Kooky Lady Movies: Beyond the Bitch
by Caitlin Tegart
In comedies, women are often the girlfriend, the wife or the bitchy friend of the girlfriend or wife (Leslie Mann, God bless you, you’ve worn all the hats). But there was a time when women did some seriously kooky shit in movies and got the be the funny, flawed, active idiot all the guys get to play. So let’s take a look at these movies and aspire to reach their level of kookiness.
BIG BUSINESS (1988)
Let me ask you a few questions: Would you see a movie starring Bette Midler? Would you see a movie starring Lily Tomlin? Would you see a movie starring Bettler Midler and Lily Tomlin as twins? WOULD YOU SEE A MOVIE WITH TWO SETS OF TWINS WITH EACH SET INCLUDING ONE BETTE MIDLER AND ONE LILY TOMLIN? Obviously, you would do all of that, which is why you must see Big Business if you are a kooky lady movie fan.
LONG story short: two sets of twins are born in Jupiter Hollow, West Virginia, one to a local, poor family and one to a rich New York family, just in West Virginia to visit friends. When the rich family tries to check into a local hospital, they discover its a hospital only for the employees of Hollowmade, which prompts the rich father to buy the company on the spot (pay attention, this comes up later). Well, wouldn’t you know it: a batty nurse mixes up the pairs of babies. So each family gets a Lily Tomlin and a Bette Midler (lucky them!). And they give them the same first names: “Sadie” and “Rose.” Somehow they both name the Bette Midler one “Sadie” and the Lily Tomlin one “Rose,” seemingly so they’re more easily mistaken later in life.
Now, flash forward! Sadie Shelton (rich Bette Midler) and Rose Shelton (rich Lily Tomlin) are presidents of the board of their family company, Moramax, though Sadie Shelton is the career-driven one and Rose Shelton dreams of a simpler life. Hold your hats for this twist: Rose Ratliff (poor Lily Tomlin) is the foreman of Hollowmade, a subsidiary of Moramax, while Sadie Ratliff (poor Bette Midler) dreams of a more sophisticated life in New York City while singing at Hollowmade company picnics. When Rose Ratliff discovers Moramax plans to close Hollowmade, she convinces her sister to go with her to New York City to plea with the board of Moramax (ie the rich Sadie and Rose). Oh girl, that means: it’s on.
I can’t imagine why you are still reading this article and not watching Big Business, but if you need further prompting, here are a few kooky lady moments that happen:
- poor Bette Midler takes rich Bette Midler’s ex-husband and son (Seth Green!) to a Chuck E. Cheese
- rich Bette Midler and poor Lily Tomlin have an entire pancake breakfast without realizing they are not talking to their sister
- Bette Midler does a mirror routine with herself
- all the sisters lock rich Bette Milder in a broom closet
- apropos of nothing, poor Bette Middler sings a song with a New York steel drum band
- did I even mention that poor Lily Tomlin is engaged to a professional mini-golf player? Did you just assume that anyway?
Save Jupiter Hollow: Netflix Big Business!
Caitlin Tegart is a comedian, writer and director often sighted at the Upright Citizen Brigade Theatre and CaitlinTegart.com.