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The 100




Crazy Mama
(1975)
Reviewed by Brendan McBride
Rating: 6.5 Beans

od bless "The Movie Channel!" Their dilemma: How do we live up to our promise to run non-stop movies when we don't have the viewerhsip or cash of say an "HBO" or "Showtime" and can only afford one or two good movies a day? Easy, run a whole lotta crap. But one man's crap is another man's entertaining crap.

On a study break at my friend Noelle's apartment we decided to flip on "TMC" and see what drek they were serving up. Imagine our delight when we found that we were watching the opening credits of "Crazy Mama." I knew we were in for quite a ride when top billing went to Cloris Leachman ("My Boyfriends Back", "Beverly Hillbillies"). That rose to the level of glee when Donny Most's name appeared (that's right, Ralph Malph of "Happy Days") and Jim Backus (Mr. Howell and Mr. Magoo).

The plot is fairly standard mid-seveties fare with a twist. In the opening scene, Grandpa loses his homestead and his life on account of a no-good banker! Twenty years later, three generations of women from his Arkansas family: Melba (Leachman), Sheba (Ann Sothern), and Cheryl (Linda Purl) get involved in a lot of car chases during their cross country crime spree after the evil Mr. Albertson (played by Mr. How- er, I mean Backus) decides to foreclose. Sort of a "Thelma and Louise" with kind of an "Eat My Dust!" look and feel.

I initially thought that Leachman, as the defiant Melba, was the titular character. But upon discovering that the buxom Sheba was carrying Ralph Malph's baby, Noelle pointed out that maybe Sheba was the "Crazy Mama." Thought provoking, the art of film at its best!

The cast also includes a very young Bill Paxton in his big screen debut. By the way, Paxton's first job in the business, according to the Internet Movie Database, was as "set dresser" for "Big Bad Mama." Coincidence? You be the judge.






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