Sunday, May 13, 2018

5 Movies You DON'T Want to Watch for Mother's Day

Many movie buffs enjoy watching movies with their mothers. As a result, watching films is an activity many engage on Mother's Day. For every A Tree Grows In Brooklyn (1945), I Remember Mama (1948), or Sounder (1972), however, there are those films that just aren't suited to viewing with Mom on what is supposed to be her day. Here are five movies you probably don't want to watch with your mother on Mother's Day.

Mildred Pierce (1945): Don't get me wrong. Mildred Pierce (played by Joan Crawford) is not a bad mother. About the worst thing that can be said about her is that she perhaps spoils her children. In fact, she may have spoiled Veda (played by Anne Blyth) too much. Veda is every parent's worst nightmare: a daughter who resents and hates her mother and appreciates nothing she does for her. Given the mother-daughter dynamic in the film, one might not want to watch this with Mom (at least not on Mother's Day).

Notorious (1946): Madame Sebastian (Leopoldine Konstantin) is not mentioned often on lists of bad mothers in movies, but there is every reason she should be. As if being a dedicated Nazi wasn't enough, she insists on dominating her son's life and resents his relationship with Alicia (played by Ingrid Bergman) even before the truth is revealed. Of course, once Madame Sebastian knows the truth about Alicia, she suggests poisoning her. One thing is certain. Madame Sebastian probably never won the Mother of the Year award!

Psycho (1960): From the movie Psycho we learn surprisingly little about Norma Bates, but it is perhaps enough that she raised Norman Bates (played by Anthony Perkins) to qualify as a bad mom. In fact, from Norman's behaviour it would appear their relationship was Oedipal in the exreme. Of course, while we learn very little about Norma Bates in Psycho, from the various sequels and prequels that have followed we learn that, in fact, she was a very bad mother.... Regardless of any explanations, those who have seen Psycho know all too well one reason it wouldn't be suitable for Mother's Day viewing...

The Manchurian Candidate (1962):  If it were up to me, Eleanor Iselin (played by Dame Angela Lansbury) would top the list of every "Worst Mothers on Film". "Domineering and "manipulative" don't even begin to describe Eleanor. "Power mad" doesn't even seem enough to describe her. In fact, what can one say about a woman who wilfully uses her own son for her own ends and those of her cause? Dame Angela Lansbury gives a bravura performance in the role, made all the more remarkable by the fact that she was only three years older than the man playing her son (Laurence Harvey).

Rosemary's Baby (1968): Like Mildred Pierce, this is a movie where the problem isn't so much the mother as it is the offspring. Unless you happen to literally be the spawn of Satan, I don't think one necessarily wants to watch Rosemary's Baby for Mother's Day....


Caftan Woman said...

I think you are onto something here. Unless you are having an UnMothersDay Party (like the Mad Hater's Unbirthday Party).

Indeed, they don't come any worse than the Nazi and the Commie.

Her first year at college, my daughter phoned me during lunch and I could hear the voices of classmates shouting movie titles in the background. She had one question: "What was the movie with the awful daughter?" I thought she couldn't possibly mean a classic movie. I underestimated animation students. They were trying to come up with Mildred Pierce though the lady and movie eluded them. Best lunchtime phone call ever!

Gary R. Peterson said...

Don't be the guy who went to Blockbuster to rent I REMEMBER MAMA and grabbed I DISMEMBER MAMA (1972). Close enough, right?

Caftan Woman, I thought you were thinking of THE BAD SEED (1956). Daughters don't get much more awful than that! Oh, wait, Lizzie Borden's mother has a compelling contender for "awful daughter" worthy of consideration.

Good post and public service message, Terence.

Terence Towles Canote said...

Thanks, Gary! If I do another post like this next year, I'll definitely include I Dismember Mama and The Bad Seed.

That is a funny story, Caftan Woman! Your daughter reminds me of my mother trying to remember certain films and TV shows (Alfred Hitchcock Presents for her was always "the show with the old British man").