Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

How to Beat the High Co$t of Living


It’s a good idea, that really should have been funnier than it is. Susan Saint James, Jane Curtin, and Jessica Lange are housewives who are all in financial trouble for one reason or another. They hatch a scheme to rob a “money globe” filled with real bills, a promotional stunt for a large shopping center. I can guarantee you that a very big percentage of the residents of Eugene, Oregon, saw this picture, as did I. That’s because it was shot in Eugene, where I lived for some years. And it was actually set in Eugene, too, not some fictional Anytown, USA, in the Valley River Center and on the Willamette River, which runs through town. So, watching this thirty-four years later, we were kept busy either recognizing or failing to recognize locations. Much has changed, but a lot is still the same.

Jane Curtin’s part is the best one. She is a schemer, and a bargainer. When she’s in trouble she has no trouble offering her sweet body in payment … and the funny thing is she keeps getting turned down. She’s also the angriest of the three, with a foul mouth and a willingness to do whatever needs to be done to pull off the heist.

The IMDb offers a nice anecdote about the filming. Seems they were shooting near a busy street and a guy drove by in a car and shouted “Jane, you ignorant slut!” Some of you may be too young to remember the “Saturday Night Live” “Weekend Update” Point/Counterpoint schtick where, after Jane offered her thoughts on something, Dan Ackroyd would turn to her and say that. The crew cracked up, and I hope Jane did, too.