Saturday, August 2, 2014

Saturday Night at the Movies: 'Mask' and 'Fried Green Tomatoes'

I love watching movies which have a great story and the two movies I put on tonight both had the best stories - one based on a true story, the other based on a novel.

The first movie - 'Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle-Stop Cafe' - is an absolute favourite of mine. With Kathy Bates as a submissive housewife whose husband takes her for granted in it, I find the whole movie charming.  
It's during the weekly visits to his Aunt in a nursing home near Whistle-Stop that she finds out his Aunt Vera (who we never see during the movie) but we know despises her to the point of throwing her out of her room and so she goes to the Day Room to settle in and munch on some candy bars she's got in her handbag.  Here she meets Ninny, Jessica Tandy's character, who tells her all about the Whistle-Stop Cafe, how it came to be, who lived around Whistle-Stop, and the murder which was covered up by everyone to protected one of the most-loved people in town!  But exactly who did the killing was the most surprising of all - and no, I'm not going to ruin that part for you, you'll just have to get the movie out or read the book (for more laughs than you can shake a stick at).

'Mask' is a 1985 film based on the true story of Roy L. Dennis.  It starts off with Roy 'Rocky' Dennis getting himself ready at home in Covina, California to enroll in a new high school.  He's waiting for his Mum to come home to take him; and they're running late.  She arrives home in a sweet, silver Mustang with her latest one night stand and yells at her about getting herself ready; but when her date catches an eyeful of Rocky, he stares at his face, asking: 'Who is...that?' She simply replies: 'He's my son.' and she runs off inside to change to take Rocky to the school to enroll.

The film is based on the true life story of Rocky Dennis and it takes you firstly for a walk through a day of his life of trying to get into an ordinary school, going to the doctors to get his head, face and jaw measured and then to have people tell his Mother he can't go to school here and his life isn't going to be long and other such things.  She honestly doesn't have time for that kind of crap and it shows; and neither does he.  
The one thing that keeps Rocky and his Mum together is their family of The Turks Biker gang; who love him for who he is.  To them, he's one of the family, one of the gang for life and they love him right through.  He's normal, and should live life just like anyone else - because he is just like anyone else.  Rocky proves to his school that he's smart, charming and sweet and you really shouldn't judge a book by its cover by being able to make friends by not letting his looks worry him.  By graduation, he's topped the class and heads off to Summer School to be an C.A at a camp for the blind where he meets Diana, a girl he falls in love with; and she falls for him; but her parents don't like him at all.  
By the end of the Summer, they want to spend more time together but her parents make sure that doesn't happen.  At Rocky's new school, he's starting over again with new people who don't like him because of his appearance, and his best friend, Ben, is moving away permanently. His world is falling apart... so he pools his money he's saved for a big trip around Europe and he buses it out to see Diana (seeing her folks won't pass on messages and he hasn't heard from her since the Summer Camp), claiming his love to her.
It's a sad ending, I'm afraid to say.  Rocky's very rare disease ended up killing him as he slept.  But the night he felt the worse, as he caught his early night, he looked at his map of Europe where he had pushed blue tacks into the cities he wanted to go, and removed them from the map.  He knew he wasn't going to achieve what he wanted to in life as he wasn't going to survive that night.  

Cher, Eric Stolz and Sam Elliott were fantastic in this movie about Roy 'Rocky' L Dennis' life.  It was a touching story about how something can affect your life in one way, can't stop you from living your life completely. Rocky had Craniodiaphyseal Dysplaysia, an extremely rare sclerotic bone disorder.  He was born in California in 1961 and passed away aged 16 in 1978; he was only a month or so away from his 17th birthday.

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