Top 10 Awesome Moms
Over the course of my lifetime, I have been called many things. A bitch, a slut, a c*nt, the girlfriend most likely to be hated by all of her guy's friends, the ungrateful daughter, the flake, and most recently, the obnoxious, self-righteous fangirl. Out of everything that I've been called, the only term thrown at me that makes me do a double take and point at myself questioningly is "MOM!!" And for all the other people who have called me those above mentioned descriptives, that last is the one that makes them clutch their hearts and think, "Holy shit, SHE SPAWNED?" Yes, but not without purpose. Sometimes it gets me out of work duties ("I need to go pick up my daughter."), sometimes it gets me out functions I'd rather not attend ("Sorry, I couldn't get a babysitter.") and then sometimes it gets me another shot at guesting the Ten Spot. Keep in mind that I'm not the most conventional of mothers, so this list isn't about the best cinematic mothers of all times, just the ones who have helped guide my way through the murky waters of motherhood.
Lynn is so sweet and easy to forget when you consider that Phoebe Cates is standing around with that blank expression on her face, talking about her rotting corpse of a father stuffed down the chimney. She was the fair-weather homemaker attempting to be supportive of her husband and son, even when it was apparent that both of them were royal fuck-ups. As I grew into my role of being a mom I realized that I learned the first and most fundamental rule to keeping my household running smoothly. The family microwave. Best Mom line I've probably used: "Get out of my kitchen!!"
Let it be forever engraved in stone from this moment forward: Mama Fratelli was a top-notch mom. Her sons were all gravely loyal to her, even if she had to use favoritism in order to manipulate them to her will. There's nothing wrong with spending money on Francis' toupee so long as it meant that Jake would work himself into the ground trying to earn her approval. And while some might believe that chaining her youngest son, Sloth, to the wall was cruel and unusual, consider for a moment what a warm-hearted and lovable human-esque being that he turned into. I rest my case. Best Mom line I've probably used: "Kids suck."
The thing I hate most about endearing mom movies where the mother gets cancer is that she's usually loving, supportive and wonderful to the point of making the audience believe that there will be a void of goodness in the world when she dies. Not with Joy Burns. She torments the portion of her well-meaning clan who have to travel with her and manages to distress the daughter who is still fighting for her approval. Joy is everything that I would be if I were dying from cancer: pissed off and in need of a properly rolled joint. In the end, Joy teaches her children that it isn't someone else's approval that will make you a satisfied person, it's finding your own footing no matter how rocky the ground underneath. Best Mom line I've probably used: "That you stop." (After her singing daughter asks if anyone has any requests.)
While the cynic in me wants to say that I'm including Bonnie on here simply because I envy her hard-earned physique and classic sense of style, I'm going to be more heartfelt and cut the bullshit. Very rarely when I read about favorite mother characters do people remember that Bonnie was devoted to her family and her children were devoted to her in kind. Sure, they felt a great deal of obligation to be but ultimately I learned probably the most valuable lesson about being a parent from watching her unsightly body squeeze into the family car and be driven down to the station house to retrieve her arrested retarded son. No amount of potential personal embarrassment will keep you from protecting your child. Best Mom line I've probably used: "Ok, Sunshine, you can have hot dogs." (Substitute hot dogs for whatever junk food my daughter is pestering me for.)
The noteworthy thing about Lucy Emerson is less the character and more the fact that after minimal begging, my own mother took me to see this R rated vampire movie when I was 12. It's the last clear moment in my pre-teen memories where I considered my own mother to be remotely cool. I sat beside her wondering why she had no desire to move to a town near an amusement park where guys were as good looking as Jason Patric and the possibility of becoming a blood-sucker was very real. Fuck the TWILIGHT generation, I like my vampires without stifled sexuality, thank you very much. Plus, Lucy willingly and happily took a job as a video rental store clerk. Now that's a mom. Best Mom line I've probably used:"Do I look that needy?"
Normally, I'm not a Cher fan. I think I lack the right DNA. Seriously. I hear that scientists around the globe have gotten together to isolate a specific strand of DNA that makes you a Cher fan if you have it in your system. I might have grown up Cher resistant, but her portrayal of a flaky mother of two daughters whose solution to problems was finding the right man to screw and when that went belly-up, moving until she found another baloney pony to ride sounded like the kind of problem solving skill that I needed to learn if I was going to be a good mom. She dressed up for Halloween, didn't discount the less attractive nerd and for the most part meant well. Even if she castigated her daughter for becoming a version of herself. Best Mom line I've probably used:"Charlotte, I know you're planning a celibate life, but with half my chromosomes, I think that might be tough."
I was actually hugely pregnant with my daughter when this movie came out, filled to the brim with hormonal nonsense and Elaine Miller, aside from her needless neurotic beliefs about rock & roll music, reminded me of my own mom. Diligently supportive of her son's desire to pursue his writing career while putting constant stipulations on how she wanted him to achieve that is exactly my English Lit major, 8th grade English teaching mom. Sure, she wanted me to grow up and write if that's what my heart desired. Forseeing that I would be rambling about the minutia of cinematic factoids as a form of employment? Yeah, she's still catching up to the digital age of understanding that one. Best Mom line I've probably used:"Hey, hey, listen to me, mister. You're charm doesn't work on me - I'm on to you."
I guess you could say that Dianne Wiest was the the basic outline of what I figured a mom should be like if I ever got to the point in my life where growing a human being inside of me sounded like 40 weeks of entertainment. Helen Buckman wasn't what I originally intended on ending up like as a mom; her teen daughter got pregnant, her son despised her and she was divorced and a monument of family shame for having the audacity to own a vibrator. But as I inevitably grew up and learned, Helen Buckman might have been flawed, but she was stronger than Teflon when it came to holding her shit together when the tides ran rough. Best Mom line I've probably used:"Men say that. They all say that. Then they cum."
I can't mention one of the "born into it" Buckmans without making note of one of the "married into it" Buckmans. Watching PARENTHOOD for the first time, I didn't understand most of the humour, but I knew I wanted to grow up thin, soft-spoken and poised like Mary Steenburgen. I might have grown out of the idyllic mommy phase that us girl children are bred to believe we can aspire to, but I can't dismiss the power of the opposite side of what Helen brought to the table. Karen was filled with a supportive nature and a super-human tolerance level. I'm not, nor will I ever be like Karen. But it's nice to know that there are women out there in the world like her, balancing out the unconventional parenting that moms like me bring to the table. Best Mom line (my friend Lesley, who is most like Karen, has probably used):"If he got a scratch, we were hysterical. By the third kid, you know, you let them juggle knives."
When I grow up and become a mommy, I wanna be Teresa Gazelle because it means that I get to have Paul Walker give me a tongue bath in the middle of doing the laundry. Great dream for most American women. It's true that I was already a grown up mommy by the time that this movie was released, but it's never too late to give up on the dream of being Teresa, the tough mobster's wife who follows through on what every mother has voiced wanting to do when faced with the (spoiler scene) position that she ends up in. It's more than just the pivotal scene which makes the character, but it is also her lack of remorse over her choice of solution for the moral dilemma that makes me admire her all the more. Best Mom line that I've probably used: "I said back the fuck up, you sick, twisted, motherf*cking c*nt!"
Would you believe that I actually didn't have Sarah Connor on my list to begin with? I'm do it Law style and adding her in after reading the comments from earlier this week. Granted, there's no amount of crazy that I'd be willing to let myself get to where my child would be taken away from me. I'd keep that shit on the down-low. Yeah, kiddo, the end of humanity's coming and robots with German accents are to blame. Try not to let mommy get locked up and licked in the face, mmm'kay?Best Mom line I HAVE used: "Shut up! Shut up, shut up, SHUT UP! It's all your fault! Motherf*cker, it's all your fault! "
John Waters might have been having his usual prancing sense of spoof humour when he made this movie about a Stepford type wife and mother who takes great pride in her womanly duties but the overall message for me rings through all the belly-laughing hullabaloo. A real mom is willing to do anything (yes, anything) to protect her family. Plus she also makes time to call up and harass the neighbor who deserves it the most. Cocksucker residence? Can I find a great mom at 2-1-2-fuck-you? Best Mom line I HAVE used: "Umm, don't use words unless you mean them, Misty."
I'm an unconventional mom with a dedicated heart. My kid has top grades in her class, tests in the 99th percentile for her school in her grade, quotes from I LOVE YOU, MAN ("Slappin' da bass!") and lists Liz Phair's "Whip-Smart" as one of her favorite albums. And she's only 8 1/2 years old. Excuse me while I break my arm off at the shoulder to pat myself on the back harder. To think that I once believed it would be in the public's best interest that I never have kids.