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Throw Momma From the Train is a 1987 Black Comedy directed by Danny DeVito in which writer Larry Donner, suffering from severe writer's block, meets writing student and simpleton Owen Lift. Larry is wracked with jealous rage over his ex-wife Margaret, who stole his book and with it, became a world-famous author. Owen, after being instructed by Larry to see some Hitchcock films to help him learn how to write murder mysteries, thinks Larry was sending him a message to exchange murders after he chooses Strangers on a Train: Owen is to kill Margaret, and Larry is to kill Owen's monstrous mother. Larry becomes entwined with the idiot "couch potato" as he is on the lam from being a major suspect in Margaret's murder, since Owen failed to tell him of his intent and didn't allow Larry to create an alibi.

Anne Ramsey earned an Academy Award nomination for her role as Momma, and passed away a year later.

Tropes used in Throw Momma from the Train include:


 Mrs. Hazeltine: "Dive! Dive!" yelled the Captain through the thing! So the man who makes it dive pressed a button, or a something, and it dove. And, the enemy was foiled again. "Looks like we foiled them again," said Dave. "Yeah," said the Captain. "We foiled those bastards again. Didn't we, Dave." "Yeah," said Dave. The End.

  • The Chew Toy: Larry and Owen both.
  • Coitus Uninterruptus: Owen interrupts Larry and Beth's lovemaking on a kid's train.
  • Comically Missing the Point: And how. Owen gets the wrong message when Larry tells him to go see a Hitchcock movie.
  • Determinator: Owen and Momma.
  • Did Not Do the Research: In-universe, as one of Larry's students writes a story about a submarine crew, without bothering to learn the name of the device the captain talks through. She just calls it "the thing."
  • The Ditz: Owen drifts into this territory several times.
  • Evil Old Folks: Momma to the End.
  • Femme Fatale: Margaret.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: Oh, yes.
  • Gosh Darn It to Heck: One of Larry's students who overheard Larry screaming, "That slut, I wish she were dead!" tells the police, "I heard him call her a very bad name, and that he wished she were dead."
  • Groin Attack: "She's not a woman. She's The Terminator."
  • Hey, It's That Guy!:
    • Rob Reiner is Larry's agent.
    • Captain Janeway is Larry's slutty ex-wife.
    • Branford Marsalis is Lester, Larry's best friend.
    • Mama Fratelli is Owen's tyrannical mother.
  • Ho Yay: Owen and Larry.
  • It Was a Dark and Stormy Night: All of Larry's attempts to write during his writer's block start "The night was..."
  • Jerkass: Momma.
  • Karma Houdini: Larry's ex-wife gets away with stealing his book, and all the accolades with it, and at the end is set to make more money with the story of how she survived falling off the ship. Larry's victory is simply that he learns to stop obsessing over her, which lets him write another great book.
    • Then again, her success may not continue; it's tough to follow an act that wasn't yours in the first place, after all. However, she seems intent on milking the book for all it's worth, ie. benefiting from the film rights.
  • Lawful Stupid: Larry. He is so sensitive about plagiarism, he changes his story from "The night was humid." to "The night was moist." when he discovers Owen started his writing assignment the same way. Probably justified, in that his hateful ex-wife stole his novel, passed it off as her own and it became a bestseller, which would be enough to give anyone a complex about the subject.
  • Mood Whiplash: A lot of it. One example has a depressed Owen talking about how evil he is for killing Margaret, then brightly exclaiming "Cows!" when he sees a dairy billboard.

 Larry: (listening to the news) Oh, poor, poor, Margaret... that SLUT! SLUT! SHE IS A SLUT SLUT!... I'm gonna fry!


 Larry: This is the PERFECT time to panic!

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