Throw Momma from the Train

“She’s not a woman, she’s the Terminator…”

Just because we’re called Best of the 80s doesn’t mean we don’t like stuff from other decades, too.

Take the 50s for example. One of our favorite movies first hit screens in 1951–– the high-tension, super-suspenseful Strangers on a Train, directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The tale of a man who approaches another with the idea of a criss-cross murder, it still holds up today as one of Hitchcock’s best.

…but even THAT brings us back to the 80s, thanks to the directorial debut of Danny DeVito–– 1987’s Throw Momma from the Train.

Inspired by (but not a remake of) Strangers, Throw Momma… pairs DeVito with Billy Crystal in a black comedy for the ages.

Crystal is Larry Donner, a recently-divorced writer who’s more than a little bitter at his ex Margaret (“Slut! She’s a slut! Look at her! Slut!”) for stealing one of his manuscripts and becoming a best-selling author. One of Larry’s creative writing students, Owen Lift (DeVito), is a loser who still lives at home with his overbearing Momma, played by Anne Ramsey (Mama Fratelli to you and me).

After Larry suggests Owen watch Hitchcock to learn how to write good suspense, Owen checks out Strangers on a Train and mistakenly takes it as a hint from Larry that they should do a criss-cross murder of their own–– Owen will kill Larry’s ex, Larry will kill Owen’s mother.

But after Owen does his part (poor Margaret never saw it coming), Larry finds out and realizes what a nut-job Owen is… until he meets Owen’s mom for himself.

Throw Momma from the Train (if it’s been a while, it’s well-worth a repeat viewing) is one of those movies that slipped by the wayside in the 80s, but true fans will quickly point out how well it holds up. DeVito’s direction borrows from both Hitchcock and The Three Stooges equally (Crystal takes a cast iron frying pan to the head like no one’s business), and Ramsey’s even more awesomely-cranky than she was in The Goonies.

Throw Momma from the Train did pretty well in the box office–– earning almost $60m and finishing its run as the #13 movie of 1987.

It’s not often than a movie about double murder has a happy ending set on a Hawaiian beach, but dammit–– that’s part of why we ♥ it so much.

We ♥ Throw Momma from the Train.

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~ by weheart80s on July 30, 2012.

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