Coal Miner’s Daughter – Who Knew?


Coal Miner's Daughter (album)

Image via Wikipedia

I grew up listening to my mother play Loretta Lynn records. (Yes, records – sheesh, dating myself in my second post…) I don’t remember whether I liked them or disliked them; they were what Mom loved (along with lots of other country and music from “home”, Newfoundland), so they were the background music of my childhood. As I got older, I got musically snobbish, I’ll admit it – I came to hate anything sung with a twang. Country music, with rap and opera, tends to make me twitch (rap will actually drive me from a room, but that’s another post). So I never had the least interest in watching the movie made about Loretta Lynn.

Until tonight.

Come the weekend, I try to find a tv show or movie Mom will enjoy. Britcoms are great, and they’re on every Saturday night on Channel 13 – but we’ve seen most episodes eighty-seven times. At the moment, of the three discs I’m entitled to from Netflix, one is en route back (Victor Borge had a tv show? And it wasn’t all that funny?), one is with someone from work (and I sincerely hope she watches it and remembers to return it soon… for the record, it’s It Should Happen to You, one of Judy Holliday’s lamentably few movies and also Jack Lemmon’s film debut – he’s darling, she’s marvelous, loved the movie), and the third is the blast from my past The Last Starfighter, which I memorized when I was a kid, and which I’m hanging on to till I listen to the commentary. Okay, what about On Demand? Love On Demand – except when many of the opportunities have been exhausted… Last week I even bought a viewing (Ghost Town, which was absolutely wonderful and which makes me want to go Netflix everything Ricky Gervaise has ever been in) – but this time I figured we’d go with a freebie; let’s not get crazy here. And there was Coal Miner’s Daughter (henceforth CMD). I sighed, and said “How about that?” And, as expected, Mom thought it was a great idea. I went off and got my notebooks, figuring I could get some editing done while a movie I clearly wasn’t going to give a rat’s hind end played…

Spacek as country singer Loretta Lynn

Image via Wikipedia

I never wrote a word. This was a marvelous movie, and I hereby heartily apologize to Loretta Lynn. I also apologize to Sissy Spacek for being a little offended when a customer at Forest Grove Pharmacy, where I worked as a teenager, told me I looked like her. To be fair, at the time my impression of Sissy Spacek came from … I don’t even know what (Carrie, maybe?); the image in my head was of an oddly shaped nose, watery blue eyes, and a sharp profile. And she’s no Selma Hayek, to be sure – but suddenly after seeing this I’m retroactively flattered to pieces. (If I lose some weight will I look like her again? *snort*)

I suppose I expected this to be The Touching Story of a Country Girl Who Came Out of Nowhere to Overcome Her Poor Background and Abusive Husband Becoming a Country Music Star.  Which, in a way, it was.  But I didn’t expect the warmth of her family, the deep love from her parents, and the resigned rationality with which they let her marry the man she fell in love with when she was not-quite-13: they knew if they didn’t give consent she’d run off with him, or end up unmarried and pregnant.  I didn’t expect what Doolittle Lynn referred to as her saltiness – she gave as good as she got when he got belligerent, forgave him his many trespasses with a good will and got over the fights promptly (as he did, which was another thing that surprised me), and loved him throughout.  I didn’t expect that he, despite everything, would turn out to be a loving husband and father.  I didn’t expect to love the music, remember as many of the words as I apparently do, be this impressed with Sissy Spacek for doing her own singing and for a tremendous performance, or have this much affection and admiration for Loretta Lynn – and Patsy Cline.  (I also didn’t expect the general hotness of the young Tommy Lee Jones, but that, like my surprise at most of the rest of it, was my own ignorance.)  I loved this movie. Thanks, Mom.

Now I’m off to go grate some ginger to see if I can really make my own ginger beer.  I’m mildly addicted to the stuff, which makes me happy because all those children in British books are always going about with bottles of it, but it’s horribly expensive.  Ginger’s not.  It’s worth a shot.  (ETA: didn’t work …)

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1 Response to Coal Miner’s Daughter – Who Knew?

  1. accountantgrrl says:

    Holy Crap! I remember The Last Starfighter!

    I also remember my parent watching The Coal Miner’s Daughter (a.k.a “The Farmer’s Daughter by my hubby) when I was little and not really liking it. I’ll have to give it another looksey.

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