Die Mommie Die  (2003) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Charles Busch is a female impersonator who writes and stars in retro genre parodies. His last filmed effort was Psycho Beach Party. This latest effort, Die Mommie Die, is a parody of the drama-queen melodramas of the 50s and 60s, in which actresses like Susan Hayward schemed and seduced callously, and encountered crises which were not only larger in scope than those in real life, but also arrived with far greater frequency.

The genre died out of the film world before most of you were born, but it left behind a legacy of nighttime soap operas like Dynasty, so if you can remember Joan Collins on the small screen, you'll have a good idea of the equivalent big screen target Busch is focusing on.


Male: Stark Sands is seen naked from the rear. Two other men are seen naked from the side in a three-way sex scene.

Female: The woman in that scene is played by a man, but I saw breasts, so I guess that the man playing a woman used a female body double for the nude scene

Busch is a talented guy, whom you may remember from his portrayal of Nat Ginsberg on Oz. I don't know if it's even correct to call him a female impersonator. He is a male who plays certain types of female roles convincingly. His characterization in this film is so convincing that you'll forget he is a male, and his writing shows a real gift for walking the line between lampoon and homage.

Busch and director Mark Rucker got the actors to deliver all their outrageous lines in a consistently theatrical and obviously insincere style to match Busch's own. I thought Jason Priestly was especially funny as a bisexual gigolo. The entire film plays out as if everyone in the cast knows he or she is in a high camp entertainment, and wants the audience to know that they know.

I laughed a lot, to tell you the truth. I suppose drag queen movies may not be what most of you are looking for. Me neither. But the fact of the matter is that Busch can probably evoke the actresses of that era better than any contemporary female I can name. Hell, When I was a kid I always wondered if Bette Davis and Joan Crawford were really middle aged men in wigs, so who better to portray them than a 48 year old man in a wig?

Busch is making fun of the melodrama queens, but he also has a gift for witty dialogue and a genuine regard for the subject matter which makes this an entertaining confection about part of filmdom's barely-remembered past.

The Critics Vote

  • Roger Ebert 2/4

The People Vote ...


The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own 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. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). 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, C+. Entertaining niche film. Well written parody, acted with campy glee.

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