evening on a boat, and almost kiss in a wine cellar. But still. It happens. WE GET OUR REWARD.

18. The camping trip seems like a nightmare

All of it. Like, actually every aspect of the trip seems terrible. First, Meredith is actually starting to really grate on me. I mean, she’s got every right to be upset, but she’s yelling a lot? (BREAK UP, MEREDITH AND DENNIS.) But then Hailey and Annie are literally sadists and put lizards on her head and rocks in her bag, and give her sugar water? And then put her on a mattress that sets sail into the lake? Why wouldn’t Meredith just say “Hey, I’m not a camper.” And Dennis Quaid say, “That’s valid — I’m in love with my ex wife.” And then the KISS KISS KISS would happen so much sooner. #Thoughts

19. And then Dennis is all, “I HAVE EVERY BOTTLE EVER MADE” of the fancy wedding wine

Correct, Dennis. This is how it’s done. This is the way romance works. COLLECT THE BOTTLES. All of them and then drink them with Natasha Richardson and make all of our dreams come true. I mean come on. WHY WOULD YOU NOT KISS THEN, YOU GUYS. Also, remember how we all cry during the part where it’s raining and Annie and Natasha Richardson leave for London and “Every Time We Say Goodbye” plays and IT IS TOO MUCH*.

*Beautiful. IT IS TOO BEAUTIFUL.

20. AND THEN EVERYTHING WORKS OUT 

Oh my GOD, I love this movie. I don’t even care. I DON’T CARE THAT I AM 27 AND THIS IS A DISNEY FILM. It is perfect and #flawless and #everything #great. (#hashtags) Can more movies like this be made, please? Are we all crying? Can we please split a bottle of whatever wine it is they keep referring to? I WANT TO HUG EVERYONE. Also let’s please bask in the moral of the story: teen girls can do anything they set their minds to. And if you don’t take that life lesson and put it in your pocket, then FINE I GUESS WE’LL JUST WATCH IT AGAIN.

Flawless.

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