Black SplatThrow Momma from the Train (1987)

"Don’t you ‘In a minute, Momma’ me! Get off your fat little ass or I’ll break it for you! I want two soft boiled eggs, white toast, and some of that grape jelly god damn it! And don’t burn the toast!"

Throw Momma from the Train - Anne Ramsey as Momma

Description: Anne Ramsey as the impatient Mrs. Lift who demands food from her son, Owen (Danny DeVito) after he says, “In a minute, Momma” in the motion picture Throw Momma from the Train (1987).

Owen Lift is an aspiring author who lives with his overbearing mother, who can only described as "the mother from hell." To improve his lot in life, Owen decides to take a community college class taught by Larry Donner (Billy Crystal) who tutors people who want to write a book.

On one ocassion, Larry suggests that Owen watch a Alfred Hichcock film for good examples of plot developement. Inspired by the film Stangers on a Train, Owen suggests a "what if" scenario to get rid of his mother. What if Larry kills his mother, then in exchange, Owen would kill Larry's ex-wife Margaret (Kate Mulgrew), who has published a book that Larry wrote using her name and now has become rich from its sales.

Larry: [Calling from Hawaii] Owen, what the hell did you do to my wife?
Owen: Ehh, I don't want to say over the phone. All I can tell ya is that I killed her last night. [hangs up]

Larry, of course, believes Owen was just speculating a plot for a storyline, like writers do, but Owen was dead serious and actually went to Hawaii and killed Larry's former spouse by pushing her overboard while she traveled on a cruise ship. Now, Larry, who has become the prime suspect in the murder, has to contend with a delusional student who wants him to fulfill his end of a crazy bargain and murder his mother.

Larry: Owen, you gotta get it through your thick head. I may be a lot of things, but I'm not a killer.
Owen: You don't have to blow her brains out or anything.
Larry: Thank you, that takes the pressure right off.
Owen: She's old. She's got a bad ticker. All you gotta do is jerk around a lot when you talk to her. [Mimics shaking Mrs. Lift viciously] "Nice to meet you, Mrs. Lift!"
Larry: Would you stop it?
Owen: Well just meet her. Maybe she'll be somebody you'd LIKE to kill.

To appease Owen, Larry decides to visit his home and get a look the woman that is the source of Owen's troubles. "Who the hell are you!" snarls Momma. "I'm Owen's friend, replies Larry. innocently. "Owen doesn't;t have any friends,' Mamma growls back. "That's because Owen is shy," says Larry. Momma barks back, "No he's not. He's fat and he's stupid!"

At one point, Mamma hits Larry in the crotch with her cane and he falls groaning to the floor. Looking up Owen, Larry, "She's not a woman... she's the Terminator."

Momma: Your friend had an accident, he's dead! You go bowling and leave a corpse to take care of me!
Owen: He's dead?
Momma: See for yourself.
Owen: Larry! My friend, my friend...Larry!
Momma: "My friend! My friend!" You big crybaby. Go bury him in the yard before he stinks up the place.

Under the threat by Owen that he will tell the police that Larry did kill his wife, and knowing that he has no alibi to prove himself innocent, Larry reluctantly agrees to kill Owen's mother. And so hiding out at Owen's apartment from the police who consider Larry a person of interest in the crime, Larry attempts at smothering Momma with a pillow and pushing her down the basement staircase fail. Desperate to get rid of his mother, Owen blows a trumpet in his mother's ears to give her a heart attack. But that fails, as well.

Throw Momma from the Train - Owen blows trumpet

When Owen's mother recognizes Larry as the man the police sought, he boards a train to Mexico. Ironically, he runs across Owen and his mother who have also fled because of their part in concealing Larry's whereabouts.

During the journey, Larry becomes so annoyed with Owen's mother that he tries to push her off the train. As he does, Owen who has changed his mind rescues him mother, but Larry falls from the train and breaks his leg. Recuperating in the hospital, Larry learns that his wife never drowned, but was rescued by a Polynesian fisherman whom she married and later wrote a best selling book about her adventures.

Upon hearing once again of his wife's success, Larry, with the advice from a fellow patient, shed his obsession with his ex-wife, loses his writer's block and goes on to write his own book called Throw Momma from the Train, inspired by his time with Owen and his mother.

Owen also wrote a picture book called Momma, Owen and Owen's friend, Larry. Both books became successful and Owen and Larry finally realized success as authors.

Note: This movie is a comic homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train (1951) wherein psychotic momma’s boy Bruno Anthony (Robert Walker) casually speculates with tennis pro Guy Haines (Farley Granger) about Haines killing Bruno’s father in exchange for Bruno killing Haines’ wife. Haines takes the conversation as a joke, but Bruno takes the talk serious and sets out to kill.

Later, at a dinner gathering Bruno says, "Everyone has somebody that they want to put out of the way. Oh now, surely Madam, you’re not going to tell me that there hasn’t been a time that you didn’t want to dispose of someone. Your husband, for instance."

In the film Where's Poppa? (1970) George Segal as Gordon Hocheiser fumes over his mother’s (Ruth Gordon) interfering with his love life, and says, “I’m not going to put her in a home. I’m going to kill her.”

Throw Momma from the Train - Movie Poster

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