Underrated movie of the day: Drop Dead Gorgeous

Credit: New Line Cinema

I used to go on lots of road trips as a kid with my grandparents. One summer we drove all the way from California to New York. No joke. Anyway, my grandparents strapped a mini TV in between the front seats so my sister and I could watch movies during long car rides. (I’ll warn you in advance most of my underrated movie posts will be from these trips.) One that would be rewound and replayed over and over was Drop Dead Gorgeous.

This is, to this day, one of my favorite movies of all time. It’s an off-beat comedy shot documentary-style about a beauty pageant in Mount Rose, Minnesota. In the days leading up to the contest, the contestants are mysteriously murdered. Nowadays, jokes are too calculated or forced, but these were casually laid down on the table. Either you laughed, or you were too stupid to get it. The jokes are not painstakingly obvious so every member of the audience must crack up. Every time I watch it, I notice another joke that I didn’t laugh at last time. Before Diablo Cody, there was Lona Williams and her screenplay was brilliant.

I can’t rave enough about the cast, which includes Kirsten Dunst as sweet-as-pie Amber Atkins, Denise Richards as arch nemesis, Becky Leeman and Brittany Murphy as perky Broadway enthusiast. My grandpa and I both agree that Kirstie Alley deserved an Oscar for her performance as evil pageant sponsor and Becky’s mother, Gladys Leeman. She embodies every insane stage mother and does so with a wink and grin. Alley and Richards’ chemistry as mother-daughter duo is sharp and on the money.

There are no character “fillers” in this movie. Every bit and bob is funny. The extras even made me laugh. I hope that at least one person will read this post and give the movie a go, because it is hilarious. And you might also understand my sense of humor a little better.

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