Sunday, November 18, 2012

"I've got eyes to see with, ears to hear with (or fly with), arms to hug with, lips to kiss with, someone to adore. How could anybody ask for more? My needs are small, I buy them all at the 5 and 10 cent store. Oh, I've got plenty to be thankful for."*

   You know what the world really needs? More movies about Thanksgiving. And Thanksgiving could also use some more songs. I’m really trying to think of songs about Thanksgiving, but aside from “Plenty to Be Thankful For” from Holiday Inn and the soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, I’m coming up empty. And it sucks because all the radio stations and department stores stomp right over Thanksgiving and start acting like its Christmas the day after Halloween.
Post-Halloween, pre-Thanksgiving: see? At Em's in Chicago.

   And oh Christmas with it’s terrible songs. (I wrote about that last year so I won’t go into it again.) It’s a travesty because Thanksgiving is AMAZING. It truly is AMAZING. It’s an entire holiday devoted to eating wonderful food and begrudgingly acknowledging your blessings between bites of turkey and pie. All kinds of pie! (Seriously: apple, pumpkin, rhubarb, chocolate, pecan: whatever kind of pie you want, Thanksgiving’s probably got it! Pie!) And after that you take a nap and maybe you wake up and watch football, or maybe you go meet up for drinks with friends who are in town for the holidays just like you. And you don't have to go to Church!

I made these out of pumpkin! Why is it only available for 2 months of the year?
   I did a little research on the Interwebs and came up with a few familiar movie titles, and some not-so-familiar movie titles that will allow me to start celebrating Thanksgiving really hard now that we’re in the final stretch to my favorite holiday of the year. (This is, of course, not including the much-anticipated post-Thanksgiving premiere of Liz and Dick starring my arch-rival Lindsay Lohan.)
   Here’s a familiar one: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (John Hughes, 1987). I’m really fond of this movie, even though it kind of tugs at my heartstrings towards the end, and I don’t like movies that try to make me feel stuff. But I love me some John Hughes, so this gets re-watched every now and then. And now the time is just right. Plus, I love just about every movie John Candy ever made. Steve Martin’s all right in my book, too.
   Here’s a not-so-familiar one: ThanksKilling (Jordan Downey, 2009). Now this movie sounds fascinating. It is described on as follows: “A homicidal turkey axes off college kids during Thanksgiving break.” What’s not to like about that premise? It’s high time the turkeys of America got their revenge. And college kids suck, everyone knows that.
   Familiar: Holiday Inn (Mark Sandrich, 1942). Granted, the focus ultimately ends up being on Christmas (largely due to the musical finagling of the decidedly Jewish Irving Berlin: goddamn that song “White Christmas”!), but it is a musical about EVERY holiday and there is that whole delightful musical number where sad, lonely Bing Crosby talks about all the things he has going for him.
   Not-so: Son in Law (Steve Rash, 1993). Remember when Pauly Shore was a movie star? I do, because Encino Man was one of my favorite movies at that time (and I was planning to marry or seriously befriend Brendan Fraser), and also I thought he (Pauly) was wildly talented and seemed very sweet deep, down inside. But this isn't about how I have terrible, near-constantly bad judgment about men. Anyway, this truly raucous, awful film came out during those few short "Pauly Years," and it is vaguely tied to Thanksgiving. So…there’s that.
   Familiar: Hannah and Her Sisters (Woody Allen, 1986). This is one of those really awesome Woody Allen movies from the eighties that doesn’t seem to be about anything, and maybe isn’t, but still somehow keeps coming back to the same Thanksgiving celebration at the same house each year and somehow winds up seeming really good and fulfilling. Like turkey and potatoes and PIE! Plus, Dianne Wiest is always amazing. 
   Not so: Boogeyman (Ulli Lommel, 1980) is vaguely centered around the Thanksgiving holiday. Without watching this movie again, I can’t tell you much. I think that perhaps the 1980 version that I saw is not the one that takes place at Thanksgiving, and maybe that’s the remake that happened in 2005. I will tell you this: the Boogeyman haunted my childhood. I slept with the closet door firmly closed until 2011, and I will NEVER WATCH THAT MOVIE AGAIN, despite not truly knowing to this day what the fuck a boogeyman even is. But do you want to know the best part about the Boogeyman? It's the definition: “An amorphous, imaginary being used by adults to frighten children into compliant behavior.” And what more is there to be thankful for than the power we adults wield over unsuspecting, ignorant children? Mwah ha ha ha ha! That’s really what Thanksgiving is all about. I guess. What was I even talking about? I think I’ve gotten away from my point…
I made this from pumpkin, too. It's pumpkin soup. So good. Pumpkins for the whole year! Thanksgiving keeps pumpkins alive past Halloween! Thanksgiving is the vegetable's answer to the no-kill animal shelter.
   Some of the Internets tried to say that Pocahontas was a Thanksgiving movie. Yeah, maybe if you love bad music and you really want to feel remorseful about all the shit that went down in the 17th Century that you can't control and had nothing to do with. I say: move forward. Let’s not remember too hard about the shenanigans that went down at Plymouth Rock and try to focus a bit more on being grateful that we have so much pie to eat. 
*This song is from Holiday Inn and written by Irving Berlin. It's kind of cheeky and not altogether sincere, but it is one of the only Thanksgiving songs that exists. And I'm super grateful for it.  And for Holiday Inn (the movie, not the hotel chain...okay I'm grateful for both. It's Thanksgiving, for chrissakes).

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