Netflix Random Five: Thanksgiving

What's a thanksgiving movie? I've been wondering that myself. Though I was raised in one of those few Nebraska families that didn't watch football all day, I'm struggling to remember the sort of things we did watch after refrigerating the sacrificial bird's remains.

The simplest answer to the question, for my purposes here, would be movies that take place during thanksgiving – of which there are few – or, stretching just a little, movies about food.

I found a couple that fit that bill well enough, but after perusing the massive Netflix Instant Watch library, I realized there there were also several things I'd really hate to see while in the throes of a food-coma.

The Good

Fine, food-related film. And they all, in one way or another, take a crack at the indispensable and frequently frustrating other half of the holiday: family.

Gosford Park (2001) – Robert Altman's sprawling murder mystery/comedy is set in a huge English mansion. The characters are divided among the wealthy guests upstairs and the help toiling downstairs, but the whole cast is made up of some of Britain's finest (Helen Mirren, Kristin Scott Thomas, Michael Gambon, etc). Food plays a part, but its the sense of barely contained chaos that might ring most true on turkey day.

Jack Goes Boating (2010) – Philip Seymour Hoffman ends up being the best actor-turned-director in recent memory. Go figure. He also stars here as Jack, a reggae loving limo driver (see hilarious image above). Heartbreaking, beautiful performances from all involved (Amy Ryan and John Ortiz, particularly). And it's on this list because a pivotal emotional point revolves around one labored-over homemade meal.

The Trip (2010) – Not about thanksgiving, and not really even about food, although the premise is this: Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, English comedians playing skewed versions of themselves, tour the finest restaurants in the north of England. Rob is happy and well-adjusted; Steve is far from it. Funny, moving and probably the most quotable movie released in the states this year (especially if you do a good Michael Caine impression).

The Bad

Perfectly fit for streaming on Wednesday or Friday or any other day. But on thanksgiving: avoid!

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoise (1972) – In one of Luis Buñuel's best films, a group of really awful people sit down to dinner but constantly find it impossible to eat. Sort of a nightmare vision of thanksgiving.

Food, Inc. (2008) – Unless your extended family keeps well-worn copies of “The Omnivore's Dilemma” and “Diet for a Small Planet” on their bookshelves, you probably don't want to know how your turkey spent its last days.


entered on 11/22/11 at 05:45 AM | read comments »


Movieha - Omaha’s Movie Podcast!

It is the fastball special again, but hey, it is our dirty thirty episode so don’t be sad! We have some Dr. Who/Brad Pitt news. The Radar finds a movie about gambling for Jesus in Holy Rollers. A review of Take Shelter. We cry out for the sake of "Community," Netflix hits up Pontypool, and we Ha!ku our way out of town. Legendary comedic stylings ahoy!

On Your Radar: Holy Rollers

I love movies with interesting subcultures, and this one is exactly that. Any film that features the phrase: "If you want to know Jesus, you should learn blackjack" has my interest.

Netflix Roulette: The Escapist

A prison escape movie? With Bryan Cox? Well, don't mind if we do!

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entered on 11/21/11 at 03:16 AM | read comments »


Cutting Room for November 16

  • It’s official: The excitement of the behind the scenes madness surrounding the Oscars has surpassed any excitement ever created by the actual Oscars. Brett Ratner, who is a horrible director and worse human being, has wisely resigned his spot as producer of the Academy Awards in the wake of publicly stating that “Rehearsing is for fags.” Eddie Murphy only agreed to host this year’s navel-gazing back-patting because he’s buddies with “The Rat,” so now he’s out too. So what ratings-enhancing hero swooped in to save the day? Billy Crystal. And with that uninspired declaration, you may now return to yawning.
  • They got Batman and Spider-man, so it’s only fair that we get Princess Diana. That’s right, with Brits Christian Bale and Andrew Garfield poaching the aforementioned prime American roles, it’s only fair that Jessica Chastain takes a U.K. role as retribution. Caught in Flight will tell the story of a secret affair that Lady Di had with a surgeon. The involvement of the brilliant Chastain moves this from “unwatchable Lifetime TV movie” status to “potentially not terrible.
  • Don’t worry. Even though skinny-minnie Jonah Hill isn’t going to be able to appear in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained due to scheduling conflicts, there is still exciting casting news to report. Tom Wopat, that’s right, the Tom Wopat from “The Dukes of Hazzard,” will appear in the film. If the thought of one of them ‘durn Duke boys appearing in a QT film doesn’t make your heart beat to the sound of the General Lee’s horn, there’s not much I can do for ya.
     

Cutting Room provides breaking local and national movie news … complete with added sarcasm. Send any relevant information to film@thereader.com. Check out Ryan on Movieha!, a weekly half-hour movie podcast (movieha.libsyn.com/rss), catch him on the radio on CD 105.9 (cd1059.com) on Fridays at around 7:30 a.m. and on KVNO 90.7 (KVNO.org) at 8:30 a.m. on Fridays and follow him on Twitter (twitter.com/thereaderfilm).


entered on 11/16/11 at 08:33 AM | read comments »


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