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66 thoughts we had while watching Addams Family Values

Contributed by
Jun 8, 2018

Some say the sequel is never better than the original. To those people, I say, "You've never seen Addams Family Values."

In 1991, The Addams Family gave us the glory of Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston as a sultry and hilarious Gomez and Morticia who introduced '90s kids to BDSM. It reveled in the macabre pleasures of the 1960s TV show, looping in Fester, Thing, Cousin It, and a cavalcade of creepy relatives. It gave us Christina Ricci as a pitch-perfect Wednesday Addams, and even a hip theme song courtesy of the one and only M.C. Hammer. But Addams Family Values gave us Joan Cusack in her most underrated role of all time: Debbie Jellinsky, the Black Widow Killer. Also, Morticia had a mustachioed munchkin, and Wednesday lived out our Mean Girl vengeance fantasies at summer camp.

Join us as we revisit this 1993 masterpiece.

  1. Addams Family Values wastes no time. No sooner has Morticia announced—with a signature smirk!—that she is pregnant, then they're at the hospital for the birth. And even as she's rolled along brightly lit hallways in a stretcher, director Barry Sonnenfeld keeps up the running gag that she will ALWAYS have a streak of dramatic light slashing across her eyes.
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  2. Style goals.
     
  3. Poor sweet summer child thinks her baby sibling comes from angels and storks and diamonds and cabbage patches. Leave it to Pugsley and Wednesday to keep things real. 
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  4. The finger-snapping theme starts up and I can feel my dark heart thump with joy.
     
  5. Raise your hand if you'd kill for a bedroom as rad and goth as baby Addams'.
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  6. 1993: when a kids' movie could feature a running gag about siblings trying to murder their baby brother. Those were the days.
     
  7. "I'm just like any modern woman trying to have it all — a loving husband, a family. It's just I wish I had more time to seek out the dark forces and join their hellish crusade." Morticia, preach it, girl!
     
  8. Remember how Cynthia Nixon played a hippie babysitter in this movie?  
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  9. SHE'S HERE! SHE'S HERE! Joan Cusack has arrived to make a good thing TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE! 
     
  10. "I love your dress. It's so tight." Debbie might have been the first person I ever saw throw shade.
     
  11. We are all Fester, love-struck by her moxie, her radiance, and her unbridled sexuality. 
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  12. "America's Most Disgusting Unsolved Crimes" is a show I would 100% watch.
     
  13. Fun callback: Camp Chippewa bully Amanda Buckman was in the first movie as the girl scout who pestered a lemonade-selling Wednesday.
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  14. Amanda asks Wednesday, "Why are you dressed like somebody died?" And the glowering girl responds flatly, "Wait." Sigh. I am still waiting to use Wednesday's withering comeback on someone. Maybe I need to wear more black.
     
  15. Whoa. I never caught this before. When Fester admits he's been lonely, Gomez says, "There's Thing." Cut to the disembodied hand trembling. Then Fester sighs, "I know, but I want more: legs, elbows, a head!" So… Fester and Thing have done hand stuff. Let that sink in.
     
  16. You okay? Yeah, me neither.

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  17. Shutdown goals.
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  18. Relationship goals.
     
  19. After Fester clarifies that being a virgin means never having sex "with another person," he declares he's one. So I guess Thing stuff doesn't count?
     
  20. "You're allergic to sunshine and archery and crafts?" "Yes." Same, Joel. Except for crafts. I could spend all day on a mean cross-stitch.
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  21. Sibling goals.
     
  22. In The Addams Family, Margaret was widowed, but Tully's frowning wife found a new lease on love and life when she met the hairy but romantic Cousin It. Now, she's happily part of the Addams clan with her baby What.
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  23. I know it's a throwaway gag, but it's also an inspiring story of second chances and love and weirdos winning out. 
     
  24. How do you work an exotic dancer into a kids' movie? Bake her in a cake! 
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  25. Real Talk: I would love to see an Addams Family-themed burlesque show.
     
  26. An Addams Family wedding. In all the history of cinema, rarely have audiences been gifted something so weird and wonderful.
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  27. Cusack's cringing as Cousin It's shrill voice twitters unintelligible vows deserves an acting master class.
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  28. Not enough kids movies featuring an adult calling a child "tramp."
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  29. Frak, Marry, Kill: Gomez, Morticia, Debbie. Keep in mind that Debbie is so good in bed that she convinced Fester to cut ties with his entire family.
     
  30. In related news: there's an implied offscreen handjob in this kids' movie.
     
  31. You got to admire Debbie's making the best of a bad situation, and by that I mean Fester's makeover. 
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  32. 90% of romance movies don't have the heat that Gomez and Morticia share in this.
     
  33. The discussion of serial killer trading cards may have been the first time this Murderino heard of "that Zodiac guy." Big day. 
     
  34. Among the camp misfits, Irwin has gray hair. And poor Jamal! No one can pronounce his name and he's suffering the indignity of a "flesh-colored" band-aid that's anything but blending in.

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  35. "Have you ever really not had sex?...Then how do you know we're not having it right now." Shout out to screenwriter Paul Rudnick who filled this movie with delectable, edged wit. He also wrote Sister Act and In & Out. So thank him
     
  36. Do you know how many Oscars this movie was nominated for? The answer is one, for Ruth Myers's sensational costume designs. 

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  37. Well deserved. 
     
  38. Do you know how many Oscar nominations it should have gotten? The answer is all of them. ALL OF THEM.
     
  39. "You have enslaved him. You have placed Fester under some strange sexual spell. I respect that." — Morticia telling Debbie. Game recognizes game.
     
  40. "You've gone too far. You've married Fester. You've destroyed his spirit. You've taken him from us. All of this I could forgive. But Debbie…"
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  41. Seriously, how did Huston not get a supporting nod for this? For this eyebrow raise alone!
     
  42. The best part of Nathan Lane's cameo is the low-key inclusion of Pepto Bismal on the desk. That’s visual storytelling for you. 
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  43. Raul Julia is yelling at Officer Lane with all the fires of hell in his eyes. And if the Oscars made any damn sense, this would have been the clip they'd play during the Best Supporting Actor compilation, alongside Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction, and Gary Sinise in Forest Gump
     
  44. "We're going to show that anyone, no matter how pale, or odd, or chubby can have a good time." Christine Baranski makes this sound like a terrible threat. She is also perfect.
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  45. What's more unnerving than Wednesday's post-happy movie marathon?

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  46. Every. Damn. Oscar. And then some.
     
  47. Not enough children's movies have Thanksgiving musical numbers, much less ones that become public executions.
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  48. I appreciate that as the children are setting fire to the set, Peter MacNicol's deranged camp counselor is chiefly concerned with his thwarted artistic ambitions: "You're destroying my text!"
     
  49. Real Talk: Do you think the misfit campers cannibalized the counselors?
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  50. Debbie's not just a serial killer. She's a serial killer with panache! She literally gift wrapped the bomb. I mean, come on. That shows passion for her vocation.
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  51. Never Forget: Long before he was a neurotic detective, Tony Shalhoub was a horny sailor just trying to hook up with a hot-to-trot serial killer.
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  52. Giving no f*cks goals.
     
  53. "I'll never forget you. You're too weird." I like to think this is what my exes thought as we parted ways…
     
  54. The sadz has thrown little Pubert into a cheery trauma and pitched Gomez to his deathbed. Meanwhile, Morticia is caring for her sick child, Debbie is plotting a plan C to off her hard-to-kill husband, and having completed her camp coupe d'état, Wednesday is headed home to save her uncle. Truly, Addams Family Values is about the resilience of women.
     
  55. We've arrived! We've arrived at Debbie's big moment. She's got almost the entire Addams clan strapped to electric chairs. And now it's time for her big, bombastic monologue about her struggle. EVERY moment of it giffable, and engraved on my very soul! 
     
  56. Who amongst us can't relate to the birthday heartbreak when your parents gift you the wrong damn Barbie!?

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  57. Also, credit where it's due. Debbie not only killed the men who failed her. She also made a captivating slideshow to share her motivations.
     
  58. For real though, Cusack has been nominated twice for an Oscar, both in supporting turns. The first time was for 1988's Working Girl, the second was for 1997's In & Out. In the latter, her pained yet hysterical declaration, "Is EVERYBODY gay?" should have clinched it for her.
     
  59. Cusack should have at least been nominated for Addams Family Values, where she parodies the va-va-voom glamour girls of old Hollywood with a gleeful dark comedy twist. But here we are! In an upside-down world where comedy genius Joan Cusack has no Oscar but Mel Gibson has two!

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  60. She does. As a society, we do not value Joan Cusack enough. 
     
  61. It's easy to imagine how differently this story could have gone. Debbie seems almost perfect for the Addams clan. Like them, she loves the finer things in life: wealth, sex, and homicide. But you don't betray the family. Truly, she is a tragic figure, done in by a fatal flaw of misreading the room.
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  62. And discounting the fire-spewing baby.

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  63. Le sigh. Debbie is gone. But life goes on. And just as it seems Wednesday may have found a Gomez of her own, she pulls a Carrie on him. 
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  64. It's a good gag. But it makes we wish this were more than a final gas of Wife and Psycho, Debbie. I dream of a sequel where Debbie returns…Addams Family: The Revenge. 
     
  65. Don't turn off at the credits. Because yes, there's another Addams Family-inspired rap jam.

     

     
  66. Okay. It deserves all the Oscars except Best Song.