Tag Archive: edmund gwenn


After the Feasting…

Family Movie Night

 

By Karyn Bowman

 

Do you have thanksgiving traditions that must be honored?

 

For us it is the green bean casserole. The husband loves it and feels it must be on the table in order for the meal to be complete. The kids must have jellied cranberry sauce although one year I picked up whole berry by mistake. Kids hated it, the adults loved it.

 

I try to change things up a little every year. I might make a different side dish, put something a little different on the relish plate, or try a cheesecake instead of pie.

 

But this year I have no such plans. It will be our favorites all the way.

 

I feel the same way about the movies we will watch. I really want to keep it to the old favorites this year.

 

Image from IMDb.comThe husband and I will probably stay up to watch Planes, Trains and Automobiles which stars the late John Candy and Steve Martin. These two men are trying to get home for the holiday after a snowstorm takes down their plane from NYC, sends them on a train south of where they need to be before finally getting home. Martin plays the persnickety advertising agency guy while Candy is the likable traveling salesman.

 

That these guys are an odd couple who do not get along is a part of the usual plot. But they are relying on each other to get home to the ones that they love and that can make for different dynamics. I am also taken by the differences in their personalities. A guy can be pretty prickly when his home is all it needs to be and the outside world cannot compare. Another guy can be friendly and maybe a bit annoying when his home is missing the one he loves the most.

 

This movie is more adult in context and there are a few scenes that have innuendos that may not be appropriate for the younger kids.

 

Image from IMDb.com

For whole family watching, there is always Miracle on 34th Street about an old man who is considered crazy because he says he is Santa Claus. A new version with Richard Attenborough exists although I prefer the 1947 film with Edmund Gwynn as Kris Kringle. It is a movie I love and probably know the script by heart.

 

But let’s say you want something a little different with lots of noise, gun fights, and explosions. The other week our family finally watched Cowboys and Aliens. The movie follows a tradition western set up. A lone man comes to a town, manages to get into a fight with the son of the richest man in

Poster Image from IMDb.com

town and becomes a target.

 

Then the alien ships show up and steal some of the town’s people, including the rich man’s son. This is not going to be your usual posse and you may not believe how it all works out.

I found it was a good movie for pre-teens and up, although my 8-year-old watched it without any ill effects. And did I mention that Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford are in this movie? Their performances really make it worthwhile.

 

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

 

After the Feast…

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.

Pie.

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 .

Edmund Gween as Kris Kringle in "Miracle on 34th Street." Picture from IMDb.com

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.

Home for the Holidays, picture from IMDb.com

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.

Picture from IMDb.com

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.

Let the world know about your latest pick for Family Movie Night and drop a note below. Become my friend on Facebook.

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