Listen to our Mermaids episode on:
- Google Play
- Player FM
- Pocket Casts
If you’ve listened to previous episodes of Beyond The Box Set, you can probably guess that Cher and Winona Ryder playing a dysfunctional mother-daughter duo was always going to be an instant sell for us. Throw in towering wigs, a fabulous sixties soundtrack and supporting turns from Bob Hoskins and Christina Ricci, and Mermaids looks like a package so appealing on paper that the reality could only disappoint.
With that in mind, we’re pleased to report that – almost thirty years after its 1990 release – Mermaids actually holds up pretty well. It’s no masterpiece, but the performances are as uniformly delightful as you’d expect, and the plot touches on some slightly darker and more complicated issues than you might expect.
As young(ish) single single mother Rachel Flax, Cher delivers the complete Cher experience – improbable glamour, an impeccable beehive and a great line in acid-tongued quips. In one iconic scene she essentially creates her own drag persona, appearing in the full fishtail dress that partially inspires the title of the movie.
Fresh off Heathers and Beetlejuice, Ryder cemented her status as the go-to-girl for emotionally intense misfits, this time playing a hormonally charged fifteen year old obsessed with sex and religion. Her conflicted emotions and naiveté are largely played for laughs, but the film does (briefly) touch on the genuine possibility that her character may have serious mental health problems – surprisingly difficult territory for such a broadly commercial film, particularly in 1990.
This week we’re joined by returning guest Lucy Meredith, last seen in our ‘The Mermaid‘ episode – yes, there’s a theme emerging here. We talk about inappropriate childhood crushes, Cher’s greatest screen slaps and the unlikely sex appeal of Bob Hoskins, before setting to work on some sequel ideas to reunite the surviving members of the cast in 2018. This week’s ideas feature a jukebox musical, multiple road trips and a Black-Swan inspired body horror that makes the film’s title a whole lot more literal…
You can listen to our Mermaids episode via free download or streaming using the links at the top of this blog post – or by searching for us on your preferred podcast app. If you enjoy the show please consider subscribing and leaving a review, it really helps us to build our audience. You can also follow us on Facebook or Twitter, and even become a VIP supporter by donating to our Patreon for access to an extensive range of bonus content.
Next week, we’ll be travelling to London for an exciting Podcast crossover and a discussion of one of the last great war movies of the 20th century. Check back here on Friday 22nd June for all the details…