Of all the film genres, I think melodrama is possibly the most complex, yet it’s frequently down-sized because on the surface it’s not as “cerebral” as some of the more action-oriented dramas. I contend that a good story resonates with you long after you’ve seen it because there are multiple layers, and that every time you watch it, you pick up on something new. I’ve blogged before that I love any and all Schwarzenegger movies, but they aren’t exactly thinkers.
Terms of Endearment (1983) – One on hand, it’s a classic tear jerker, but on the other hand it’s kind of a comedy. Shirley McClaine stars as Aurora, a rigid and unyielding mother who watches her daughter, Emma (Debra Winger), marry the wrong man and move away to pursue his dreams. Despite Aurora’s abrasive attitude, she’s no Joan Crawford in Mommy Dearest – instead she’s more like a voracious mother bear protecting her cubs. Aurora’s relationship with her next door neighbor, a sleazy, boozy, and aging astronaut played by Jack Nicholson, provides levity to the reality that Emma is eventually diagnosed with terminal cancer. Because Shirley McClaine and Debra Winger are so good, it’s easy to forget that there is a really strong supporting cast with Jeff Daniels, Jack Nicholson, John Lithgow, and Danny DeVito.
It swept the Oscar’s that year, and yet I feel like it’s never listed in the “Classics” lists I looked at all year when picking my classic movie of the month. What’s up with that?
I will do a full recap of all of 2014 Classic Movies later today!