Throw Momma From the Train (1987)

Starring Danny DeVito, Billy Crystal, Kim Greist, Anne Ramsey, Kate Mulgrew, Branford Marsalis, Rob Reiner, Bruce Kirby, Joey DePinto, Annie Ross

Directed by Danny DeVito

Expectations: Low. One of those 80s movies I’ve never seen that could go either way.


Throw Momma From the Train has a lot of interesting aspects, but in the end they don’t add up to a wholly satisfying movie. As with all 80s films, some of this is pleasantly explained away with the “only in the 80s” mantra, but to dismiss all of the film’s faults with this argument would far too forgiving. To focus solely on the faults would also be a mistake, as the film does do a good job of entertaining. I don’t know, it’s a weird one for sure, and some of my strange feelings can be traced back to my knowledge of the film prior to watching it.

This is one of those 80s movies I never saw back in the day, but I heard and saw a lot about it upon its release. Between regular trips down the video store aisles to Anne Ramsey’s Oscar nomination, this film was seemingly everywhere in my young world. I remember my parents refusing to watch it (or maybe it was refusing to let me watch it), but there was something about that video box (and the whole forbidden fruit mentality that arose because of their restriction) that made me want to watch the film. Enjoying Billy Crystal and Danny DeVito helps too. Flash forward twenty-five years and I have finally realized this dream of youth. That mysterious film with the two guys sitting on the train tracks is no longer in the gigantic “To Watch” pile of my mind.

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