Fried Green Tomatoes: Anniversary Edition Jon Avnet

What makes a film a classic? No doubt it has much to do with the script, acting and direction, but in a sense it has more to do with public reaction and the ultimate timeless staying power of the story. Can it still rend emotion from its viewers ten years in the future? How about 20? Despite the ease with which many dismiss Fried Green Tomatoes as a chick flick, looking closer there’s also something else beneath. It’s a tale of unwavering and unconditional friendship, of race struggle before anyone knew the battle could be won, of surviving through adversity and finding oneself, and ultimately uncovering one’s inner strength. The tale is told through two stories — the first is a framing device used to unravel the second. In it, Kathy Bates exceptionally essays a long-disappointed housewife, who feels not only ignored and disrespected at home but even by the strangers around her. All this changes when she meets and befriends a kind old woman in a nursing home, who tells her the incredible story of two friends: Idgie (Mary Stuart Masterson ) and Ruth (Mary-Louise Parker ). It’s through this period tale of enduring friendship that the story weighs in on such emotionally wrought themes as death, sickness, spousal abuse and race relations in the time of segregation. And it’s through Idgie’s bravery and unwavering commitment, not only to her best friend but also to her own individuality and living life on her terms, that Bates’s unhappy housewife finds her inner strength and can begin living the life she dreams of, with some very amusing "accidents” along the way. For this Anniversary Edition, Universal has seen fit to digitally re-master the film, supplying a 5.1 surround mix and, most intriguingly, an extended version of the film. However, the transitions between the original footage and the added scenes are so smooth only a diehard fan will notice more than one or two of the additions. The disc also includes a lengthy documentary about adapting Fannie Flaggs’ novel to screen, a director’s commentary, deleted scenes and outtakes, production photos and notes, as well as some posters and recipes. So, try to ignore the unfortunate "chick flick” label and give this timeless drama about people facing life’s hardships through rebellion and camaraderie a chance. (Universal)