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Film / Ricki and the Flash

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Ricki and the Flash is a 2015 Slice of Life movie, written by Diablo Cody and directed by Jonathan Demme, about Ricki (but not the Flash). The film was Demme's final dramatic work as a director, released before his death in 2017. note 

Meryl Streep stars as aging rock musician "Ricki Rendazzo"—real name Linda Brummel—who abandoned her family years ago in pursuit of fame and fortune, but now mostly plays at a California dive bar in front of a handful of loyal fans while working the till at a supermarket to make ends meet. After receiving a call that her daughter Julie (played by Streep's real life daughter Mamie Gummer) has been left by her husband, Ricki travels back to reconnect with her family.

Also stars Kevin Kline as Ricky's ex-husband Pete, Sebastian Stan as her middle son Joshua and Rick Springfield as her lead guitarist Greg.

Ricki and the tropes:

  • Alliterative Name: Ricki Rendazzo.
  • An Aesop: "Just because you screwed up once it doesn't mean you don't get a second chance."
  • Artist and the Band
  • Berserk Button: When Greg calls Ricki "Linda" on stage, she gets very annoyed.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: Seems like it at first, but they get better.
  • Cool Old Lady: Played for Drama in Ricki's case. While she fits the stereotypical requirements—in her fifties at least and fronting a rock band—she's shown to have baggage of her own.
  • Dance Party Ending: Well the end is at a wedding and the protagonist is a rock musician. Do the math.
  • Doing It for the Art: In-universe. Ricki only has a handful of loyal fans to see her perform, but she does it out of sheer love.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Downplayed. Ricki prefers to go by her stage name, but she allows her family to call her Linda. She however is furious when Greg calls her that.
  • Double Standard: Ricki mentions one. If a father isn't there for his family, he's usually forgiven somewhat. If a mother isn't, she's regarded as a monster.
  • Driven to Suicide: Julie tried anyway. Thankfully she didn't succeed and doesn't try again.
  • Dysfunction Junction: At the family dinner scene we have: the mother who abandoned her family to become a musician, the father who remarried and excluded said mother, the suicidal divorcee daughter, the gayngst son and the other son who won't invite his mother to his wedding.
  • Fallen-on-Hard-Times Job: Played with. Ricki works at a supermarket till to make ends meet. She doesn't seem to have much of a problem with it though.
  • Family Versus Career: The film's premise is the fallout of Ricki abandoning her family for fame and fortune many years back.
  • Granola Girl: Implied with Joshua's fiancee Emily. Their wedding is very eco friendly.
  • The Makeover: Well more like taking Julie out to actually get washed after a while.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Ricki proves she can go Mama Bear when she encounters Julie's ex and his new girlfriend in a bar.
  • Never My Fault: Ricki constantly tells Pete that he squeezed her out of the family, ignoring that she still abandoned her children.
  • Nice Mean And In Between: Ricki's three children: Joshua (Nice), Julie (Mean) and Adam (In-between).
  • No Bisexuals: Adam says of his previous claim of bisexuality "that was just my cover story in college."
  • Parody Sue: Maureen is literally the perfect mother. But she's so inhumanly perfect it's clear she's meant as a Foil for Ricki.
  • Protagonist Title: Unsurprisingly, Ricki is the main character.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Ricki attepts to give one to Maureen, and gets an even bigger one in return.
  • The Rock Star: What Ricki and Greg have aspired to be anyway.
  • Scatter Brained Senior: Oma, played by Charlotte Rae in a cameo.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Both Julie and Ricki at the climactic wedding.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Ricki herself is the only female member of the Flash.
  • Stage Name: Ricki's real name is actually Linda Brummel.
  • Team Title: The title refers to the band.
  • There Are No Therapists: Subverted. Julie is in therapy to deal with her divorce, and Maureen preaches how important it is that she doesn't miss a session.
  • Tomboyish Name: Stage name anyway. Ricki's real name Linda is more feminine.
  • True Blue Femininity: The dress Ricki (reluctantly) wears to Joshua's wedding is a shade of royal blue.
  • Vague Age: It's not stated how old Ricki is meant to be. Meryl Streep was 66 at the time, though she's likely meant to be somewhere in her fifties.
  • White-Dwarf Starlet: Played with. Ricki and the Flash did have an album and enjoyed some success, but they were never stars.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Inverted. Ricki was the deadbeat biological mother, while stepmother Maureen is practically a demigod of perfection.