Well, it must be Monday because I’ve just finished a deeply-disappointing microwave burger and Tara is on the sofa, crushing my hip under her ample bottom, while I try and watch a film.
Thankfully, I adore this movie, so am more than able to shake off the impending fracture of my acetabulum and focus on Shirley MacLaine and Jessica Lange.
‘Wild Oats’ is the story of the recently widowed Eva (MacLaine), her daughter Crystal (Moore), and her best friend Maddie (Lange).
Loaded with sarcasm and some real truisms about love and loss, it packs a hell of a punch.
The chorus of “He’s in a better place,” is wickedly familiar, and the well-meaning, benign, but sweetly irritating people, who do their damnedest to help with things one isn’t ready for – this could be a scene from everybody’s life. With tighter dialogue.
We all need a friend like Jessica Lange; that buddy who will actually tell people to get out.
It strikes me with every funeral I’ve been to, there’s always been somebody who has been very keen to make that time of sombre suffering their moment to shine. It’s unlikely there will be a cull of people who fit into this category, so forewarned is forearmed. Don’t let them get to you.
Maddie’s husband has left her for a younger woman, and she’s slightly going to pieces in a café; Eva is trying and failing to order breakfast; the waitress is apologising for her friend, who, it transpires is the younger woman. Also, “Clarissa’s Twenty-Five Year Old Ass” should be the title of a book.
They’re having a heart to heart; it’s devastating. Desertion and illness, and thank the lord – Crystal and her husband have brought her mother a panic button, to give her direct contact to the ambulance service. Just in case. It’s like the curse of the cat woman. They’re sweet kids, but they’re more than a little condescending.
I suppose this counts as a chick flick. I’ve never really understood that term. There are, arguably, women in it. There are women in almost every film. In every country, if it comes to it. However, I’m pretty sure there are men with eyes who would like to see Jessica Lange.
I sometimes receive a smidge of criticism for showing chick-flicks at Movie Night. The reason for this is the men don’t show up. Movie Night is not aimed at any particular group; just people who can tolerate a drink and either don’t need much sleep, or don’t have an early start. The men rarely make an appearance unless they’ve been dragged in by their wives.
Okay, so I got a bit distracted there. Jessica Lange and Shirley MacLaine are attempting to make contact with the insurance company. The cheque has arrived, and is made out for an erroneous, grossly inflated amount. Automated phone lines are rich pickings for comedy.
They’re being brave and trying to deposit the cheque. Eva knows it’s not really the right thing to do. The policy was for $50,000. The cheque has been made out for $5million. She’s sure to get in trouble. Maddie eggs her on, but distances herself beautifully when the bank manager chases them down, only to tell them that the cheque has cleared.
“I have never seen this woman before in my life!” is a tremendous line.
Maddie’s plan for how she would spend the money sounds absolutely cracking. Who wouldn’t seek out mojitos on a beach until the end of time?
Shirley MacLaine looks so much better with red hair. The journey to the Canaries looks like fun. With the arrival of Billy Connolly as Lacey, I am immediately reassured; there’s something about him that puts me in mind of a travelling friend; perhaps not somebody you see very often, but the kind of person who always has stories of their latest adventure.
Hairy-backed men in speedos, and $27,428 on room service. And now I have a new ambition. I’ll let you guess which one it is.
So, Eva’s ready for bed, Maddie’s ready for another drink and Lacey takes them to a casino.
Jessica Lange making fart noises with her mouth and inner elbow is a sight to behold. If you’re not already loving the sound of this film, let that scene be an enticement. She has a look of accomplishment on her face, like a five year old who’s caused an embarrassment at a wedding.
Nine voicemails on Crystal’s phone because they’re trying to encourage her mother to text. No wonder they thought she needed the emergency bell.
Watching ‘Wild Oats’ I am suddenly struck by the pure and certain knowledge that ‘Sweet Charity’ was fifty years ago. How in the world is that even possible? Shirley MacLaine is simply astonishing.
If Eva and Maddie keep spending at the same rate, they’ll have spent all Eva’s actual money within fourteen hours. Another ambition. Not to spend all the money, but to spend mad money without a thought. I think a lot of people would do the same. Probably with more of a charitable conscience, at least until the mad money was a reality. Then frittering it away on the experience of a lifetime and good wine seems like just the ticket.
“Have you ever seen the movie, ‘The Graduate’?” may be the best pick-up line ever.
Eva is walking on a cloud and Maddie has broken her young man.
Watching this film, you’d think everyone was getting laid every minute of every day. And once again – ambition.
It’s a great film, fresh out in 2016, funny and uplifting – go and find it, I implore you.