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A Film-and-Television Guide to Bad Mothers

In preparation for Mother’s upcoming day, a film festival of sorts. Start with the canon’s matriarch, Mommie Dearest, a 1981 high-camp masterpiece about the actress Joan Crawford, based on her daughter’s scandalous memoir of abuse. Then try an anxious, (over)attachment style courtesy of cinema’s best mother-son duo, Norma and Norman Bates, of Hitchcock’s Psycho. For a less creepy but likewise imaginary mother, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, wherein Liz Taylor’s drunken heroine mourns a beloved, though made-up, son. On television, a woman lacking in maternal love but not wanting in children—Livia Soprano, the most true-to-life bad mom on this list, and the most terrifying for it. Worst mother in a mini-series goes to Patricia Clarkson’s character in Sharp Objects, a Southern belle with a serious case of Munchausen syndrome by proxy. But the most horrific mothers, in the sense that they are many and they are, usually, homicidal, can be found across Law and Order’s 20 seasons, where matricide abounds in equal measure. Happy Mother’s Day! (All available to rent on Amazon Prime; The Sopranos and Sharp Objects are also on —Clementine Ford



Lockdowns have been good for the virtual workout space. Peloton is the new status symbol. Melissa Wood has the bulkiest men striving for “long lean lines.” What’s missing is the in-person aspect, which is where this fitness start-up comes in. Founded by Italian 28-year-old Pierangelo Raiola, who quit his job in finance to launch XTRA when the pandemic hit, the company has its own video platform that allows instructors to view and give feedback to users, if users decide they want in. Users can also opt to see each other, making certain classes feel like the closest thing we have to real-life studio exercise at home. Trainers from gyms all over the world have signed on, so you can take former pro-boxer Nik Bernardi’s class one day and former pro-ballerina Julie Granger’s the next. The brand is currently beta testing an A.I. technology that will enhance clients’ communication with coaches, so now’s the time to try it out. ( —Julia Vitale


The Moonstruck House

So named for its role in the 1987 film starring Cher and Nicolas Cage, the Brooklyn Heights brownstone known as the Moonstruck house is on the market for nearly $13 million. On the corner of Cranberry and Willow, the four-story, Federal-style home is still as charming as Cosmo’s moon thanks in part to a former owner, Edwards Rullman, who in 1965 helped convince the city to declare the neighborhood its first historic district, thereby preserving the streets down which Cher would later kick the can. (Rullman sold the home in 2008 for about “100 times what we paid for it back in 1961,” he told The New York Times.) Today, the exterior looks just as it did when it belonged to the fictional Castorinis, with a restored mansard roof, and while some of the interiors have been updated—Olympia Dukakis’s to-die-for kitchen (Nancy Meyers who?) is no more—many of the building’s 1829 details, such as hand-carved trim and marble fireplaces, remain. ( —Clementine Ford


Eleven Madison Home

Among the four-star restaurants in New York that have yet to reopen is Daniel Humm’s masterpiece Eleven Madison Park. The good news, however, is that Eleven Madison Home—which features your choice of entrée and four sides (plus a jar of granola) that are as good as anything you’d get in their drop-dead-gorgeous dining room—is now available for pickup across the tri-state area. Even better, for every dinner you purchase, you’ll fund 10 meals for hungry New Yorkers experiencing food insecurity, which Humm distributes through the Eleven Madison Truck, in partnership with the nonprofit Rethink Food. You can’t go wrong with anything you order. All we suggest is to make sure that you get the strawberry shortcake for dessert. ($250–$395, —Michael Hainey

Issue No. 94
May 1, 2021
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Issue No. 94
May 1, 2021