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) 88%

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) 89%

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) 84%

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

21st Century Fox cults Martial Arts USA finale Warner Bros. Cannes Comic Book supernatural docudrama Oscars Superheroe Summer PBS Spike Captain marvel Comics on TV San Diego Comic-Con Best and Worst The Purge 2019 Nat Geo Rom-Com SDCC Trailer zero dark thirty screenings facebook cops Rock Lifetime cancelled television GLAAD technology Star Wars A24 Comedy Central Disney Plus Holidays 2017 Box Office dceu Musicals serial killer crime television Tarantino Trophy Talk adaptation Freeform vampires canceled TV shows Emmys anime Sony Pictures Toys Character Guide HBO Max 20th Century Fox TCA 2017 quibi Shondaland mockumentary BET free movies joker space TBS 45 Acorn TV Paramount Ovation The CW Nickelodeon cancelled TV series Spring TV IFC YA natural history Action Stephen King E3 First Look Polls and Games Dark Horse Comics award winner toy story Writers Guild of America APB crossover justice league Marvel National Geographic science fiction GoT indie Esquire Television Academy Vudu ratings Disney Channel TIFF Winners Universal LGBT Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt social media Rocky Ellie Kemper spanish language renewed TV shows binge werewolf latino game of thrones Family Netflix CW Seed golden globes festivals Crunchyroll Apple TV Plus zombies cartoon Superheroes period drama crime drama elevated horror WGN TV renewals Disney+ Disney Plus theme song discovery Lifetime Christmas movies First Reviews Super Bowl See It Skip It Grammys dc spain Fall TV Pixar talk show Set visit Quiz psychological thriller Cartoon Network travel MSNBC adventure psycho aliens Christmas Certified Fresh Emmy Nominations game show Comedy Amazon BBC America composers YouTube CNN Sci-Fi police drama Classic Film VICE HBO TLC Biopics politics AMC Sundance Trivia Nominations Cosplay Film Festival Amazon Prime historical drama The Arrangement Bravo Heroines streaming witnail Tumblr batman comiccon cars Valentine's Day Pop DC Universe TCA SundanceTV series History NBC ESPN dramedy Thanksgiving comics ABC OWN 71st Emmy Awards Kids & Family ITV sitcom Mary Poppins Returns Hallmark E! Binge Guide versus casting DC Comics Syfy The Witch tv talk USA Network Drama Turner Classic Movies Pride Month NYCC Mindy Kaling TV stand-up comedy kids Food Network blockbuster Netflix Christmas movies Fox News Schedule transformers Watching Series Pet Sematary Disney what to watch 24 frames Music American Society of Cinematographers cinemax foreign RT History Disney streaming service Britbox thriller romance anthology Marvel Television ghosts FOX Creative Arts Emmys mutant Amazon Prime Video Awards romantic comedy Calendar richard e. Grant children's TV DGA halloween teaser Lionsgate harry potter Sundance Now breaking bad IFC Films Elton John Sneak Peek Awards Tour Hallmark Christmas movies true crime robots animated TCM Extras DirecTV YouTube Premium miniseries MCU Red Carpet Pirates TruTV christmas movies doctor who Anna Paquin Masterpiece CBS comic cooking Logo Song of Ice and Fire blaxploitation Rocketman Election LGBTQ spy thriller green book boxoffice FXX video Fantasy independent Year in Review disaster Crackle YouTube Red X-Men hispanic Musical dragons SXSW President nature Women's History Month RT21 south america jamie lee curtis CBS All Access Adult Swim 2018 Mary poppins Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Teen Mystery Shudder hist Film Paramount Network Lucasfilm Black Mirror canceled movies Infographic singing competition CMT political drama Walt Disney Pictures Tomatazos Holiday WarnerMedia Interview cats Marvel Studios Winter TV Brie Larson Western Turner Premiere Dates Reality Video Games revenge Mudbound sequel New York Comic Con 007 Starz VH1 Animation slashers BBC ABC Family based on movie Opinion Photos Reality Competition Chernobyl crime thriller TV Land book Apple TV+ cancelled Spectrum Originals Podcast Hulu A&E medical drama war The Walking Dead TNT cancelled TV shows Country DC streaming service MTV 2015 Countdown FX Epix spinoff Arrowverse sports Horror GIFs Showtime biography El Rey Mary Tyler Moore Star Trek 2016 Marathons rotten movies we love zombie diversity Columbia Pictures Peacock Ghostbusters Apple spider-man PaleyFest strong female leads unscripted