Feb 3, 2009

[Movies] Die, Mommie, Die! (2003)

Die, Mommie, Die! (2003)Given how difficult they are to acquire, I made it a point early on in my independent internet life to try and download as many LGBT films as I could. I rely a lot on word of mouth to help sort the good movies from the, well, not so good. Sure, I'm not actually paying for the price of these movies and thus I'm not really supporting the industry. I feel a slight pang of guilt about that, but then I try to make up for by by spreading the good word about films of merit.

This particular film was one of the trickier ones to truly appreciate. You have to understand that I try to evaluate films based on their genre and what seems to be the intention of the director in terms of creating it. Comedic films posing as dramas are definitely hard to define even on the best of days, but I suppose it makes the whole experience more fun.

Die, Mommie, Die! is a film based on a stage play by the same name. Written and starring Charles Busch (in drag no less), the movie is precisely what I was talking about earlier - a comedy all dressed up to be like a dramatic piece with everyone playing the role of the proverbial "straight man", pardon the pun, hehe.

At the core of the story is the once-famous lounge singer Angela Arden (Busch), who is struggling to revive her career. At the same time she's juggling her infamously well-endowed gigolo Tony Parker (Jason Priestly), her constipated movie mogul husband Sol Sussman (Philip Baker Hall), her rebellious daddy's girl Edith (Natasha Lyonne) and her gay son Lance (Stark Sands). Completing the dysfuntional family is their ever-nosy maid Bootsie (Frances Conroy of Six Feet Under fame).

The story really starts to move along when Agnes finally snaps and kills her husband Sol with an arsenic-laden suppository (yes, I'm serious) and somehow gets away with everyone thinking it was just a heart attack. From here the story twists and turns as Agnes tries to hide her secret, her children try to reveal the truth and Tony seems to have his own agenda on the side while sleeping with anything that moves - male or female.

Cropped screenshot of Bette Davis from All Abo...

The movie is campy, to say the least - you should have gathered as much based on that rather lengthy synopsis alone. Busch is really playing the role of the woman and not a drag queen and Priestly does really well as a Hollywood has-been who has to seduce people to make a living. It's not going to feel like your stereotypical comedy, especially compared to the shallow slapstick films that have grown so popular as of late and it does take a fair bit of open-mindedness for you to appreciate things fully.

The movie is just built for the gay man who fell in love with the 50's and 60's heroines like Bette Davis and watch such old films looking for choice lines. The movie is overflowing with slightly cheesy but terribly fun quotes here and there that make this film cannon fodder for any gay man wanting to sound bitchy in a classy way.

You're probably either going to absolutely love this movie or you're going to hate it - it's really one of those kinds of films. Still, the camp was done in good taste and I for one enjoyed it. Perhaps you will, too.

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