Tuesday, December 6, 2016

I need to get a life of my own. And so do you.

In my previous post, I went on an on about how Mom is the real hero of the family. Always has been, always will be. Mom deals with everything that bothers everyone, day in and day out, whether you want her to or not.

Messy diaper? Mom deals with it. Messy room? Mom deals with it. Messy life? Mom deals with it. The list is endless, and likely goes far beyond what my simple one-track mind could even fathom. But don't dismiss Dad just yet, okay? Because there's one problem that the ol' big guy tackles every day of his life, too.

He deals with Mom.

Look, I wasn't going for a continuing theme of motherly trials and tribulations when I picked up The Meddler, I just saw Rose Byrne's name and mashed RENT. Thinking this was a film that my wife and I could swap war stories after (you know, those of the oh, you think you're mom's crazy... ilk), writer/director Lorene Scafaria's 2015 indie-flick gave us surprisingly little to say to one another afterward. But maybe that's what happens after hearing Susan Surandon talk for 100 minutes straight,

Surandon plays Marnie, a widow who has just relocated to California after the death of her husband. Apparently this dude was a good guy, and has set up his wife with everything she needs. At least that's what she keeps telling herself, and us, as Marnie attempts to pass the days being there for her daughter Lori. Maybe if it's not your mom doing the hounding, you might think Aw, I wish I had a mom like that!, but Lori is straight-up worn down by Marnie's relentless quest to help. Eventually Lori skips town back to New York City, where a show she has written has gone into production. Marnie is all alone out west. With no one that needs her.

As a guy, I'm thinking And this is a problem how? But I'm Dad. Dad likes to be left alone. Mom? Not so much.

While one hundred minutes of Surandon talking incessantly (and not listening) was initially about seventy-five minutes more than I signed up for, looking back I kind of dig this movie. Marnie is a really kind woman, and with the loss of her husband (and to a certain extent, her daughter) still quietly eating away at her, she dives into a weird world of constant charity. Not anything organized either, as she just goes all in on helping just about anyone she meets. But while it's all kind of easy-breezy and silly, almost sitcom-y, it's actually pretty f--king sad, too.

Also pretty f--king pathetic, are the Yays and Boos and Truths. We're big fans of our own mother, sure, even if we don't show it because she can drive us absolutely f--king crazy every single chance she gets. Helping out with the kids? Total Yay. Guilting me into putting up her Christmas lights before I've even dug out my own? That's a Yay, too! Gosh, she's the best. (who knows, she may figure out the internet one day...let's play that shit safe [truth])

They were all smiles until...
J.K. flexed and pinned Surandon against the chicken wire
  • Oh, grandogs. I've never heard of the term, but I'm down. My mom will watch them, too.
  • Dude, Cecily Strong is quickly climbing the ladder of people I blindly rent movies for. I love her.
  • But way at the top of that list? J.K. Simmons. Man, this guy is f--king fantastic in everything. Here, he plays Zipper, the mustachioed chicken farmer with a heart of gold and the patience of a saint. 
  • Marnie heads back to NY to see some of her husband's brothers, right? Well, I ain't looking it up, but these dudes have to be the real deal, as these wops are f--king perfect for the five minutes we get them. It's like hanging out with my mom's brothers, except these dudes probably won't make fun of you the entire time you're with them. F--kers.
  • No bullshit, but we're once again two outdoor tubs from a Cialis commercial in this one. Poor old people. Your romantic quests have been trivialized by boner pills, haven't they? (this is a Yay because I would probably/definietly hold hands in adjoiing tubs with J.K. Simmons Susan Surandon, as she's pretty hot for an older lady, right?)
  • And speaking of, she TOTALLY dials down the slut routine in this one. Really. Like, most her characters have that shit cranked to eleven, right? Marnie? She's got her sex appeal locked in at a three, thank you very much.
  • Rose Byrne is in this. Longer than she was in Star Wars, too. Though not by much...dang it.
  • And finally, even though a lot of the jokes miss, and the film at times feels way too quirky for its own good, a week later I'm still thinking about it. My own dad is still alive, so I can only imagine how my mom would be as a widow. Not that she hasn't talked about it enough...goodness. Anyway, The Meddler is essentially a sweet movie. If you can get around the circling shark that is Surandon's Marnie (uh...kind of like moms in a nutshell, you know?)
Excuse me, Mom? I'll take over from here.
  • First and foremost: the talking. Similar to my own mother, Marnie never stops talking. Ever. But at least my mom doesn't sound like she's doing her worst Christopher Walken (for 100 minutes!!!!). *puts gun in mouth*
  • Good God, do all old ladies hang out at the Genius Bar?
  • The meddling is pretty f--king ridiculous. I thought snooping around her daughter's search history was bad. But going to her therapist? Damn, Marnie. Just...damn.
  • So, uh, how well off was her husband exactly?
  • My whole life I've wanted to be an extra in a movie (I did this once, but it sucked). Marnie literally walks into the job. Is this how it is in California? 
  • Not only does Blues Traveler apparently play weddings now, but they'll also appear in a movie, playing at a wedding. So, uh, word's out I guesss?
  • Sticker shopping? Getting ice cream by yourself? Why am I seeing this?
  • Why do old family pictures look like some dudes initial D+ in Intro to Photoshop
  • What the Hell was that Mortal Kombat finishing move on McKean? Who announces shots to the balls?
  • The television show they're filming really feels like a bad porno (as in one where nobody has sex [the acting is irrelevant]).
  • Marnie makes a rad egg breakfast using eggs Zipper gives her. We get to see the entire meal both created and eaten. In real time.
  • Unless she just watched E.T., there's no way Marnie deciphers what that old lady was gesturing about. No. Way.
  • And finally, the end of this film was brutal. That is some awful shit to deal with right there, and I'm wondering if there's a little bit of autobiographical info in that last horrible event. Either way, that's a bit of a bummer, you know?
This scene is brutal.
(But features Byrne...so, I was a big fan)
  • This film perfectly captures that delicate balance of I'll never talk to this woman again with Mom, could you do me a favor? And yes, I'm the worst person alive, I know.
  • Why do moms always have an endless amount of advice to give? Especially when half the time advice is the opposite of what is needed at the time.
  • Not only does Marnie never stop talking/giving advice, but she never listens. Ladies, not trying to be a dick here, but I'm going to assume that as you get older your ears actually seal up and turn into modified gills. You know, so you can breathe while you're giving all that advice.
  • Daughter to mother: You have, like, three stories.
  • And finally, as a son (you daughters are a whole different animal), at the end of the day, regardless of the torture....you still gotta love your mom. 
Goodness, look at the time. I gotta get up early in the morning, and I need more sleep. You know how I know? My mom tells me that.

Every single time I see her.

(and then we talk politics)



  1. Ha, I like the added "truths" I can relate to the mom's trying to give advice part. My mom tries to do that all the time.

    1. My dad doesn't have nearly as much advice. What is about Mom that she has to pass out life tips like Halloween candy?

  2. Replies
    1. Do it. It's tough at first, but I think it ultimately pays off in the end. At the very least it gives you something to think about.

      Uh, and look forward to???? (heh heh)

  3. You just can't escape the inevitable Mum advice!!
    Thanks for reminding me about this movie, I'd forgotten all about it, and I kind of want to see it! Would watching it WITH my Mum be a terrible idea? I feel like it is.
    - Allie

    1. No, it's just inescapable, honestly. My mom is a more direct Master Yoda, basically. Or Mr. Miyagi.

      Oooh, I think it would be super fun to watch it with your mum. Let me know the results, asap!

  4. Seeing Susan Sarandon's photo reminds me - saw Stepmom this week because of the comment you made. Now no man and no proposal will be good enough for me.

    1. Right? That's the move to end all moves. Dammit Harris. You killed us all.