Die Mommie Die! DVD: Review By Dodd

  • Feature
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
Writer/actor Charles Busch plays Angela Arden, a washed-up starlet who lives a lavish lifestyle thanks to her emotionless marriage to Hollywood exec, Sol Sussman (Philip Baker Hall). Longing for her former stardom and her actor/gigolo lover Tony Parker (Jason Priestley), Angela decides to liberate herself by coating her husband's suppository with a deadly poison. She isn't able to get away with murder when her daughter (Natasha Lyonne), her hippie son (Stark Sands), and her nosy housekeeper (Frances Conroy) begin to suspect foul play.

This film is a rare little treat. It isn't one of the best films I have had the chance to see, but it stands out from mainstream Hollywood fare thanks to its unique style. Die Mommie Die is a comedy that pokes fun at ridiculously overdramatic soap operas from the 60's by being just that: ridiculously overdramatic. I found this gag extremely funny until it began to wear thin by the middle of the film. Fortunately, the film also benefits from a range of mature, contemporary gags that are awkwardly placed in the old-fashioned setting. Topic examples include homosexuality, hardcore love affairs, and LSD trips. I suppose it is a lot like Far From Heaven, except with the intention of being funny.

A major applause for the casting job. I wondered why exactly a man such as Charles Busch had to be chosen to play the lead role of Eve Arden, and I now see why. It takes a talented female impersonator to channel the deep-voiced, sultry spirits of Katherine Hepburn and Bette Davis to create Eve. Busch is a total hoot and steals the show. Jason Priestley is also fun as an old school playboy who can't seem to not have sex with every character in the film. I don't want to forget mentioning newcomer Stark Sands as Eve's strangely feminine son. Unfortunately, the marvelously talented Frances Conroy of Six Feet Under does not have as much screen time as she deserves.

Die Mommie Die is a feature presented by Sundance, and I always expect great things from that company. The film did not keep me engaged or in stitches as much as I wanted it to, but I admire it for being bold and trying something different. This nostalgic flick is not something that will please all moviegoers and is definitely not for all tastes, but that is generally the case with experimental projects.
Wow, there is actually a lot here for a film with little popularity such as this.

Commentary with Director Mark Rucker, Writer/Actor Charles Busch, and Actor Jason Priestley

Very informative commentary track for fans of the film. These guys do what everyone should do in a commentary track: not shut up. Busch and Rucker are especially optimistic and have a keen eye for detail as the film rolls.

Director's Introduction

A very brief, minute-long clip of director Mark Rucker describing what he makes of the film. Kind of pointless, but better to have too many extras than none.

Sundance Channel "Anatomy of a Scene: Die Mommie Die!"

I love the way that Sundance Channel plugs great indies with this recurring series. This insightful special talks about the film's sources such as the film noir genre and femme fatales. Like other episodes of the series, it focuses on a memorable scene from the film. A very good extra feature that will please those interested in the filmmaking process.

"Why Not Me?" Music Video

A montage of scenes from the film accompanied by Charles Busch singing a tune with trippy visual effects. Probably worth skipping.

Deleted Scene: Angela Sees Herself

A 30-second scene that does not add significance to the film.

Theatrical Trailer

Sales Trailer

A very slick trailer that probably would have gotten more people in the theater seats opposed to the over-the-top theatrical trailer.

"Why Not Me?" Performance by Charles Busch"

We already heard the song the first time! Give it a rest. Sheesh!

Charles Busch Screen Tests

Not very exciting. Especially when the soundtrack is not included.

Photo Gallery

Photos from the set of the film and of rejected poster ideas.

Costume Doc*ments, Biographies, and Production Notes

All in a downloadable PDF format for DVD-ROM drives.

Sundance Channel Previews
Anamorphic widescreen; demonstrates crispness in both black and white, and Technicolor-esque scenes.
Dolby Digital Surround Sound will probably sound superb on the right system. The film sounded very clear on my Harman/Kardon PC speakers.
This is a very clever comedy with lots of glitz and glamour. The biggest flaw is that the joke of overexaggerated acting gets a little old. I still give credit to Charles Busch for adapting this film from his stage play, and playing a sultry vixen with great skill.

I would recommend this film for open-minded enthusiasts who enjoy independent film, or have an understanding of the older genres being spoofed here. The typical blockbuster moviegoer may be a little lost and confused with this film. Die Mommie Die did not leave a huge impression on me, but I still find it bold and entertaining. Rent it today!

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