Pick of the Day: Citizen Ruth - dir. Alexander Payne - 1996 - USA
The only thing that irritates me more than parking spaces dedicated to "expectant mothers" at grocery stores is hearing about celebrities having babies. And, to honor all those media-whores and those who actually care about them, my pick of the day is Alexander Payne's Citizen Ruth, a dark comedy about abortion. I thought about using Rosemary's Baby, but I'll save that for a later date. Ruth (Laura Dern, in one of her best roles) likes to huff paint and, after finding out she's pregnant (for the fifth time), a court orders her to abort or go to prison. A bunch of crazy pro-lifers (headed by Swoosie Kurtz) take it upon themselves to make Ruth the poster-child for their cause in an leftist, godless America. While Sideways was, in my opinion, the most overrated film of last year, Citizen Ruth (along with his follow-up, Election) remains a biting and relevant satire.
On a sad note, Shelley Winters died this past weekend. I may hate the "In Memoriam" tribute, which usually just amasses to a popularity contest, at the Oscars, but when one of the screen greats passes, I think it's only best to recognize their contributions. Expect some picks of the day this week dedicated to some of Shelley's best.