Archives for posts with tag: Kathy Bates

If there was ever a role that seemed to have been created just for Susan Sarandon, it’s that of Nora Baker in “White Palace” (1990). You see, the thing about Sarandon is that both you and she know there’s plenty of women more beautiful than her, but her attractiveness strikes at a visceral level that you can’t understand or resist. So having her play a redneck St. Louis waitress to James Spader’s uptight Jewish yuppie is a no-brainer. Unfortunately, this rom-com lacks in com and while it presents interesting questions about class and privilege, the answer is clumsy and derivative.

It doesn’t take an effing genius to figure out “Bad Santa 2” (2016) wouldn’t be as good as the original because Bernie Mac is effing dead, so is John Ritter, and Heather Graham must have been too effing busy to answer the phone. Half the main characters (Santa-suited safe cracker Billy Bob Thornton, elf Tony Cox, clueless Brett Kelly) are back, but that’s just not enough. There was something about the original that made its degenerate nature a guilty pleasure. This one has too much dirty and not enough whimsy. Like a 21-year-old Thurman Merman, the effing innocence is gone.

Before we start talking about the movie, let’s face facts. Jessica Lange is batshit crazy. So her great “acting” playing all those mentally ill characters may not be acting after all. That being said, “Men Don’t Leave” (1990) is a quirky look at how the death of a spouse turns a normal American family upside-down. Since Lange is playing herself as the depressed, crazy mom, the supporting players (Arliss Howard, Chris O’Donnell) are far more interesting. Best of all is Joan Cusack as a cougariffic x-ray technician with a heart of gold. Joan Cusack, I would carry you two miles.