Alphabetical Movie – Home Fries
The reason I own Home Fries has nothing to do with how much I enjoy the film. The first time I watched it, I enjoyed it a lot. Subsequent viewings have not been so kind.
One thing about the film does hold up and it’s the reason I keep it around. I own this film because of Catherine O’Hara.
If you love good comedy actors and you don’t love Catherine O’Hara, then you just lied to me when you told me you love good comedy actors. It’d be as if you told me that you loved Romantic Comedies but hate When Harry met Sally or you loved Hitchcock films but hated Strangers on a Train.
I suppose such things are possible but why would you ever admit to them?
O’Hara has what I like to call “The Madeline Kahn factor.” By that I mean if you put her into a comedy in any role, all other roles will be irrelevant when she is on the screen.
Take Home Fries. Theoretically the movie is about Luke Wilson and Drew Barrymore and some wacky rom-com complications (like she is pregnant with his step-dad’s child and he is indirectly repsonsible for step dad’s death – wakka wakka) but whenever O’Hara is on the screen, who gives a rip?
She just waltzes around being so much better than everyone else. It is unfair to suggest she is upstaging the other actors because that implies it is intentional. She’s not trying to be better than they are. She just is better than they are.
If anything, this film proves that it might be best if O’Hara only appears in Christopher Guest movies because at least in those films, she is surrounded by people who are as charismatic as she is. Does she still upstage them all?
Well, yeah. But at least it looks like they are all on the same stage.
Actually, Chrisopher Guest upstages everyone else in Waiting for Guffman and Jane Lynch upstages everyone in A Mighty Wind…
But I digress.
There is a scene in Home Fries where O’Hara, who is playing the worst mother in the history of mothers (TM) is asked by one of her sons if the other son is really her favorite. She holds up her thumb and forefinger and says “the difference is that much.” It is one of the single greatest lines in the history of great lines.
Now I know O’Hara didn’t write that line and that there are a number of other actresses who could have delivered that line well. She was just in the right role to have the opportunity, right? Maybe, but why does she always seem like she’s in the right role? Isn’t it possible that the reason that line is so memorable is because she delivered it?
O’Hara doesn’t make Home Fries a terrific movie. What she does do is ensure that you remember it long after the same film without her would be forgotten.