Five Favorite Films

Molly Shannon's Five Favorite Films

The SNL vet and star of Fun Mom Dinner on The Wizard of Oz, The King of Comedy, and weary grandpas.

by | August 3, 2017 | Comments

(Photo by James Atoa/Everett Collection)

Saturday Night Live veteran Molly Shannon’s characters have always been the life of the party. Mary Katherine Gallagher was literally a Superstar; Helen Madden, the joyologist, made everything happier; and Sally O’Malley never let her age (“I’m 50 years old!”) stop her from having a good time. This week, Shannon not only returns as Gail in Netflix’s Wet Hot American Summer: 10 Years Later, but she also helps round out the cast of this week’s Fun Mom Dinner, a comedy about four mothers on a night out that goes hilariously wrong.

Katie Aselton stars in the film as Emily, a new mom at the local school, who is invited out by Melanie (Bridget Everett) and Jamie (Shannon), unaware that Emily is friends with their nemesis, Kate (Toni Collette). As the night spirals out of control, Shannon’s Jamie hits it off with Barry (Paul Rust), a guy they meet at a bar. Shannon spoke with Rotten Tomatoes by phone about her Five Favorite Films and some of her own classic characters.

The Wizard of Oz (1939) 98%

A classic, and I grew up loving Judy Garland, and Bert Lahr is an amazing actor. As a child I watched it over and over again. It just represents the magic of moviemaking. I love how it goes from black-and-white to technicolor. My dad was a big Judy Garland fan growing up, so we would hear all these stories about her and the old studio system, so that’s one of my favorites.

The King of Comedy (1983) 89%

I loved the performances in that movie — Jerry Lewis, Sandra Benhard — and just the way it was directed and written.

And such a different role for De Niro.

He was amazing. Such a different role playing Rupert Pupkin, the standup comic. His mother yells upstairs, “Be quiet.” It was just phenomenal, a brilliant movie.

Ordinary People (1980) 91%

That always sticks in my mind; Timothy Hutton, Mary Tyler Moore. Isn’t it devastating? It was just such an amazing performance by Mary Tyler Moore. I love a great family drama. There’s nothing like it, and Judd Hirsch as the therapist. It was just so beautifully written and sad. I love going to movies and crying and feeling moved and like you’ve changed. It’s one of my favorite things. That’s why I wanted to become an actress. I love dark. I don’t mind sobbing in a theater; I love that stuff. You can grieve parts of yourself and parts of your life through characters in movies. That’s the magic of moviemaking and cinema, seeing yourself in the characters. I loved making Other People too because I felt like people all have different experiences about life and grief, grief and death and family, all these beautiful themes.

Ponette (1996) 91%

It’s a child’s view of losing a parent. The mother passes away and she comes back as an angel. I think I just saw it in a movie theater. Somebody told me about it and I went to go see it in Pasadena. I went to a matinee. Ponette spoke to me because I lost my mom when I was little.

Terms of Endearment (1983) 88%

James L. Brooks, amazing writer/director. That’s just a tour de force performance by Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger. Jack Nicholson when he takes her on that date. It’s just phenomenal.

Fred Topel for Rotten Tomatoes: Is this a really big week for you with Fun Mom Dinner opening and your role on Wet Hot American Summer: 10 Years Later?

Molly Shannon: Yes, I’m really excited. I get excited about everything, so it is a big, busy week. I’m really excited the movie’s coming out and looking forward to people seeing it and Wet Hot American Summer. Because I’m on an HBO show, I can only do a limited number of episodes. I’m not sure what episode I come up in, but I definitely did a couple episodes.

RT: Is there a bit of darkness in a comedy about a divorcee trying to date again?

Shannon: I have a friend who’s my age and she’s dating. I did ask her, “What is it like dating?” I wanted to get her perspective since my character is dating, going on these sites, swiping. My friend said, “Ugh, it’s all a bunch of weary grandpas or Willy Loman depressing salesman guys with jowls.” I thought that was so funny so I told Julie. Julie said, “That’s good,” so we put that weary grandpa line in the script.

RT: People love your characters like Mary Katherine Gallagher and Sally O’Malley. Do you ever think about where they are today and when we might see them again?

Shannon: Oh, that’s so great. I do think about that. Sally O’Malley, it’s funny. I wrote that character when I was 30 years old and she was 50. I like that I aged myself up. I did a very old version of 50. She seemed more like she’s 70, so now that I’m over 50, I feel like she did seem so old. I think, “God, why did she have a limp?” So I would love to do that character again. Jeannie D’Arcy, the stand-up comedian, I miss doing that character. Mary Katherine Gallagher was so physically hard on the show so I don’t miss doing some of that physical stuff. I don’t think I could do the same stuff now that I did then.

Fun Mom Dinner opens in limited release this Friday, August 4.

Tag Cloud

Christmas Pop Countdown romance foreign Walt Disney Pictures PBS theme song Sneak Peek HBO green book NYCC historical drama Starz technology RT21 MTV Song of Ice and Fire DC Universe Paramount Disney WGN game show American Society of Cinematographers Television Academy Teen Epix GIFs Reality Horror 45 TruTV Quiz Britbox robots LGBT hispanic BET Best and Worst 71st Emmy Awards Cartoon Network what to watch TV spanish language social media game of thrones Sundance Now spider-man award winner nature Rocky VICE Action cooking elevated horror DirecTV mutant President boxoffice movies Pixar Warner Bros. spinoff Biopics Video Games HBO Max kids Pet Sematary adaptation Photos Universal TIFF Logo YouTube Red Writers Guild of America FOX police drama Masterpiece cars NBC Film Crackle Awards Tour PaleyFest Interview science fiction TCA Superheroe Marvel Spectrum Originals Infographic serial killer true crime A&E Marathons cops disaster unscripted tv talk Dark Horse Comics Premiere Dates Kids & Family crossover History Mary poppins Star Trek Emmy Nominations Pirates comiccon anthology El Rey First Look 2017 harry potter supernatural Lucasfilm vampires Black Mirror Music 24 frames stand-up comedy Set visit APB cinemax medical drama ghosts Mudbound Arrowverse docudrama Mindy Kaling miniseries Trivia Star Wars Holidays Oscars cats Nat Geo USA Captain marvel Character Guide Amazon Prime biography Winners Women's History Month San Diego Comic-Con anime Columbia Pictures Calendar travel aliens Heroines The CW 20th Century Fox Martial Arts RT History Anna Paquin Trailer Drama doctor who dc video ITV Ovation Nickelodeon Extras Paramount Network Reality Competition Comedy sitcom OWN Musical Rocketman Red Carpet IFC Sci-Fi Tomatazos CBS Shudder adventure Ellie Kemper dragons quibi Chernobyl Nominations witnail E3 Cosplay Spring TV binge finale Comics on TV Mary Poppins Returns Showtime X-Men sequel animated Superheroes dceu Valentine's Day Election Mystery strong female leads SXSW TCM facebook sports Awards festivals GLAAD Syfy Winter TV Disney Channel Ghostbusters psychological thriller television Creative Arts Emmys Amazon Schedule zombie Comic Book ratings Grammys Lifetime GoT composers crime thriller The Witch politics talk show Polls and Games TCA 2017 Emmys crime Sony Pictures USA Network CW Seed dramedy YA TNT Hulu MCU Bravo casting space Thanksgiving psycho Apple FX New York Comic Con zombies First Reviews Spike Year in Review SDCC period drama Pride Month spain jamie lee curtis Western DGA Binge Guide IFC Films ABC Family CBS All Access BBC America revenge singing competition transformers spy thriller BBC CMT VH1 comic based on movie latino YouTube Premium Vudu mockumentary Podcast Fall TV DC Comics Freeform National Geographic WarnerMedia Rock Film Festival Peacock Adult Swim LGBTQ series Esquire Trophy Talk Disney streaming service ABC Cannes book TLC political drama justice league Comedy Central diversity Musicals crime drama CNN Rom-Com blaxploitation FXX Food Network south america Fantasy 2018 Tumblr 21st Century Fox Box Office Lionsgate Toys Tarantino natural history thriller Summer Watching Series children's TV Elton John E! richard e. Grant DC streaming service Fox News hist Amazon Prime Video Shondaland AMC Mary Tyler Moore Chilling Adventures of Sabrina golden globes Opinion See It Skip It MSNBC streaming discovery war TV Land Stephen King Acorn TV 007 cults toy story Animation The Arrangement 2019 2015 ESPN zero dark thirty teaser Netflix Family TBS 2016 Certified Fresh Country Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Brie Larson Super Bowl Sundance SundanceTV