August 25, 2003

Call Me Mommie Dearest

Just to put things in perspective -- when things feels low remember, at least your mother isn't Joan Crawford. Cinecultist thanks her lucky stars that her own mother/daughter relationship is free of powder cleanser, mixing drinks for her "uncles" and banishment to convent schools. Watching Mommie Dearest this weekend, CC realized her own mini-dramas pale in comparison to what Christina Crawford put up with on a regular basis.

Good mother/daughter melodramas can be an excellent catharsis. Weep your way through a few boxes of Kleenex while watching a DVD and everything else seems so much lighter in comparison. Also, the high camp melodrama is always good for an ironic giggle. CC amused herself all evening arching her eyebrows and trying to do her best Faye-Dunaway-doing-Joan-Crawford impression while screeching "No More Wire Hangers!"

Here's a list of some of Cinecultist's favorite Mother/Daughter Movies:

Stella Dallas -- The original weepie with Barbara Stanwyck will leave you bawling as she peers in at her daughter through the window and then walks away.

Terms of Endearment -- The little kid sobbing as he watches his mom, Debra Winger dying of cancer kills us every time. Shirley MacLaine does a legendary freak out at the on call nurse in her daughter's hospital, that you must see at some point to complete your cinema education.

Stepmom -- Even if you're not a child of divorce, this movie is charming modern example of the women's picture. Susan Sarandon makes a good film mom, too bad she has to get cancer.

Postcards from the Edge -- Does it get much better than Meryl and Shirley? These women play off each other like the consumate professionals they are. Funny and sad.

The Joy Luck Club -- CC just reread the Amy Tan novel this film's based on and the intersecting stories of four Chinese immigrant mothers and their Americanized daughters is really wonderful. This movie reminds us that Wayne Wang used to know how to make a solid movie before he sold his soul to the devil (see Maid in Manhattan for evidence to this effect).

Steel Magnolias -- Another movie with Julia Roberts, fiesty women characters and illness although technically most of the movie focuses on the friendships between the women. We just think Sally Field makes a good mom, pushy but tender.

Gypsy -- In the movie version of this hit Broadway play, Rosalind Russell is the penultimate stage mom. Nathalie Wood is her kid, the burlesque star with a heart of gold.

The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom -- Holly Hunter stars in this originally aired on HBO movie that's worth a rental for it's wicked campy goodness.

Imitation of Life -- Douglas Sirk directs a story of two mother/daughter relationships with Lana Turner as a dysfunctional mom/former actress and Sandra Dee as her daughter, who meet an African American mother/daughter team also high on the dysfunction scale.

Hard, Fast and Beautiful -- About a tennis stage mother (Claire Trevor) who wants her daughter to have everything she never had. Directed by Ida Lupino, it is exactly what the title advertises.

[Ed. -- Thanks to Rabecca, Sanjit, Jeff and Mai for the assistance compiling our probably incomplete list!]

Posted by karen at August 25, 2003 2:36 PM