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Jonathan Demme directs this joyous relentlessly kitschy celebration of 50's America: opportunity, rock'n'roll, and the road. He follows three generations of women and the men they pick up, for a crime spree from California to the old family homestead in Arkansas. Written by
Concorde - New Horizons (with permission).
Just four years after winning an Oscar in THE LAST PICTURE SHOW, Cloris Leachman showed up in this Roger Corman produced flick where she followed in the footsteps of Shelley Winters (BLOODY MAMA) and Angie Dickinson (BIG BAD MAMA) as tough mother's stealing for a better life. In this film, Melba (Leachman), her mother and her teenage daughter travel from California to Arkansas after their beauty parlor is taken away from them. Along the way they encounter several men as well as one robbery after another. Director Jonathan Demme certainly took a story that had already been done to death and at least brought some new touches to it but in the end there's just no way around the fact that we've seen this thing too many times before. I think the best thing going for the film is the direction of Demme because he at least makes the thing feel very authentic and you really do get the feeling that you're in the 1950s. With this setting the director is able to not only make things look like the period but he also get a nice selection of music from this period. Leachman is certainly game for her part but the screenplay doesn't do her many favors. The supporting cast features familiar faces like Stuart Whitman, Sally Kirkland, Dick Miller and Donny Most who is best remembered for his role on Happy Days. The film contains some nice car crashes, some nudity and quite a bit of violence and especially for a PG rated film. CRAZY MAMA has a lot going for it but there's still no way around the fact that it doesn't offer us anything we haven't seen before in better pictures.
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