Family Movie Night
Thanksgiving is done.
The turkey on the table was surrounded by the favorite side dishes. Stuffing, cranberry sauce, potatoes or sweet potatoes, deviled eggs and a relish tray. Then there were desserts.
Pumpkin pie, mince meat pie, apple pie, Key Lime Pie Cheesecake.
Ok, maybe it doesn’t happen that way at your house. Maybe the deviled eggs are replaced with something else. Stuffing is made with sage and onion instead of oysters and onion.
No matter, we gathered together to give thanks and dig in to a great feast. But now it is the day after and people with the day off are looking around. The kids might be looking for something to do .
That is when you dip into the bag of classic movies. My favorite movie to watch is Miracle On 34th Street (1947). Yes, it is black and white. It was made during the post war era when the feeling of hope was palatable. Then there is Edmund Gwenn, who may have been the most perfect Santa ever. We meet him as he is walking down a street in Manhattan on Thanksgiving Day.
He is telling a shop keeper how to arrange the reindeer in proper order when he sees a drunken Santa on the Macy’s float. That is when Gwenn meets Maureen O’Hara and she asks him to be the Macy’s Santa. Maureen O’Hara represents the bitterness of the era who is secretly seeking hope without knowing if she will ever find it. Meanwhile, attractive bachelor corporate lawyer John Payne, the personification of optimism and populist idealism, is trying to attract the beautiful O’Hara.
You do not have to watch the movie for all of the deeper meanings. It is a lovely film that epitomizes the spirit of the Christmas season, reminding us to believe in faith alone and to be grateful for what we have in this world. This is one movie that all members of the family can watch and enjoy together.
Another movie that is better for adult-only viewing is Home For The Holidays starring Holly Hunter as an artistic restorer who is going home to Baltimore for Thanksgiving. She has just been fired, her daughter tells her this is the weekend she is staying with her boyfriend and her stylish coat has been lost at O’Hare Airport.
But wait it gets better. Her priggish sister insists on making a whole separate meal that is ‘healthier’ while looking down her nose at their gay brother. The gay brother brings along a friend who may be interested in Hunter.
Why I like this movie has to do with moments of hope and understanding as adult children learn to understand their parents, siblings and maybe themselves. While parents, siblings and kids might drive each other crazy, for most there is a reservoir of love that keeps you coming back.
Last, but not least, is perhaps what I think may be one of the funniest and sweetest Thanksgiving movies ever made. I was visiting Emjayandthem’s blog when I saw the reminder of what a great movie Planes, Trains, and Automobiles really is. It may not be appropriate for every member in the house, although I think kids 13 and up can watch this one.
John Candy and Steve Martin charm in this movie as two travelers who are trying to get home when getting home for Thanksgiving is just not working out. I love it from start to finish. Cabbie race scene, uncomfortable train ride, car burning, confrontation and realizing you are an ass – all of it is great movie making.
Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.
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