Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Dead Moms--The New Lewis Black?

Here I am, wallowing in the meat and cheese filled week that is my vacation at home in Iowa. Last October, an old friend of mine opened a fantastic, cheap barbeque place in town. This month, he added fantastic, cheap beer to his menu. Suffice it to say, I've spent most of my week huddled over buckets of fried mushrooms and steaming piles of pulled pork, which is only a short, metaphorical hop from the way I spent the better part of my late teens. Nudge nudge, wink wink. How I love you, The Midwest!

The only misstep came this evening, when, lured by the promise of cheap martinis, my mother decided we should have a Girls Night Out. We'd start at The Vine for happy hour and gossip. Once drunk, we'd take in a light comedy and round out our evening laughing hysterically as my mother's minivan wove us home through the dark, cold night.

Our friend Jill came prepared with print-outs of all the local movie listings. It being Iowa, our options were limited, but I'd been hearing good buzz about this new romantic comedy The Family Stone. When I suggested it, Jill nodded in agreement and my mother (on her second martini) said, "It's got Sarah Jessica Horseface, from Sex and the City. She's good." Our fourth Girl, Marion, was easily convinced and so a unanimous decision was made.

What we knew about the movie beforehand was this: An uptight, conservative girl (played by SJH) goes to the home of her boyfriend's liberal family (the eponymous Stones) to meet them for the first time over Christmas. Hilarious hijinx ensues.


About a half hour into the movie, just as I'm thinking about how my mom kind of looks like Diane Keaton, the Stone family's hell-raising matriarch, we are told that poor Diane has inoperable breast cancer and from the way the music swells, and her husband stares stoically into the distance, it becomes clear that she will be dead before the last credits role. Hah hah, isn't that funny? Couldn't you just keel over from the comedic brilliance of that little tidbit?

If I could have actually kicked my head with my boot, I would have. Sitting on one side of me is my mom, whose own mother told her, over Thanksgiving dinner in 1992, that she was dying of inoperable breast cancer. Sitting on the other side is Jill, whose mother died suddenly, five weeks ago. Are you kidding me, Sycamore Theatres 10?

In the end we were laughing, but mostly because we always laugh together, and the situation was just so ridiculous, and plus, you know, the booze.

But still I shake my fist at the marketing crew responsible. Really guys, what were you thinking? If we present this tear-orgy as a comedy, and release it over the holidays, we're sure to make a few million American families feel really...depressed? I think for my Mom's New Year's party I'll throw on a copy of Dancer In the Dark and see if we can squeeze a few chuckles out of it before we turn on the oven and take turns sticking our heads inside.

But really everyone, Happy New Year. I'll see you in ought six.


Blogger Boze said...

What? Surely you haven't forgotten the comedy gold mine known as Beaches?? Or Boys on the Side? One can't make a good chick flick without jerking some tears. Somebody has to die.

Welcome back to Iowa, Susan. It makes me sad that you didn't keep in touch with me.


9:33 AM  

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