Throw Momma from the Train (1987) Review

When Larry Donner’s ex-wife steals his book idea he wishes that she was dead when Owen one of his students hears this he comes up with a plan that he will kill her and Larry can then kill his Mother who has ruled and ruined his whole life.


Throw Momma from the Train is a rather whacky adventure as we see Owen a student who is interested in writing and has Larry Donner as his teacher. Although Larry is somewhat a failed writer given he has never managed to actually write his own novel. He believes his ex-wife stole his novel and has then become rather rich and famous. He is struggling to come to terms with this and pretty much on the verge of a nervous breakdown with it all. Vocally letting his class know how much he hates her and wishes she was dead.

When Owen asks Larry for advice on a novel and that comes in the form of being told that killers always have a motive so it make it less obvious you need it to be a random killing. This is when Owen comes up with his master plan of killing Larry’s ex-wife and in return Larry can kill his Mother who has been overbearing in his whole life, not allowing himself to actually do anything for himself and doing everything for her (which was a little bit creepy).

Obviously when Margaret suddenly goes missing on a boat trip Larry is the prime suspect as she is expected to be dead, although no body was found. As a viewer we knew Owen was on the boat and the last we saw he moved towards her. Larry ends up in Owen’s house with him and Momma, constantly being asked to do the deed in return. Although he never ever wanted this deal to actually happen. As it moves towards the end of the film it is actually not sure what direction it is going in and I guess it was just an amusing way to go!

The comedy value in the film is decent enough and my love for Billy Crystal was the reason I decided to watch this one. He does not disappoint and it is the type of performance I would more than expect to see from him. Working alongside Danny DeVito worked very well and he also directed the film. I certainly was not expecting to find out though that this film received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role before watching it, that was certainly the case for Anne Ramsey. I mean she was rather impressive in the film as given a truly horrific character to play!

3 thoughts on “Throw Momma from the Train (1987) Review

  1. Worth pointing out of course that this is a direct comedy reworking of the classic Hitchcock film “Strangers on a Train”…. which if you’ve never seen yet, you should!


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