Friday, February 06, 2009

"Fried Green Tomatoes" (1991) - Movie Review

What an ordeal “Fried Green Tomatoes” turned out to be. It not alone becomes a tear jerker with obvious amateur acting and screenplay but also turns sick to your stomach in the end. This has been the most horrible film I have seen in recent times and I am wondering how come it made it to the Academy Awards. And how did Jessica Tandy from “Driving Miss Daisy” yesterday went deep down into this horrendous film. Am I dreaming or did I miss something in this film that I could not stand the two hours and eighteen minutes of this boring, sappy and uneventfully vacuous of a film.

The film is that story said by the old woman, in this case Jessica Tandy as Ninny to a visitor for another patient in the retirement home. The visitor is Evelyn (Kathy Bates) an obese woman trying hard to pep up her dull marriage with Ed (Gailard Sartain). Ninny is that cherubic grandma who weaves the stories of some long and courageous characters and never knows what the end is going to be. Well the story Ninny is going to say, we know where it will go and how many times they have to say that Idgie (Mary Stuart Masterson) the young tomboy gets arrested for the murder of one Frank Bennett (Nick Searcy)? Well, because then you keep on wondering how this lovely little woman come to murder that man and oooh you have a suspense. Dumb, pretty dumb I say.

Anyways, up grows little Idgie with her big brother Buddy (Chris O’Donnell) whom she loves. Then comes the tragedy when Buddy gets killed in a train while trying to rescue the sweet hat of his teen crush Ruth (Mary Louise Parker). If you think I am insensitive in giving this detail in a very cold but darkly comic tone, the film carries the same in the end which is not so funny and plainly disgusting. Anyways, you would presume that Idgie would be blaming Ruth for the brother’s demise as she grows up to be the rebellious woman. But no, that is not the angle director Jon Avnet takes from the story adapted from the novel of the same name by Fannie Flagg. Ruth is asked to talk some sense in to Idgie who drinks and dresses shabbily roaming with people who does not go to church as a concerned mother would put it. Instead Ruth is mighty impressed with the freedom Idgie has fun with. Clearly both of them develop a crush on each other and the signs of them in being lesbians are more than obvious. But for some reason though it is hushed which understandably is fine for the times the film takes place and the Hollywood not ready for a “Brokeback Mountain” I believe.

Either ways what annoyed me the most are these manipulative characters acting upon each other with nothing but a writer’s imagination gone bad. With one drunken night Ruth is in the charms of Idgie. While they are in the age of shedding innocence, how come there is no sustainable and solid evidence of any possible real kind of conversation happening in between these two in later part of their life? The problem of race in the Southern Alabama where the films seem to run easily is overdone and quite frankly unbelievable.

Then what is the deal with Evelyn going nuts on this Idgie character? Such a fine actor Kathy Bates derails in to this chaotic Evelyn who loses herself first to the low self esteem and self conscious of her appearance into this unpredictable rage monger and ready to pummel anyone who would wrong her. Soon Evelyn makes regular visit to the retirement home to hear the stories of Idgie from the Ninny. Now there is no reference of Ninny in the story she tells even though it is said as if she saw in first person. That means? Oh, Come on.

I am going to spill the beans of the end about this whole mystery in the murder of Frank Benett and if any one has interest in seeing the film can skip this para. I am going to let the people who have seen the film correct me if I am wrong, but did Idgie and the crew of Big George (Stan Shaw) and Sipsey (Cicely Tyson) dispose the body of Frank by barbecuing him and hold on for the worst, feed him to the very same police officer who comes looking for him? If that is nauseating, it is how Evelyn and Ninny laughs about it in the present day which would question whether these characters are real at all or if so, how come the director after so much effort in sappiness and emotional prop placements wants us to sympathize and cherish them? I might spend another para on ranting about this but “Fried Green Tomatoes” does not deserve a para more.

No comments: