One of the oddest films in the history of motion pictures got a new DVD release last week, although they must have just run out of the old supply, because this new DVD doesn't contain so much as a trailer in the way of extras. The film I'm talking about is Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael, a low-budget dramedy that Winona Ryder unwisely embarked on right around the same time that she was making Edward Scissorhands and Heathers. The premise of the film -- a fifteen year-old girl in a small town comes to believe that a famous woman who hails from the same town, but left it abruptly fifteen years ago, is her long-lost mother -- isn't what makes it so odd. You could make anything out of that premise. No, the insanity of Roxy is in the details. The film would have us believe, for example, that the title character has made such a craterous impact on humanity in those fifteen years since she left that guided tours are now given of her old house, like as if Abe Lincoln lived there.
And that's just the beginning. The people around town reference Roxy in any conversation, for any purpose, like she's the God of their tribe. They get into fights over 'what Roxy would do.' They amuse themselves with Roxy trivia and busy themselves with preparations for a humongous 'welcome home' ceremony, which Stephen Tobolowsky will emcee and at which Roxy shall deign to actually walk amongst the mortals she left behind. So what's so astounding about Roxy that inspires such mania? She must be a stratospheric movie star, the Marilyn Monroe of her day, right? The first female president? A doctor who cured cancer? Well, no. She's some gal who some singer wrote one song about. And, according to the movie, she somehow got crazy rich off the royalty payments from this song she didn't write -- that's a new one -- and now she lives in a big mansion. We see Roxy from behind at the beginning of the movie -- we don't deserve to see her face -- diving into her mansion's big swimming pool, like something out of a perfume commercial.