Favorite things about… Riding in Cars with Boys

(Image via Movie Goods)

The favorite film:
Riding in Cars with Boys, a 2001 comedy/drama from Columbia Pictures.

The synopsis:
Bev was born in 1950 and grew up in a working-class family. She’s bright, talented and full of ambition. She dreams of going to college in New York and getting published.
But Bev also likes to have her fun. The time comes when she develops an interest in romantic relationships, and she finds herself pregnant at age 15. The father is the well-meaning but flawed Ray, who agrees to marry Bev in order to appease her angry parents.
The film follows the next few decades of Bev’s life as she deals with Ray’s addictions, raising a son when she’s only a child herself and being pushed into giving up on all of the goals she had as a child.

The cast:
Drew Barrymore as Bev Donofrio
Steve Zahn as Ray
Brittany Murphy as Bev’s best friend, Faye
Adam Garcia as Bev’s grown son, Jason
James Woods and Lorraine Bracco as Bev’s parents

Fun facts:

  • The film is based on the memoir of Beverly Donofrio and was adapted for the screen by Morgan Ward.
  • Ward’s only other writing credit is on 1995’s A Pyromaniac’s Love Story.
  • While the film portrays Bev as a high school drop out, the real Beverly Donofrio eventually received a Master’s degree in creative writing.
  • Beverly Donofrio makes a cameo appearance in the film.

(Image via Fanpop)

  • Though the film was released in 2001, the rights to Donofrio’s book were purchased in the late 1980s.
  • Soon after the rights were purchased, Cher was considered for the film’s lead role.
  • Drew Barrymore portrays Adam Garcia’s mother in the scenes set in the 1980s. Barrymore is actually two years younger than Garcia, who was born in 1973.
  • References are made to Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Romeo and Juliet and Rosemary’s Baby, among other ’60s entertainment staples. The only reference predating Bev’s birth is of Gone with the Wind.

(Image via Fanpop)

Favorite things:

    • It’s Dominick the Donkey!
    • The soundtrack is amazing, from The Everly Brothers to Cyndi Lauper.
    • Fantastic cast. Standouts:
      • Zahn builds great sympathy for his character despite the fact that he is nowhere near a stand-up guy
      • Maggie Gyllenhaal, who portrays Faye’s grown daughter in the film’s 1980s scenes, managed to pick up on some of Brittany Murphy’s mannerisms very well. The two never share a scene together, but Gyllenhaal is very convincing in the role, since children often do pick up on some of the mannerisms of their parents.
    • The very honest script speaks frankly about growing up, parenthood and Beverly Donofrio’s less-than-ideal experience with it all.
    • No over-the-top drama is neeed, because the ups and downs of Bev’s life are more than enough to grip the viewer.
    • Penny Marshall directs. Yes, that Penny Marshall… from Laverne & Shirley!
    • Quotes:
      • Mrs. Donofrio: “A boy puts his tongue in your mouth ’cause he wants you to bite it off!”
      • Young Bev: “I’m gonna die, and all because Melissa has boobs? That’s too tragic, even for Shakespeare!”
      • Ray: “You were the girl!”
        Bev: “JULIET!”
        Ray: “Yeeeeeeah!”
      • Faye: “My daughter’s a tramp. My daughter’s a tramp! MY DAUGHTER’S A TRAMP!”
      • Ray: “Please marry me, because I’m s— without you.”
      • Mr. Donofrio (to newborn Jason): “Your mother’s 15, your father’s a moron and they want us to celebrate!”
      • Bev (to her infant child): “JASON! Faye has bigger problems than you right now, be considerate!”
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