She's a Real Mother

Mutha's got eyes in the back of her head.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

One Mutha of a Film Festival, Day 5

So far my very own Film Festival has given you the "Must Have" day, the Men, the Kids, and the Rock and Roll. But Mutha would never forget the women! How could Mutha do that to you? Call Day Five Femme Fest, because these movies shall all feature women who need you to sit back and think them over for a minute...No! Don't turn your back on them, you might be sorry.

Mildred Pierce
As if Joan Crawford's eyebrows aren't enough to worry a soul, the woman is shot in such extreme light and shoulder pads in this one that she'll scare you even when she's supposed to be happy. But when seeking out Joan, what could be more fabulous! Crawford is amazing in this film noir about a crooked husband's murder and the price women pay if they become (gasp) successful business owners.

Norma Rae
Alright, alright! I loved the Flying Nun so much when I was little that I used to run around my backyard pretending to fly and talk to the Reverend Mother. I admit it! But that is not why Sally Field is here. It's because she kicks ass in this movie. Instead of a full-blown saint/martyr, Norma Rae is an imperfect, factory-working, single mom who sleeps with the wrong guys -- and Sally plays her gritty, frightened, lovable, and very real.

Bull Durham
And I don't even like Kevin Costner. Then why Bull Durham? Because I love baseball and I love Susan Sarandon. Her character Annie is a quasi-intellectual Southern Belle turned hardball guru. I tell you, there is nothing like her explaining how the game has to be embraced as a non-linear experience. But another reason why her character is such a memorable one is because she is a woman beyond her twenties who has a real sexual appetite and is not a homicidal freak on the side (see: Fatal Attraction). Imagine that.

Harold and Maude
This cult film about suicide and the difficulty of having a really good blind date is great for so many reasons, but none out shine Ruth Gordon. Her Maude is the splash of life in the otherwise morose experience of a lost young man (played by Bud Cort, who is also fantastic). And yet, just as the part could be presented as simplistically sunny, the plot turns and Gordon pulls out her incredible ability to play scenes almost entirely in her eyes and face. Worth obsessive renting from the video store.

African Queen
Yeah, well -- Kate Hepburn had to be here somewhere, right? There are many stories about the making of this film including real bodily harm, different accounts on how well the stars got along, who was drunk, who got malaria, but in the end -- how wrong could you go with Hepburn and Bogart? Kate is beguiling in this role because she begins the story as a shy woman of God and ends up screwing up the Nazis in the arms of Bogey himself. Warning: Leeches!


At 8:11 AM, Blogger Indeterminacy said...

I'm afraid two out of five (Norma Rae & African Queen) will not impress this Mutha. It looks like I have some viewing to do.

At 3:13 PM, Blogger First Nations said...

i am so incredibly impressed to see HAROLD AND MAUDE here!!!
ruth is also great in 'Wheres' Poppa?'
dang. way to go.

At 4:55 PM, Blogger Mutha said...

Go for it Indie -- report back with your findings. Remember, Mutha loves dissention.
FN: But ofcourse! LOVE Harold and Maude to distraction. "Where's Poppa?" - also great. have you read Gordon's "An Open Book"? Soooo good -- a memoir of her 80-some-odd-years.
And have you made up those Naughty Chicken t-shirts yet?

At 6:28 PM, Blogger Doug said...

I've seen three of the five. And I always meant to see Harold and Maude. Of course, Ruth Gordon will always be Ma Boggs to me. "Kick'em in the cahonies!"

God knows what brought this to mind, it may be a Ruth Gordon/Helen Hayes synapse or something but have you ever seen My Son John (1952) about a perfect family with a suspiciously effeminate son who turned communist but is redeemed with football analogies?

At 1:52 PM, Blogger Mutha said...

Yay Doug! I'm gonna hunt me down that movie. It sounds just screwy enough for me. You MUST see Harold and Maude. Go! Go on, now.

At 11:30 PM, Blogger G said...

He should not be allowed back until he does! It was just on TV recently. Well, this is true kismet! I have been here early on in blogging, but have gotten sidetracked. I remember that you heart Jeff Tweedy. It seems I have some catching up to do. But on Ruth Gordon and Harold and Maude, I just couldnt' agree more. Guys, go out and see it today.

Mutha - I bestow upon thee the Lampshade Lady award for Cool Chick :).

At 10:17 AM, Blogger Mutha said...

HURRAY! I shall wear this Lampshade with a great deal of pride and sache my fanny as only a cool chick should.
Favorite line or part of Harold and Maude?
Here's one:
"She took my head!SHE TOOK MY HEAD!!"

At 11:38 AM, Blogger G said...

Looks great on you girl!

Funny, I may have shared this at my place, but I remember first reading Harold and Maude on one of my summer vacations in perhaps I don't know 6th - 7th grade. And I would torment my mother (she really loved it) by reading the funny parts aloud (particularly his failed suicide attempts) and this one sticks in my head - "swinging the clever high, he severed his right hand at the wrist...". I'm terrible with lines, but I just loved them waving at each other at funerals (as when they first met) and Maude's little train car home.

Was your line from when he blew himself up in the backyard when he was supposed to be entertaining a nice young lady friend?

At 10:04 AM, Blogger Mutha said...

The line happens when Harold and Maude are staging the War Monger/Peace Monger bit in order to freak out Harold's one-armed uncle. Harold produces a shrunken head and Maude runs away with it, prompting the unhinged delivery of the line.


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