FRIED GREEN TOMATOES
“You say Tomato. I say Kathy Bates-Oh.”
I saw the DVD on her bookshelf, peeking out under a copy of her daughter’s empty DVD case of Pitch Perfect Two. “Awwww Fried Green Tomatoes!” I said for really no other reason than: hey, if you see something, say something. Without pausing the movie everyone but me was watching (it was Pitch Perfect Two) my mom’s BFF asked if I would like to own the copy I now cradled in my Pitch Perfect Two hating arms. “I could never take this away from you!” I said, before her daughter told us to “Shhh! this is the best part!” My mom’s friend informed me that I could take it because (1) it was Hanukah; and (2) she had not one but two copies of the film. This fact at anyone else’s home might have been surprising, as owning two identical copies of any movie is quite frivolous. But my mom’s friend is someone who, when she likes a thing, has multiples of them. So I was not surprised. Her apartment is like a Noah’s Arc of Moleksine journal’s. I accepted the gift and said thank you, this time in a whisper, so as not to get yelled at by her Anna Kendrick lovin’ kid.
I have a Macbook air so no DVD player, this gift to girlie cinema sat unwatched on my apartment’s kitchen table for one whole month. For one whole month, I stared at the faces of the four grinning actresses on the cover every morning while I ate my breakfast. It must have been this consistent exposure to the face of Kathy Bates on the lower left corner of the lady actress pyramid that made me think of the idea for Erika’s and my new project.
Fried Green Tomatoes starring Kathy Bates is just the beginning of a beautiful friendship*
The story within a story part of Fried Green Tomatoes is set in 1920’s Alabama. A time where if you had a vagina it was not okay to be in an open public relationship with someone who also had a vagina, and if you wanted to show your deep affections and sexual desires for your gal pal/ dead brother’s ex-girlfriend whose flying wicker sun hat that he ran after onto the train tracks is the reason for his death, you had to do what you could to find other ways: You hold hands over playing cards in a poker game! You sensually feed her honey you grabbed from an extremely active beehive with your own bare hands! You have a flour filled giggly food fight in the kitchen of the cafe you two co-own, while the chief of police anxiously awaits his appetizer side dish of a healthy vegetable-like-fruit of an atypical color that is covered under a layer of deep buttery grease and is the title of the movie! One could argue that much like the heart and soul of Pitch Perfect lies in the tender loving friendship of an all female acapella group, the heart and soul of FGT lies in the tender loving friendship/lesbian power couple of the movie’s heroines: Too-Many-Ugly-Hats-For-Her-Own-Good-Ruth (Mary Louise Parker) and Not-Izzy-It’s-Idgy (Mary-Stuart-Masterson).
But these cozy heart holding homo-erotic scenes that fans of this movie old in such high esteem: Could they exist without a reason for the old lady at the beginning of the movie, the character of Ninny Threadgoode, (Jessica Tandy), to relay them in detail to the viewer in the first place?
No. They could not.
The reason the scenes happen is because of the very sad Evelyn Couch, played by Kathy Bates with an emotional vigor of someone wanting to possess a little gold man statue.
This random 800 year old floral printed housecoat with arms and legs meets Couch in the rec room of the old people’s home where Couch is busy ignoring her own dying relatives, who we can only assume, are but a few paces away. The housecoat with limbs comes into contact with Couch who is bawling her eyes out on a piece of furniture that shares her last name. Couch is so very sad. Not about her dying relatives, but about her abusive and absent husband who loves baseball so much he could be one. Couch is lonely. Why else would she let this stranger go on and on and on. The story Threadegoode tells transforms Couch. She goes from a woman who fishes a bajillion candy bars from her leather baglette (how do these bars not turn into a goopy mess? leather is hot hot hot and I know my saved Mr. Goodbars always get melted as shit, and i don’t even live in the hot hot georgia heat) to a whole new Evelyn. It’s great! By the end of the movie she is jumping on a mini trampoline, she is ramming her car into other peoples cars and she standing up to her asshole husband! How? By feeding him sushi on a cracker, of course.
Actually, I think that my extreme enjoyment of the scenes where Kathy Bates is in the parking lot of the Winn Dixie and my love of Kathy’s quivering sad chin that charmingly offsets her plastic stud earrings combined with my frustration with the name of Masterson’s Character “Idgy” as well as the glaring plot hole of opening a cafe way way way too close to the same train tracks where your brother perished, lead me to believe that if I owned two copies of the film like my mom’s friend did, I would give one copy to an editor genius wizard and have them take out all the 1920’s Alabama footage so that I would just have a copy that is the learning-to-love-her-pussy pastel Kathy Bates half of it. That would be crazy and perfect. I’d retitle it: Sushi on a Cracker: The Couch Story