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Serial Mom


Serial Mom: Patron Saint of Labor Day?

Unearthing a film title worthy of reviewing for Labor Day was no small task. In preparation, I asked myself a few questions: Do I dig out some old titles dealing with strikes and labor issues? Do I force myself to sit through nearly two and a half hours of the 1992 crime-drama Hoffa about the famed labor union leader? If I do either of those things, am I really paying the holiday its due diligence? And even if I was, would anyone really want to read it? Without bothering to consult management--it's effing Labor Day--I decided the answer to all the above questions was "no."

So what, then, would make for a proper Labor Day viewing? Serial Mom.

"Serial Mom?!" you shout. "Do you mean the 1994 John Waters dark comedy about a suburban wife and mother of two who suddenly begins offing fellow Baltimore residents because of some social faux-pas they are guilty of? What does that have to do with Labor Day?"

Well, reader, first of all, let me say that you've produced a fantastic one-line synopsis of the film; I'm not sure I could do much better. But before you've written off me or my selection, please recall the scene in which Serial Mom (Kathleen Turner) becomes enraged in court because one of the female jurors is wearing a pair of white pumps.

"Juror #8 is wearing white shoes! After Labor Day!" she writes on a note, which she then slides across the defendant's table to her lawyer. Oh, right ... she's on trial for murdering six people. Do you remember that part? Well, I do, and it makes this title perfectly relevant for today.

The movie is full of horrible overacting (surely on purpose) and the whole thing, in true John Waters style, turns the idea of the modern-day (or 1994 equivalent) of the Cleaver family on its ear.

Not surprisingly, the film I chose in celebration of a holiday that honors the American worker didn't inspire any feelings about work one way or the other. What I wondered afterward was, if I was a woman, why couldn't I wear white after Labor Day? And if I did, why would Kathleen Turner want to kill me? And with a voice that deep, how could she have ever been considered a sex symbol in the 1980s? Personally, I want my pipes to register an octave or so lower than my female companion's. Call me crazy.

The answer to the "white" question varies some depending on who you ask--or what Web site you visit. Some say it was a Victorian tradition to wear white in the summertime because clothes would get less dirty. Others say it's because wearing white--a summer color--is tacky to wear later in the year.

If I'm being 100 percent honest here, I don't really care to find the real answer. If I don't close my laptop and get back to beer drinking and spacing out, I may have to consider this Labor Day a complete waste.