Four men walked into a café in Whistle-Stop, Alabama, and a barbecue broke
out. None of them knew they were the ones who were going to be served hot.
“The secret is in the sauce,” the waitress hints to her customers.
Jon Avnet, the director of "Risky Business" and "Black Swan," may have
caved in to feminism when he gave us a movie about a jaded housewife and
life stories that take place in the South. The movie was "Fried Green
I’m the Ranting Usher. Let me talk you to your seat.
In my previous review, I talked about the way the film expressed themes of
strong friendship and how rare it was for female actors to play leading roles in
an early nineties motion picture. I decided to further explore the way men are
depicted in this film.
This is my Hindsight Review of "Fried Green Tomatoes."
Although it was never stated in the Special Features documentary, I wonder
whether or not coming off a divorce was what inspired Fannie Flagg to write
Whistle Stop Café, the novel the film was based on. She has a cameo as a
counselor who teaches an assertiveness class for women who are
dissatisfied in their marriages. Tell me that’s not a coincidence.
Fannie could have appeared in several scenes. She could have been an
extra at the café. That she chose to appear as a marriage counselor implies
that she took Fried Green Tomatoes very personal. It’s apparent in the way
she and director Jon Avnet showed how men are often the cause of
bitterness in romantic relationships.
When Ed Couch, (Gailard Sartain) grabs his plate and brings it into the living
room to watch the game instead of sitting at the table with his love-starved
wife, Evelyn, played by Kathy Bates, it’s easy to presume these struggles are
more than fictional. Is it any wonder What Becomes of the Broken-Hearted and
Stop In the Name of Love are practically Evelyn’s theme-songs?
“I’m worried about my little friend, Evelyn,” Ninny Threadgoode says to an
orderly in the nursing home, “she says her husband, Ed, would just be sitting
around watching his sports on TV…and she has an urge to hit him in the head
with a baseball bat.”
“Oh hell, that sounds normal to me,” the orderly replies.
Evelyn later spots a headline featured in a tabloid at a grocery store that
shouts “WIFE KILLS HUSBAND AND SELLS BODY PARTS TO ALIENS.”
Granted, Ruth and Idgie’s story in Whistle-Stop, Alabama during the 1930’s and
Evelyn Couch’s character arc in the nineties are meant to parallel one
another, but this is a pretty outlandish way of doing it.
As if a biased attitude toward men isn’t quite blatant enough, Frank Bennett
(Nick Searcy) seems to enjoy giving his pregnant wife black-eyes and kicking
her down a flight of stairs. Reasons for his abusive behavior are never
divulged in the movie.
That’s just the way he is.
I understand men are written as antagonistic in order to empower their female
counterparts, although I think filmmakers might have gone a bit overboard.
Men are stubborn, inconsiderate and cruel. We get it. So, is it necessary to
keep rubbing it in the viewer’s faces? Even the minor characters are
unlikeable. For instance, a young punk is rude to Evelyn for no apparent
reason while she is purchasing her groceries. He shoves her aside and
verbally berates her.
When a Georgia lawyer badgers Idgie in court, asking her if she truly expects
him to believe her testimony, she retorts. “That’s right, you gump-faced, blown
up, baboon nosed bastard.”
She unleashed Towanda on his ass. Towanda was a term Ruth and Idgie used
to justify saying or doing something reckless.
Admittedly, some male characters are decently portrayed. While they are not
given much screen time, they’re contributions are memorable and endearing.
Buddy Threadgoode, played by Christ O’Donnell, tries to cheer up his sister by
sharing a fable about how God turns an ordinary oyster into a radiant pearl by
inserting a grain of sand into it. Big George, who is more or less Idgie’s
bodyguard, is the only one who knows how to comfort her after her brother is
killed by a train. Smokey Lonesome, a recovering alcoholic, carries a picture
of Ruth to the grave with him. According to Ninny, he loved Ruth from the
moment he saw her.
You may be wondering why I praised this movie in my initial review. Well, to
be perfectly honest, it tells two profound and emotional stories that you don’t
see in movies these days. The evolution of Ruth and Idgie’s friendship is so
rich and engrossing it’s hard to take your eyes away from them. Also, the way
Evelyn is influenced by them is heartily entertaining and amusing.
TOWANDA STRIKES AGAIN!!!
Yes, there’s a lot of male-bashing that goes on. However, the film
compensates for that by making you care about what’s going to happen to
Ruth and Idgie. You want to see Evelyn learn from them. You want to see her
infuse their values into her own life and salvage her marriage.
If the women weren’t so carefully developed, if they weren’t so well-rounded,
it would have been nearly impossible for the male demographic to appreciate
this movie, much less sit through it.
Those are my additional thoughts about "Fried Green Tomatoes."
I’m the Ranting Usher. Let me talk you out of ending up as tomorrow’s
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section below.