Tuesday, March 16, 2010

“Look at those fried green tomatoes”

So, on Friday, I wrote a strongly worded letter to Florida telling them to stick their tax credit ban on movies with gay characters where the Sunshine State don’t shine. In the process of writing that post, I started thinking about my favorite movies with gay characters. And, because I still couldn’t shake the Florida thing, I also started thinking about the time while driving down to the Sunshine State I made a special pit stop in Juliette, GA to visit the Whistle Stop Café. And that’s where the gay characters/Florida connection all came together and I started to think about “Fried Green Tomatoes.” Convoluted? Yes. Just how my brain works? You betcha.

Now, I know I’m not alone in the soft, warm spot I have in my heart for this film. I claim it as one of ours, even though the movie never explicitly spells it out. (The book, naturally, is a tad more direct.) So Idgie and Ruth will always be one of my favorite lesbian movie couples. Always. I can quote whole swaths of it verbatim. I’m sure you can, too. How about we quote some together?

Now, little tomboy Idgie Threadgoode is adorable. And then older tomboy Idgie is pretty cute, too. But things really don’t get good until Idgie tells Ruth never. And as we all know, you never say never to Ruth Jamison. And then, then we get to the bees.

“You’re just a bee charmer, Idgie Threadgoode. That’s what you are, a bee charmer.”To this day, I think one of the highest complements you can give a gal is to call her a bee charmer.

Idgie: “You’re gettin’ married?”
Ruth: “As soon as the summer’s over... Oh, am I gonna miss you.”

Good God, if you can’t read that subtext you are beyond help.

“If you ever touch her again, I’ll kill you.”All valiant butches will be judged against the valor of this moment. Also, this outfit. Thank you, Mary Stuart Masterson.

“She’s trying to teach me how to cook!”

My first girlfriend and I would quote this scene back and forth. I still can’t cook, but we sure had some fun trying.

“Believe me when I tell you, I don't want you to move out.”This is maintext, people. MAINTEXT.

“Go on you ol’ Bee Charmer, tell me a good tall tale.”This always makes me weepy. I even get a little melancholy sometimes looking at ducks on a lake. I am, however, very happy that Mary-Louise Parker has progressed to the point in her career where she no longer has to die heroically in every movie.

So, there you have it, a lovely jaunt down memory lane courtesy the idiot legislators in Florida. But remember, Florida, if you won’t listen to reason, there is always Towanda.


Norma Desmond said...

... I love that you seem to keep the same hours as I do. You have no idea how much this post made my wee small hours of the morning. I think I now have the warm fuzzies (and TOWANDA!!!) to make it through the rest of the exams I have to grade.

*sigh* And a happy Tuesday to you.

Amy said...

No one dies heroic shades-of-lesbian deaths like M-L Parker.

Wrongway said...

I got so excited when I saw the title of this post, I KNEW there was Mary-Louise Parker ahead. She is even more beautiful the older she gets. YUM

alice said...

Wow - I LIVE in FL and had somehow missed that monstrosity of a bill. Note has been duly sent off to State Senator, and I'm heartened that enough people seem to oppose it that it shouldn't make it through. (And what a screwed up state I live in.)

But! Great post, and a complete ditto to all of the FGT insights. This has spurred me to see what MSM is up to these days - it seems like quite a while since I've seen her on the screen ...

Unknown said...

oh man. I was having a terrible day, and you just gave me the first real smile of the day. thanks.

my awesomely feminist dad quotes "sorry girls, I'm younger and faster/older and have more insurance" just about every time he's in a crowded parking lot. And whenever saying "sorry, girls" to my sister and I. So, basically, at least once a visit to my parents.

Hiutale said...

How about this one (talking about MAINTEXT):

"I'm as settled as I ever want to be".


And of course, not lesbian at all but still one of the best girl power scenes ever:

"Face it girls, I'm older and I've got better insurance".

BTW, this is my first comment ever but I'm a faithful reader since many many moons ago. Thank you Dorothy, for making the world a so much more interesting place (especially on Naked Lady Mondays :)). And cheers from Finland!

CK said...

MSM.... what else?

Anonymous said...

How could a nice "straight" girl like MSM have portrayed two of the most lusted after characters in the history of lesbian lust...mmmmm? Idgie Threadgoode in FGT and Watts in Some Kind of Wonderful
(although the falling for Eric Stoltz thing at the end bummed me out!) The stuff of dreams!

BTW....I laughed so hard at the MLP dying reference. My friends and I all call her, "you know, that dead girl." ROFL! Great Post.

LizC said...

I love the book of Fried Green Tomatoes! One of my all time favourites - the characters are so lovable. I first read it while I was still not out to my kids. My young adult daughter saw the book and said, "Oh that's the story about the lesbians". I tried not to choke when she said that, but asked, "Have you read the book?" She said, "No, but I've seen the movie." So much for their attempts to hide the lesbian context!!

ikke said...

I LOVE this movie. i never get tired of watching it. i fell in love with MLP when i watched this as a wee lesbian in progress. as a kid we had this recorded on a vhs tape, that i watched many many times.

Fannie Wolfe said...

Oh how I love this book/movie and Idgie Threadgood (especially MSM's delicious portrayal of her).

Provocative Geni said...

You do understand that states and commonwealths that don't have gay marriage legalized yet are implementing all of this discriminatory leglislation because gay marriage will inevitably become legal in those locations. It is a given that the United States Supreme Court will find such legislation unconstitutional in the eventuality that gay marriage is not overturned.
In order to have fair faith in Commerce, states must respect the laws of other states and it pertains to interstate shipment of goods via freight trains. This is Law 101.

Therefore I see all new homophobic legislation merely nas a knee jerk reaction intended to mire the inevitablity of marriage equality.

See the more laws that need to be overturned the longer heterosexual privilege remains the status quo.

No need to send strongly worded letters. What is needed is a rational approach as opposed to a knee jerk reaction. I mean the Florida State legislature doesn't give a damn what you think unless you can legally impact the policies they instituted.

tlsintx said...

oh how i love this post.
Florida, you suck.

Counterpunch said...

Ohmigad. FGT gets me every time. Still one of the top lesbian movies out there, which actually counts as a general good movie period. All these years later, it's still fab.

The book is better, I do agree, but the casting couldn't have been more perfect.

Idgie + Ruth 4ever

Unknown said...

Funny you should write this now, as I was just reading AfterEllen's top 50 lesbian/bi character list, and pretty much put Idgie at the top of my personal list after seeing her on theirs. I've worn out 2 copies of the book. One of the greatest, most lovely, albeit understated girly love stories ever.

"Remember...Miss Ruth was a lady. And a lady ALWAYS knows when to leave." KILLS me everytime.

Anonymous said...

"I think we need to make a little paste!"


Anonymous said...

fried green tomatoes..
I just keep thinking what kind of taste is like...
It's so familiar..is it okay to eat it before actually

by the way I was jump to link to link and finally
get into desney and endless laughing there, :)

I feel kind of lost on today's posting,
I mean I don't get well, but I'll try.
Thank you for all post, and links,
and I'm happy just see you,
I mean just face everyday post,

thanks ds. :)

PerpetualBistro said...

I LOVE this movie. I used to rent it over and over from our library when I was like, thirteen. Well, I rented it from the ages of thirteen -eighteen I think. I had a huge crush on Ruth. And Idgie, too.. later on.

I was beyond thrilled when I found out that Fannie Flagg was gay, and then I read the book. DAMN- why the hell didn't they go there in the film? I read an article that said that Mary Louise and Mary Stuart wanted to put the lesbian content in, and so did Fannie, but no one in the movie biz would go along with it.

Fuck that shit. And fuck Florida too while I'm feeling like Towanda.

Anonymous said...

The first time my gf (now, wife) and I saw this movie in the theatre (in FL, no less), we sat in our seats, dumbfounded, until the very end of the credits. We couldn't find words that expressed how so blown away we were by finally seeing "us" on screen.

I think we saw it in the theatres at least 15 times. Then of course, we had to own the VHS, book, book on tape, DVD, laser disk (remember those?), and anything else we could get our hands on. We also made the trek to Juliette - what a magical experience to drive into town just like Evelyn & Ed do in the opening scene.

This movie still gets me from the very first train whistle.

Erica said...

This may be my favorite blog post of all time! I saw this movie in the theate with my grandma when I was 13. I was completely enamored by everything about it. Years later, that made a lot of sense to me. I will watch this every single time it's on television no matter how often it comes on. Ruth and Idgie forever.

kennedyismyhero said...

Wow. Beyond the awesome-ness of a good excuse for a Fried Green Tomatoes post, I've got to get on my internet-hands & knees to thank you about showing me the cafe actually existed! And you couldn't have had better timing. I'm about to leave in a couple weeks for a month, or so, long road trip and now that'll be a stop along the way.

Albeit a quick stop. It is in Georgia after all...O_O

TikiGal said...

What a lovely post. Thank you for taking me down memory lane. I loved the book, which I read later. FGT - the movie, will always be at the top of my favourite movie list because it was one of the first movies I can remember watching which really made me be more intrigued at the 'lesbian' undertone. Of course, at the time, I was a young pup, questioning myself. I also loved the story, within the story, of following Evelyn Couch's story and growth, as well as the telling of Ruth and Idgie's life, by an older Idigie (RIP Jessica Tandy). I still can't help but say, "oh there's Ruth" or "Idgie" when I see the actresses on screen these days. ;) TOWANDA!

Unknown said...

I have had a hankering for Fried Green tomatoes ( not the food ) all today, and am seriously considering getting the book as soon as possible. As I was watching the movie on youtube ( as I have yet to get it on DVD, a travesty to my Gay Lady Collection ) and I come across your article ( albeit a few days late ). I feel like the everyone is turning to FGT and i get warm and fuzzy at the idea. ( Through out this whole comment I was reading it back in a southern accent. Made my day. )

Kirsten said...

I haven't read the book because of my love of the movie and loving one does not always correlate to the other. But! As I am need of some new reading material, I shall go remedy this oversight now. I love FGT, truly an awesome movie and like so many others here -- I watch it every time it comes on.

Anonymous said...

Ha ha. I actually had a fight with a friend over this movie becasue I was CONVINCED that they actaully kiss (in the food fight scene), but, of course, wghen I re-watched it, they don't... except in my head :)

Caitlin said...

Ruth Jamison is one of my favourite fiction characters of all time. I go as her to costume parties. I might name a kid after her? I love this book so hard I almost can't believe it's real.

The movie I've only seen once, because I didn't know there WAS a movie til I was about 20. I miss too much from the book to really enjoy it -- the sidestories, the real lesbian content, the depth and richness of the language, and of course the newspaper, LOL. I start crying around the time Cleo starts talking about the Threadgoode house, and that's me til the end of the book.

If any woman ever sends me that bit from the book of Ruth I WILL MARRY HER. I don't even care.

Anonymous said...

Have a look at the bedhead in the death scene (the shot facing straight at Ruth with it over her head)... an old flatmate swears the word "dykes" is written/traced on it, and I think I see it too!

tshirt star said...

now I read your artivcle, I want to see this movie. Hope I can rent it

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