top five (bad) movie moms from the '80s
I couldn't decide whether to put Shirley MacLaine as Aurora Greenway in Terms of Endearment (1983) on the good movie moms list or the bad. She probably belongs on the good. As does Debra Winger as her long-suffering daughter. As for this list (the bad) there has been some debate going on in the house as to whether Isabella Rossellini as Dorothy Vallens in Blue Velvet (1986) is a good mom or a bad one. Her only crime it would seem is being a sex slave to crazy Dennis Hopper's Frank Booth character, but man does she seem to enjoy the rough stuff. Then again, no one is as bad a mother as Mary Tyler Moore's loveless ice queen in Ordinary People. Too bad Stephen Frears' The Grifters was 1990, or else I'd have put Anjelica Huston on this list in a New York minute. Ditto for Divine as Dawn Davenport in Female Trouble (1974) -- possibly the worst movie mom of all-time. Even worse than Angela Lansbury in The Manchurian Candidate (1962).
Rose Ross as Mother in Mother's Day (1980)
Catharine O'Hara as Delia Deetz in Beetlejuice (1988)
no. 3 (tie)
Anne Ramsey as Momma Lift in Throw Momma from the Train (1987)
and Mama Fratelli in The Goonies (1985)
Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest (1981)
Mary Tyler Moore as Beth Jarrett in Ordinary People (1980)
Jacqueline Bisset as Ellen Burroughs in Class (1983)
...well, only bad depending on how you look at it.
Laura Waterbury as Mrs. Smith in Better Off Dead (1985)
Tuesday Weld as Gloria in Author! Author! (1980); read my full review here
Betsy Palmer as Mrs. Voorhees in Friday the 13th (1980)
Meryl Streep as Zofia "Sophie" Zawistowski in Sophie's Choice (1982)
...sorry, I know. Cheap shot.