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'Animal Kingdom'

TBS, June 14th
Ellen Barkin might not seem like the first star you'd pick to play a redneck bank-robbing thug-life queen. But she really brings it in Animal Kingdom, which could have been called Mom of Anarchy. A confused California kid goes to live with his grandma after his mother dies of a heroin overdose. But he quickly discovers that she's running her own crime family, commanding his hairy and heavily-armed surf-trash uncles, who all call her Smurf. She bakes them cupcakes and keeps their beds fitted with high thread-count sheets, beaming, "Nothing's too good for my boys!" Barkin is sublimely creepy, especially since she keeps her sons under her thumb by constantly playing quasi-sexual mind games with them. She's in the great tradition of Angie Dickinson in the exploitation drive-in classic Big Bad Mama.