Movies You Can’t Stop Watching or The Mommy Dearest Syndrome

Today I want to talk about something that I like to call The Mommy Dearest Syndrome.  You know what I mean.  We all have that movie (or five) that, if we happen to flip through and land on it accidentally, we can’t stop watching.

I have a few movies like this, the big gold medal winner being “Mommy Dearest.”  Call me crazy.  Now, I can’t say exactly what it is about this film… Is the acting so high-caliber that it sucks me in like a black hole?  No.  Do I have an unbridled obsession with Joan Crawford?  No, again.  Do I beat my kids with wire hangers for using said wire hangers, and the movie somehow validates my poor parenting choices?  Not at all.  Although I do like to scream “No wire hangers EVER!” at random and inappropriate times.  Who doesn’t?

But I could turn on the TV to check the weather before going out for a root canal and if Mommy Dearest happened to be sucking back G and Ts and introducing strange men to her kids as “Uncle” So and So, I’m in trouble.  Yeah, I’m making that call and canceling my appointment.  I’m eating the fifty dollar late cancellation fee.  I’m sucking back G and Ts to dull the throbbing pain of my abcessed tooth.  All during the commercial break, mind you, because the only channels that run “Mommy Dearest” are the ones with frequent and excessive commercial breaks and I don’t want to miss a second of it.  I’m already suffering from an inexplicable depression for coming in when my movie is half over.  Or maybe because there is still half to go.  I can’t say, really.  I’m getting that nauseous feeling just thinking about watching it now.

That’s okay.  I’ll take the multiple advertisement opportunities to thaw out a steak for dinner or check the kids closets.

By the way, I love the steak part.  I think about it every time I make my kids finish their dinner.  I thought about it a lot yesterday when my youngest’s granola bar he pestered me for (no, not pestered, he rode me like a trick pony until I finally got off my butt and gave it to him, and all five minutes after a dinner he barely ate because he was “tooooooo fullllll”) was sitting on the table overnight because, when he became “tooooooo fullllll” to finish that, I was like, “Oh, you’re full of something, alright” and I left it on the table for a pre-breakfast snack the next day.

That was a long sentence.  My apologies.  My point is, I am totally picking up what Joan is dropping in that scene.

And, just like Joan, I threw the damn thing out about twenty-four hours later when, beaten down, I simply gave up.

Frankly, I think she got a bad rap.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll make the children address me as Mommy Dearest for the day, just to try it on for size.

Another movie that I can’t turn away from is “Ghosts of Mars.”  Yeah, yeah, laugh if you will–I finally made my husband watch this one and he was all, “that wasn’t scary at all!”  But, in my defense, there is something chilling about people being overcome by some nasty entity that makes them psycho killers and causes them to stick barbs through their faces without even wincing.  It could happen to anyone!  Ooh!  That just reminded me of the movie “Fallen,” which is another one I can’t pass up when it’s on.  Fantastic flick.

Also, along a similar vein of gut-grabbing creepy is “28 Days Later” which I could watch over and over and over and still be pants-peeingly scared.

And finally, “The Departed.”  No need for explanation.  Okay, I will anyway.  Leo.

Warning: This video has many F bombs and one Indian in the Cupboard.

So, lay it on me.  I’m really curious to hear what flicks other folks can’t flip off.  Comment.  Comment now.  Ready, set, go.

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Kid Fears: What’s in Your Closet?

My dad was talking about his brother Gary at dinner the other evening.  We went to visit my parents on Saturday and stayed for Easter brunch (complete with copious mimosas) on Sunday.  The topic came up of things that scared us when we were kids.  He brought up “the lady in the closet” that his older brother used to frighten him with when he was little.  First he called her the witch in the closet and then recanted and said that Gary called her the lady in the closet.

My sisters and I decided that “the lady” was far more sinister sounding than “the witch” anyway.  The lady, for me, brings up flashback’s from The Shining and the woman in the bathtub.  A witch is pretty cookie-cutter as far as your visualization.  A lady could be anything, including a witch, but not crammed into just that tiny box.  She could be a zombie.  Or Joan Crawford with her wire hangers.  Or the other mother from Coraline.

Or Cruella  de Vil.  Or the witch from Hansel and Gretelwith her bad eyesight and hot oven, asking you to stick a finger out so she can feel how plump you are.  Or even Lady Gaga (added after she kept popping up in my pictures and I couldn’t figure out why, but, yeah, that would be a nightmare).

Gary died when he was in his twenties.  I think he and my father had only recently gotten to an age where they could be friends instead of an older brother who tormented his annoying, significantly younger sibling.  And then a wayward blast from a fire hose caught my dad’s brother and slammed him into a wall.

“I wish he was still here so I could yell at him for scaring the shit out of me with the lady in the closet,” my dad said the other night.  How awesome would that be?  I’d love to ask him how he pictured her and where he got the idea.  I’d love just to know him.

How about everyone else?  What monsters, clowns, or ladies skulked in your closets when you were young?  Me, I always thought there was some sinister robot out in the hallway because of the ticking of my clock.  Somehow, the noise always got incrementally louder to me, like the robot was getting closer, and closer, and infinitely closer, but never quite there until I was ready to pee myself.  He never showed up at my door, though.  Thank God.  Every time I had to run to the bathroom in the middle of the night I always half-expected to see his sharp metal teeth smiling at me when I opened the door.

Anyway, Childhood Nightmares: Under the Bed is due out in ten days.  I, for one, cannot wait to see what horrors  lurk between those pages.  I’m sure I’ll be up late into the night, reading to the sound of my ticking clock and trying to “hold it in” until the sun comes up.