(1975) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)
This is one of the better "B" movies made for the
drive-in market in its dying days. Roger Corman produced, as usual.
This time Jonathan Demme was the director learning his craft under
Corman's wing, thus joining Martin Scorcese, Ron Howard and others who
learned under Corman's production banner.
|Crazy Mama is a kitschfest about a three
generation bank robbing family. This time, the filmmakers bucked the
formula and located the film in the 1950's instead of the 30's. The
whole plot didn't really make sense in the 1950's - the story was
obviously meant to take place in the Depression - but that temporal
dislocation was actually a big positive, because it gave the film its
best material - a great score of bebop rock hits, and a parade of 50's
nostalgia - big-finned cars, Burma Shave signs, cheesy dancing cigarette
commercials, klunky appliances, primitive TV shows, etc.
Cloris Leachman shows the side of her butt in a
smooching scene, then shows her left breast in a scene where she
is wearing a transparent top.
is naked (breasts, buns) in a scene where the boys open the
bathroom door after her shower.
|I doubt if they paid much
attention to the punctilios of the 50's period detail, but I didn't
notice anything out of place, and they managed to evoke the spirit of
that romanticized version of the 50's that has endured in our
imagination. If the period was more than leather jackets and Howdy Doody
- well, who cares any more, at least in the context of a broad farce?
Although this movie is pretty raunchy, Cloris Leachman
was a fairly big g-rated TV star when she made this film, and was just
beginning the process of headlining new own TV series, "Phyllis", an MTM
spin-off. Leachman stars as a beauty parlor operator in Long Beach,
California whose shop is repossessed by the bank. Leachman decides she's
never going to be in that position again, so she takes her mother and
her daughter back to Arkansas to reclaim the family farm which was
stolen away from them when Melba was a girl. Of course, they don't have
any money, so they have to turn to a life of (inept) crime). When Melba
and her gang finally return to Jerusalem, Arkansas they find out that
their farmland has been turned into a country club.
It's basically a sitcom, with a sitcom level of action
and humor, featuring such sitcom staples as Ralph Malph, Phyllis,
Private Secretary and Mr Howell. Unlike a real sitcom, however, it is
both violent and sexy, as per Corman's standard drive-in formula. It
isn't as good as the 7.1 IMDb rating implies, but it is an easy watch.
guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of
excellence, about like three and a half stars
from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm
watchability, about like two and a half stars
from the critics. The fives are generally not
worthwhile unless they are really your kind of
material, about like two stars from the critics.
Films under five are generally awful even if you
like that kind of film, equivalent to about one
and a half stars from the critics or less,
depending on just how far below five the rating
guideline: A means the movie is so good it
will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not
good enough to win you over if you hate the
genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an
open mind about this type of film. C means it will only
appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover
appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you
like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if
you love the genre. F means that the film is not only
unappealing across-the-board, but technically
inept as well.
Based on this description, this
film is a C. Typical drive-in fare from the 70's.
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