Movie Fuel: Thanksgiving Double Feature

Don’t forget to set your DVR for the two Charlie Brown specials and another short Ice Age show!

The Family Stone (2005) and Home for the Holidays (1995)

Thanksgiving is often a reflection of what we are grateful for.  It is also about food and is most certainly, family.  Poet Robert Frost once said, “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” The dysfunctional family has always been open game for movies, especially comedies.  Because everyone’s family has some component of dysfunction (at times the tradition of getting together for the holidays can seem forced for some), we as the viewer can relate to other fictional families who love each other despite their faults.  We don’t always get to choose our family, but we can appreciate them in their own unique way.

The Family Stone and Home for the Holidays are two films about family gatherings that emphasize that “unique” designation.  In a nutshell, The Family Stone is about a man who brings his future fiancĂ©e home for the holidays only to find that his family doesn’t welcome her with open arms.  At first glance, The Family Stone can seem awkward, a collection of bad behavior by unlikeable characters.  The characters are less introduced to the viewer than just thrown at you right away, but by the end of the film, you get a feel for who everyone is and you are glad to know them.  Some films are designed in a way for the viewer to take what is presented in its entirety; as a whole rather than in parts.  It is too easy to be turned off early; the family with bad hospitality and two main characters that seem empty and misdirected make for uncomfortable viewing at times.  But  it is the story that, when allowed to play out fully, keeps your attention and captures a realistic picture of a family who has more going on than what is on the surface.  Home for the Holidays is about a single mother, down on her luck, coming home alone once again while trying to put all the pieces together.  The film has less depth and strives more for the humor within the quirks of the family dynamic. I would guess more people may see themselves with the family depicted here.

Common themes between the two films, touch on the overbearing parents and their children that are at a crossroads, seeking to create their own identity apart from their family dynamic.  Both films also push the limits on the extreme stereotypical characters; the gay brother, the crazy angry sister, the old flame that’s also back in town, etc.  Aside from the stereotypes, both films have similarities in style as well; they teeter between drama and comedy (similar to a real life family) and both start with the main characters as the children in the family, but the parents are really the center of the story.

Just like we cringe sometimes at the idea of family plans, in the end, we like the company of someone or something familiar and welcoming.  So, this holiday, hug your family, savor the rich calories and of course, enjoy a movie with that meal.

Thanks Mr. Movie Fuel and Happy Thanksgiving to you! You know what you forgot to mention? Claire Danes shows up in both movies!

One of the reasons we disagree on The Family Stone can been read within Mr. Movie Fuel’s film comparison. Where he sees Stone as a dysfunctional family movie, I see it as a movie about a family’s love for their mother. Diane Keaton’s character is sick and each member of the Stone family uses the strengths and weaknesses of their own personality to deal with the inevitable future. I believe this is a story about finding love in unexpected ways.

Small Home Big Start has a great tutorial on the Morton Family Strata that Sarah Jessica Parker’s character makes. I think a wheat bread version would be fun to try. Home for the Holidays is great to watch with Thanksgiving leftovers. Wondering where all my recipes are? I am taking the day off of cooking!This is the first year in many that I have not been slaving away.

Dallas and I took a morning trip to Starbucks and I ate cereal for lunch. So today is just really a double feature movie review, I’m not cooking, just eating. Alas, recipes will be back again tomorrow!

Don’t forget about posting a comment on yesterday’s 100th post. You have until tonight at midnight to try and win a $20 gift card to either Peet’s or Starbucks. That’s one good Black Friday (with cream and sugar) deal!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Enjoy your day and dinner and come back tomorrow for some fresh eats!

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