Just finished a revelatory chronological viewing, over several days, of the seven features written (or co-written), starring and directed by…
No Actual Mothers Were Harmed During The Making Of This Motion Picture.
After two failed marriages a science fiction writer decides that coming to terms with his mother will improve his chances for a successful relationship, so he moves in with her.
Its jokiness occasionally gets the better of it but the principal pleasure here is, of course, the jokes - not all of them outright knee-slappers but the sheer abundance of them, and the lack of pretense or apology in their presentation, is literally marvelous. All the untidy emotional business, which Brooks ties up sitcom-tight with an abrupt and unsatisfying finale, would make fertile soil for an Apatow-helmed reboot starring Leslie Mann in the titular role.
The scene in the supermarket with the two old ladies and the ten dollar jelly is like the genital mutilation scene from Antichrist as directed by David Lynch, with all the genitals replaced by expensive jam.
Also: Is it just me or was Rob Morrow never really good at acting like a human being?
Albert Brooks is a writer in an Albert Brooks film. Well, after seeing The Muse and even Looking for comedy in the Muslim World that doesn't really come as a surprise to me, nor does it surprise me that I would like one of his films. There is just something to the way he always puts himself down (and subsequently picks himself up again) that really works for me.
In Mother Albert Brooks plays a recently divorced writer (his second divorce actually) who realizes that many of his issues with women and life in general seem to stem from his relationship with his mother. He decided to tackle the problem head on and moves back in with her in order…
Psh his mother is SO TAME compared to my relatives! However, that rewritten "Mrs Robinson" was everything!
I can watch Albert Brooks complain about anything for hours
Having already seen Modern Romance, Lost in America and Defending Your Life I had really big expectations for this one. Though the film was far from awful, I did find myself a bit let down. It was nowhere near as funny as all the films that preceded it. Part of this I want to blame on the audio mix. There's a lot of dead air. More score might have helped. But the unexpected and touching conclusion this film makes really took me by surprise and made me like it a lot more.
Low key but wonderful humour.
Certainly enjoyable but that ending is far too pat and cheery given the earlier material.
This one's pretty bad.
Debbie Reynolds is great in this. Unfortunately, writer/director Albert Brooks is the only person in the world who doesn't know her character isn't a moron. He writes her as a real, complex person and Reynolds does great work with the part. But there are several scenes that are about the same lame joke, over and over again: old people are so clueless. The whole point of the film is that Mother has an internal life that the son didn't know about, but it still can't resist these one note jokes about how she can't work the buttons on her phone. They felt unfair to me, and entirely uninteresting.
I would have preferred to see a movie from her perspective. She's living her life when her son moves back in with her. Make it about the ways he's inconveniencing her, not the ways he's being put out. It's her house, asshole.
It's funny, I enjoyed myself and I liked the film more than the rating would suggest, the shopping mall and supermarket scenes are great, but the film didn't quite have a middle and as a result the ending really suffers.
Probably the weakest of the Albert Brooks films so far in my chronological marathon, but only because it also feels like the most structurally conventional (Defending Your Life is probably as conventional, but the conceit so cleverly executed that it hides it). The screenplay can't quite hold together, with some huge gaps in logic and some fast paced character changes, and the final reveal is pretty dumb, but the chemistry between a very funny Brooks and a revelatory Reynolds make it all watchable.
Never work with children, animals or Debbie Reynolds. She's an old trouper who totally steals this show.
I don't know how someone couldn't like this movie. It's such an enjoyable comedy that has something meaningful to say. After most comedies, even some of my favorites don't really have a 'moral'. Which is fine, not every movie need to have a strong point to make.
The point in this movie doesn't really bog it down though and is something that feels like is rarely discussed. Father/Son, Sisters, Brothers, Mother/Daughter are all much more heavily explored then Mother/Son. While this movie is hardly a thorough review of all mother and son relationships, it does a great job of showing the two react to one another.
Albert Brooks here, feels more fitting as someone who should be in the spotlight.…
Streaming with Madison
Probably Brooks' funniest moment to moment, but not even close to the Real Life - Lost in America run when it comes to thematic insights, in fact, there really aren't any besides "its hard to find a middle ground between loathing your parents and overly depending on them."
Trivia: Nancy Reagan almost got the Debbie Reynolds role, grateful that didn't happen, that might've been a very tall hurdle to clear.
Complete list. :-(
Not on Letterboxd:
Unreachable Homeless (Klaus Wyborny)
The Red Tapes (Vito Acconci)
Mindfall parts 1 and 7 (Hollis Frampton)