Larry Donner is an author and writing professor who tutors people that want to write books. Larry's life has become a misery when his ex-wife Margaret has published a book he wrote under her name and has gotten rich over it. Owen Lift, one of Larry's students, offers Larry to kill Margaret, and in return Owen, wants Larry to kill his horrible mother. Larry thinks it's a joke, until he learns Owen killed his ex-wife. And Larry has now become the prime suspect. Written by
Danny DeVito once noted in an interview with Playboy Magazine that the scene where Owen shows his coin collection to Larry, was inspired by his childhood habit of sharing things with friends that involved whatever he was into at the time. It was his insistence as a director to include a sequence like this in the movie. Writer Stu Silver then wrote the scene. See more »
When Owen serves Larry breakfast, he takes the jelly jar in his left hand and starts to grab the spreading knife with his right. Mrs. Lift yells from the other room, and in the next shot, Owen reacts, now holding the already-jellied toast in his left hand. See more »
[She changing the channel to news]
The ex-husband of missing novelist: Margaret Donner is wanted for questioning, but has now himself disappeared... If you have any information regarding his whereabouts of Mr. Donner, please contact your local police department.
[turns to Owen]
OWEN! There's a murderer in the house!
[gets up and calls the police]
Hello, police? I found him! The wife murderer! He's here!
Give me the phone! Give me the phone!
[plugs the phone out]
I found him, the wife murderer!
See more »
The credit for Assistant Sound Editor Robert Martel has a gap in the vertical stroke of the L. See more »
Billy Crystal is Larry, a writer who hasn't written and is suspected of murder in "Throw Momma from the Train," costarring Danny Devito and Anne Ramsey. The phrase "black comedy" was invented for this insanity, which is a take-off on Hitchcock's "Strangers on a Train." In fact, Owen (Devito) gets the idea of having Larry kill his mother in exchange for Owen killing Larry's ex from watching that famous film. "I saw the movie. Criss-cross," Owen tells Larry. Not that Larry knows what he's talking about until it appears it's too late - just like "Strangers." Larry, a writing teacher, claims that his ex-wife, played by Kate Mulgrew, stole his book and put her name on it. She has become a big celebrity, appearing on "Oprah," where she refers to Larry as "a beast." Owen is in Larry's class. He lives with an abusive Neanderthal mother (Ramsey) and has visions of poisoning her, sticking a scissors in her head - you name it. It's not long after seeing "Strangers on a Train" that he's in Honolulu, stalking Larry's wife. While she's leaning over a boat railing trying to get an earring, Owen stands behind her and creeps up...Soon the police are looking for Larry to question him, but he's at Owen's where he's being encouraged to live up to his end of a bargain he had no idea he made. You know, "criss-cross." There are several scenes copied from "Strangers," which are hilarious. I especially loved Larry's confession to the sleeping Mrs. Lift, Owen's mother, similar to when Guy thinks he's talking to Bruno's stepfather.
Crystal and DeVito are complete masters of comic dialogue and timing and will leave you laughing, often out loud. Ramsey is repulsively funny - a totally "out there" performance. Kim Griest and Rob Reiner also have roles - Griest is Crystal's girlfriend, and Reiner has what amounts to a cameo.
The ending is very clever, and the whole film will leave you laughing.
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