It always amazes me how your perspective can change when you grow up with a movie, and sometimes the movie takes on a whole new meaning when you see it again with the eyes of an adult. When I was kid, I watched the 1980 cult classic Mommie Dearest and was terrified of Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford, the maniacal clean freak and abusive mom. But as an adult, I watch this movie, and it's pretty darn funny -- of course, that has a lot to do with watching the film with John Waters' commentary (and if you haven't heard it, I highly recommend picking up the Hollywood Royalty edition of Dearest on DVD).
Dearest was based on the exposé written by Crawford's daughter Christina in 1978, and the book dragged the Hollywood icon's reputation through the mud, and even inspired other celebrity tell-alls from other famous kids in the years to come. The film might have been a commercial success, but was savaged by critics upon release, and Dunaway even made claims that the film managed to ruin her career -- although Supergirl probably didn't help much either.
In Frank Perry's over the top masterpiece, Dunaway was a dead ringer for Crawford, and she is as scary as any movie monster when she gets going on one of her rages -- while chewing the scenery to shreds. So whether it was walloping little Christina with a wire hanger, or chopping down trees with an ax in a ball gown, the lady is just straight out bonkers. But even though I'm not afraid of her anymore, she does remain as one of my favorite movie villains of all time.
After the jump; Christina fights back and one of the many moments of unintentional comedy...
What would any tribute to Mommie Dearest be without a nod to the scene that inspired drag queens the world over? Not to mention it was probably responsible for decreasing sales of wire hangers for years to come.