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Tomboy Vada Sultenfuss (Anna Chlumsky) has good reason to be morbid: her mother died giving birth to her, and her father (Dan Aykroyd) operates a funeral service out of their home. The other kids think she's a freak, and it certainly doesn't help that her best friend, Thomas J. Sennett (Macaulay Culkin), is a boy. To make matters worse, Vada is desperately in love with her English teacher, Mr. Bixler (Griffin Dunne). What's an 11-year-old girl to do?