1991 was an odd year for movies. The gloriously excessive 80's were over, yet the back-to-basics, indie-friendly 90s hadn't yet ignited. I was a huge movie fan, of course, and I watched a lot of things. Much of it was older movies.

Horror wasn't in the best state. The joyous sequels and comedy horror period had mostly died down. The stragglers still hanging on were pretty lukewarm. I enjoyed features like The People Under the Stairs, Body Parts, Freddy's Dead, and especially Popcorn.

I had recently explored the early work of John Waters, so I was looking for a different type of cinema. I was reading Film Threat more than Fangoria, and I greatly enjoyed oddball 90s films like The Dark Backward, Johnny Stecchino, Lunatics: A Love Story, Night on Earth, Motorama, Until the End of the World, and Nudist Colony of the Dead. Cronenberg's adaptation of Naked Lunch was a big highlight.

And yes I watched mainstream cinema. The Silence of the Lambs, Cape Fear, The Fisher King, Terminator 2 , and Grand Canyon were all worth my time.

But, yeah, '91 wasn't the best year for the movies. Even in that time of dearth I was hardly tempted to watch Fried Green Tomatoes. I was aware of the movie, of course, but I put it in a category with movies like Steel Magnolias, Driving Miss Daisy, and A Trip To Bountiful. Speaking of that last one, I used to get my kids to do their chores by threatening to make them watch A Trip To Bountiful. If they did not do their work I said I would make them watch the entire movie. Every. Single Minute. It was an effective strategy.

I saw the Fried Green Tomatoes trailer several times while at the movies, and I cringed in horror as Kathy Bates gave her famous line: "I'm older and have more insurance!".

I miss the movies, and I miss naturalistic filmmaking. You know, the kind that does not have digital enhancement to everything from actors' teeth to the grass and the sky.

Fried Green Tomatoes was a recent Fathom Events selection, and I knew my wife liked the book. It was actually my idea to see it. I even bought the tickets.

You know what? I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. I still think the Kathy Bates parts are too over-the-top and the weakest aspects of Fried Green Tomatoes, but I have liked Mary Stuart Masterson since I saw her in Some Kind of Wonderful. Masterson is absolutely terrific, and so is Mary-Louis Parker. I didn't even mind Jessica Tandy. The supporting cast is all excellent as well.

Fried Green Tomatoes is the kind of story I love. Two women opening a diner in some bumfuck town is as mundane a story as you can get, but great storytelling shows how all lives are extraordinary when examined in detail.

The movie touches on some hard subjects, but thankfully it never becomes preachy. The movie is mostly about joy and loyalty.

I'm even mulling over the prospect of reading the Fried Green Tomatoes novel. My God, I guess I really am growing old.

Written by Mark Sieber

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