Originally created 05/06/04

Don't know what to get Mom? Some films can inspire ideas



Sunday marks the first real Mother's Day in the Uhles house. Now, I'm not sure what daughter Ava, now a precocious 9-month-old, has in mind for her mommy's special day - perhaps a display of her Cheerio-eating prowess or a shiny new tooth - but I'd like to do something special for my now maternal wife. So, in search of inspiration, I've scoured the Reel Releases library for some of my favorite mama movies, each of which has inspired its own gift idea.

Check it out.

MOTHER (1996): I saw this movie in a small cinema in Bellingham, Wash., with my mother. It was sort of uncomfortable, because neo-neuroticist writer and director Albert Brooks' insightful understanding of the dynamic of mother/son relationships often struck awfully close to home. Still, I had to laugh at the protective ice cream ice layer and the broached grocery store conversations. It was almost as though the still razor-sharp Debbie Reynolds was channeling Mother Uhles' attributes.

GIFT IDEA: Five one-serving containers of gourmet ice cream and a silver spoon.

ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER (1999): Something of a meditation on the nature of motherhood, Spanish director Pedro Almodovar's comic drama takes three disparate characters, a single mother whose son is tragically killed, a pregnant nun and a nurturing transvestite, and uses them as vehicles to expound on his theme. What's remarkable about the film is Mr. Almodovar's ability to blend bright and beautiful visuals, sharp comedy and authentic pathos without letting any of them suffer.

GIFT IDEA: A Spanish/English dictionary and a picture of me in a dress.

BIG BAD MAMA (1974): This Roger Corman-produced Prohibition B-lister features Angie Dickenson as a loving mother who leads her two untamed daughters into a life filled with men, moonshine and other assorted mayhem. But of course, it's all done out of love. Look out for an appearance by a post-Capt. Kirk William Shatner, too.

GIFT IDEA: A "Get Out of Jail Free" card

PSYCHO (1960): Everyone has a different way of showing mom affection. For Norman Bates, the knife-wielding antagonist of Alfred Hitchcock's classic chiller, it's by slicing up motel guests.

To this day, Psycho remains perhaps the most twisted example of cinematic familial affection.

GIFT IDEA: Cutlery and all the space she needs.

THROW MOMMA FROM THE TRAIN (1987): Although Duplex and Death to Smoochy might have besmirched his reputation, there are few in Hollywood with a defter touch for dark comedy than Danny DeVito. In Throw Momma, he plays Hitchcock (Strangers on a Train) for laughs, portraying half of a pair of strangers who agree to rid the other of offending relatives. Billy Crystal plays his foil and the sadly forgotten Anne Ramsey the world's worst mother.

GIFT IDEA: I'm not sure, but it certainly won't be a train ticket.

Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or steven.uhles@augustachronicle.com.