Thursday, November 26, 2015
We like to watch movies that are associated with certain holidays. Valentine's Day of course brings the romantic comedy, the Fourth of July is pretty much any nostalgic summer movie, a movie that has fireworks at some point, or something with ideas that are particularly germane to what it is to be called an American. Halloween brings horror films, and at Christmas we have so many holiday classics that we usually can only catch a handful amidst the chaos of shopping, hectic work schedules, and parties.
I got to thinking what constitutes a Thanksgiving movie, and realized that not much does except for films that have a particularly autumnal ambience or that actually have a scene taking place on Thanksgiving Day. Some obvious choices then would be Fantastic Mr. Fox, Hannah and Her Sisters, Home for the Holidays, and What's Cooking?
One that you don't hear too much about, though, is Prisoners, which begins with the two families whose young daughters are later abducted celebrating Thanksgiving together. It's a pretty terrific piece of Thanksgiving moviemaking, complete with perfectly overcast chilly weather, good food, wine, and when the whiskey breaks out, Terrence Howard showing off his trumpet skills. One interesting thing about it is that rather than involving extended family, these two families decide to keep it simple and just limit the day to one anothers' company. Instead of the typical dread of hanging out with in-laws, you get the sense that these people are much happier with a low key gathering built around their friendship, and that no better way could be spent celebrating the day.
It's the perfect Thanksgiving, at least for a while, and then the horrors set in.