Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Crazy Mama (1975)

Director: Jonathan Demme

Starring: Cloris Leachman & Stuart Whitman

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: They shot her father, killed off her man, stole her land. She became the ...

Plot: Melba, a widow in the 1950s, begins a wacky life of crime when she loses her Long Beach beauty parlor. She's joined by her mother Sheba, her pregnant daughter Cheryl, and her daughter's boyfriend Shawn. They head for Arkansas in a stolen Cadillac and a wood-paneled station wagon with an old lady, a greaser and defecting sheriff Jim Bob.

My rating: 3/10

Would I watch it again? oh, the horror

#10 on Dusk to Dawn Drive-In Trash-o-Rama Show Vol. 1 (part of the TRAILER TRASH PROJECT)

Being a fan of depression-era gangster pictures I thought this would be akin to those but set in the 1950s. Aw, HELL NO! This was horrible. Right off the bat it's going for that HAPPY DAYS vibe. They must have spent all their budget on the rights for classic tunes of the era. This was produced by Roger Corman's company so forget that there are songs in this from after 1958 when this takes place. They repeatedly use "Money (That's What I Want)" for example, which was written in 1960...but I digress...

Here's Cloris shows a bit of skin

The Southern accents are some of the worst I've heard. Jim Backus has a glorified cameo. Dick Miller briefly shows up just long enough for me to crack a smile. Stuart Whitman comes off not too bad. Cloris Leachman, who I love, and the other women (except for the really old broad they pick up in Vegas) are annoying as fuck. They yell their dialogue through most of the picture, from beginning to end. It's like they went to the John Waters School of Acting or something. After the first ten minutes I really wanted to turn it off. I should have listened to my colon.

You know who comes off best? Donny Most (Ralph Malph from HAPPY DAYS). He's pretty good; probably because he's not over the top like everyone else. Jesus, this picture is bad. So bad that I had to look at director Demme's credits to see how the fuck he went from this to directing SILENCE OF THE LAMBS in 1991, one of my favorite movies. Go check it out (HERE). See if you can connect the dots and see something in his career that would make anybody think he had the chops to pull something like LAMBS off. I can't. It's just like Peter Jackson and the LORD OF THE RINGS pictures. It just doesn't make sense.

Will Sampson makes a cameo. There's no mistaking him. Apparently Bill Paxton, John Milius and Dennis Quaid are in here somewhere in bit parts. Had I known that I could have at least had a little fun trying to spot them. Instead all I got was a bag of rocks.

The most entertaining bit in the film!

CRAZY MAMA is obnoxious, dull and not funny. Having recently watched another Corman produced picture, HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD (1976), I recognized the car chase from CRAZY MAMA that ended up in HB. I would have rather watched that one again than to have sat through this one. What a huge letdown.

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