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movie reviewsDie Mommie Die

Starring: Charles Busch, Jason Priestly, Frances Conroy, Philip Baker Hall , Natasha Lyonne and Stark Sands
Directed by: Mark Rucker


Die Mommie Die is one of the funniest films of the year! Mind you it sure isn't the usual toilet-trodden road-trip snorfing anti-cerebral crapitini we are force fed through over paid post pubescent paper dolls with a four pack of acting lessons tucked in their designer belt. No siree Bob.

DMD is the brainchild of Drama Desk Award recipient, drag performer and theater veteran Charles Busch. Here Chuck's managed to spin a web of genres from noir to those silly sixties breasty bimbo coupling farces back to the eye-brow perpetually erect melodrama with a loving pinch of something thoroughly modern. The whole kooky cast stitches together so superbly, Edith Head would be proud.

And speaking of Edith Head, the costume designers Michael Bottari and Ronald Case have truly out done themselves with Charles Busch's (aka Angela Arden) glorious Hollywood glam gam shaping ensemble…stunning.

Story goes… Angela Arden - Sussman (Charles Busch) ex-glamour queen and aging songbird of Tinsletown has taken on a young buff lover named Tony Parker (Jason Priestly) to drown her woes of age's ravage and boost her sagging…libido.

However, her powerful, if out-of-style filmatically, producer husband Sol Sussman (Philip Baker Hall) finds out and decides to torture the great dame by forcing her to stay married - a clipping of the songbird's wings and a most definate kind of mental final straw for the diva extraordinaire's delicate ego. The sequined bobbles are gonna fly now...

Meanwhile the Sussmans' offspring are right out of the Betty Ford clinic's roaster of spoiled rich kids gone meshuga. The girl, Edith (Natasha Lyonne), has a wee bit of the "daddy's girl" complex within a ditzy Sandra Dee styled shell. She also has the spine of a scorpion when it comes to her mommie dearest. The son, Lance (Stark Sands) is sexually confused - or rather just confused. To squaresy fairsy, Lance hates his father almost as much as Sis hates mommie…or does he…

The family maid, Bootsie (Frances Conroy) is loyal to Sol and will do anything to keep the madam's hands off his neck…anything.

Naturally everyone's got a deep dark secret worthy of page one of the tabloids. DMD is a heapin' helping of Hollywood send-up, but not cartoony. Writer and star Charles Busch along with director Mark Rucker obviously love the older, more openly hedonistic blueprint of Hollywood's nobility, and they lovingly painted these colorful characters upon their extravagant canvas. Both hail from theater - and it shows. Intimate scenes played straight during absurdity deliver laughs so hard you'll whack your head on the chair in front of you if your not careful.

Charles Busch owns the film - hands down - as he struts and vogues ala Betty Davis and tantrums ala Joan Crawford. His impeccable performance shoots straight into your heart. This is no run-of-the-gin mill drag chick campy up the legends. Busch adores these somewhat troubled women of fame from the fuzzy lens pre-laser smooth plastic surgery era and the film shines for it. It's an award winning performance kids.

But, his fellow cohorts are also oozing talent and each nails the subtle underlying punch the film carries.

Jason Priestly is far from the Izod© wearing Beemer sporting goody goody whose skin he frolicked in for years. He wears smarmy like it's a new fragrance by Calvin Klein - bravo! And when exactly did this guy get so friggitini slurpable? I'd like to check his hood for fluid levels I tell you…purr!

Philip Baker Hall is always special. Here he delivers the "producer" character with just enough soul to make him likeable - even when he's the unwilling recipient of a twelve inch phallic shaped suppository…or cooing, err, cuddling, err, hanging with his "daughter."

Both Natasha Lyonne and Frances Conroy manage to keep straight faces as they deliver Busch's dialog and subtly work our psyche. Wonderful work.

And this "new comer" Stark Sands (not to be confused with Rider Strong or any or the other semi-porn named youngin' about town) is one to watch for. He's got the looks, the spark and the talent all bottled up in one helluva candy coated shell of manyum!

Did Mommie Die, un beau film légèrement bleu d'humeur babe. What are you waiting for doll? Get out and roll into this shindig!

Snack recommendation: Scotch straight up.

A Sundance Film Series, Film - watch out for this group's selections - they know film.
See a slide show on the costumes in an article on Bottari and Case here->


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