Modern Family Productions


PORTLAND MERCURY | Chas Bowie, November 6, 2003

“It’s like The Royal Tenenbaums meets The Addams Family, and it’s one of the best short films I’ve ever seen. A set of triplets, a food-obsessive mother hooked to an IV, and a suite of cats move surreally and beautifully through this entrancing film. The art direction had me squealing with glee. Aside from just being an insanely good film, the director is only 23 years old. I'm still in awe.”

FILM THREAT | Doug Brunell, March 18, 2004

“This is the kind of film Tim Burton wishes he could make. Kind of touching, kind of morbid and totally original. And to give the answer to the movie's Jeopardy-like title: ‘Because mom’s a psycho.’”

Mom (Patti Wotherspoon) cooks elaborate, disgusting meals for her three darlings, but she has an intense hatred of brown eggs. Her children, Godfrey (Colton Boreen), Chester (Michael Kurliak) and Eliza (Katherine Eaton), are getting a little fed up with her antics, too. When it comes time to eat their birthday meal they decide to take a very unusual stand against their mother's insanity and do something all children wish they could do at one time or another.

Mom isn’t the only touched one in the family, though. Her children are also a little bizarre. Chester likes to flush various household items down the toilet, and Godfrey eats flowers. Eliza spies on her brothers and carries around balloons with her wherever she goes. Why? Does it matter? They just all have problems.

Rarely has there been a short film so worthy of attention. It has just the right amounts of dark humor and fantasy, and it always takes itself seriously. It’s also painfully obvious that director/writer Jamie Travis has a natural gift. If this doesn't win some awards, the judges are asleep at the wheel.”

CHANNEL 4, UK | October 2004

“Three seven year-olds endure the culinary abuses of their mother in this gloriously surreal movie from Canada, about a family for whom the word ‘dysfunctional’ was invented. Imagine David Lynch attempting to make a children's TV series and you'll be halfway to understanding this movie.”

NOW TORONTO | Wendy Banks, September 4, 2003

“Then there’s Jamie Travis’s darkly hilarious Why The Anderson Children Didn’t Come To Dinner, with its hollow-eyed kids straight out of Edward Gorey.”

TERMINAL CITY | Robert Dayton, April 2004

“It’s like a Technicolor live action Edward Gorey gone Absurdist. The mother’s skirt even matched the drapes!”

THE MISSOULIAN | Joe Nickell, November 13, 2004

“Next comes Why the Anderson Children Didn’t Come to Dinner, by far the most bizarre, carefully characterized, and sumptuously visualized film of the bunch. It’s sort of like The Royal Tenenbaums crossed with The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover. A one-sentence plot summary might read: ‘Three whimsical young siblings escape from mother’s culinary abuses by fleeing into their fantasies.’ The longest of the films included in the best-of revue, Why the Anderson Children Didn’t Come to Dinner is as beautiful as it is laugh-out-loud funny.”

MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL | Joanne Weintraub, December 2004

“You think your family is strange? In the Anderson home, Mom is a suburban Medea, the kids are as morose as Edward Gorey’s, and the pets are in mortal danger. Dad never shows up; if I were Dad, I wouldn't, either. Like Gorey’s ghoulish stories and illustrations, The Anderson Children is as funny as it is disturbing.”

PLAYBACK ST. LOUIS | Bobby Kirk, March 2004

“This is a bizarre film about an insane woman raising three children and constantly cooking. The high key visuals and baroque touches—mother continuously wears an IV in her vein—create a discomforting world, perfectly reflecting the sadistic mother and providing ample motivation for the children to flee. ”

SEE MAGAZINE | Kevin Wilson, May 27, 2004

“A grim but brightly coloured head scratcher—like a nearly contemporary suburban version of a story by Edward Gorey.”