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5 Films About Thanksgiving: Day 3 – What's Cooking

I’m thankful for one thing today, and that is backups. See the earlier post today for more on that! Now onto the regularly scheduled programing…

A Week of Thanks

5 Films about Thanksgiving

Day 3

Film #3

~ What’s Cooking ~


Director: Gurinder Chadha
Year: 2000
Cast: Mercedes Ruehl, Alfre Woodard, Kyra Sedgwick, Julianna Margulies, Dennis Haysbert, Estelle Harris, Victor Rivers, Douglas Spain, Francois Chau, Will Yun Lee, Isidra Vega, A Martinez
Language: English
Country: United States
Specs: 109 mins. / Color / OAR 1.85:1 / MPAA Rating: PG-13

Four ethnic households in Los Angeles gather together in their respective homes to celebrate Thanksgiving, each with their own ethnic recipes. Each learns some important aspects of family, friends, and giving thanks.

The first thing I noticed about this balancing act is that director Chadha pulls it off with aplomb. Being able to effectively tell four different parallel stories that all intersect at various points in the film, while holding the interest of the viewer is no easy task, yet Chadha proves that she is more than capable.

The second thing I noticed about this entertaining comedy is the wonderful editing by Janice Hampton (also editor of “Rocky II”). It’s amazing how effective a skilled cutter can be to a films overall enjoyment, and proves that this woman’s touch was just what Chadha needed to bring to this fun comedy peppered with dry humor in the most appealing of ways.

That isn’t to say the film is perfect, or without fault. It does contain elements that prevent this film about families from being a family film (hence the PG-13 rating), but I imagine it has enough to heart to appeal to many adults, to whom the film is targeted.

The most exciting aspect of this pseudo chick flick was the appearance of two of my favorite presidents: President David Palmer, my favorite hero president, and President Charles Logan, my favorite villainous president (both from the Fox TV Show “24”, of course!).

All in all, a nice little treat as we head into the big day. Tomorrow, I’ll focus on the granddaddy Thanksgiving film of them all!

My Rating: **** / B-

Available from Amazon: What’s Cooking?

or

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Amazon Video on Demand: What’s Cooking?

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Posted by on November 25, 2010 in Movies

 

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5 Films About Thanksgiving: Day 1 – The Ice Storm

Turkey, candied yams, family, and football all usher in the beginning of my favorite time of the year. Thanksgiving, that jovial holiday for giving thanks for the blessings we’ve gotten over the prior year, is usually overlooked by Hollywood in favor of the much more commercial holiday that follows only a month away. However, there are a handful of films that take place on this festive day, and I’ve decided to give a few of them a look and present the results here in this blog I’ve titled…

A Week of Thanks

5 Films about Thanksgiving

Day 1

Film #1

~ The Ice Storm ~


Director: Ang Lee
Year: 1997
Cast: Kevin Kline, Joan Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Tobey Maguire, Christina Ricci, Elijah Wood, Katie Holmes
Language: English
Country: United States
Specs: 112 mins. / Color / OAR 1.37:1 / MPAA Rating: R

Ben (Kline) and Elena (Allen) Hood are in a miserable marriage, and have two children (Ricci and Maguire) who are negatively affected by the marital situation. All are involved in extramarital affairs or drug use of some sort, and find that those they are involved with are equally as troubled as they, to disastrous results.

It’s tough to get behind a film where none of the characters have any redeeming qualities. In such a situation, I find it hard to like any of them, thus find myself numb to any “hardships” they may suffer throughout the film. This, sadly, is the situation with “The Ice Storm”.

The film is shot well, features a beautifully somber musical score, and is stocked with an excellent cast that any director would welcome. Unfortunately, the story just wasn’t engrossing enough for even this caliber of talent to rescue. The film, for starters, could have been set during any time of the year. There is nothing in the film that makes it a Thanksgiving film, other than the mentions a few times here and there. Furthermore, the ending that was supposed to be a heart wrenching finale, was seen from a mile away (actually about the halfway point of the movie, to be precise). Lastly, other than that unfortunate incident, there is nothing else as far as consequences left in the film, with one nagging question regarding Maguires character left unresolved.

The most interesting thing about the film was the constant reference to “The Fantastic Four” with Maguires character (who himself was Marvel’s other comic book star, “Spider-man”.) Of course, director Ang Lee would later direct that other Marvel film “Hulk” a few years later.

Not a horrible film, but not a memorable one either. I can understand why this was a bomb at the box office upon its initial release. Nobody wants to commit suicide during Thanksgiving week, or see a movie that is akin to that.

Aye, I need a drink. Wait a minute, then I’d be like every character in the film. On second thought…

My Rating: *** / C-

Available from Amazon: The Ice Storm – (The Criterion Collection)

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Amazon Video On Demand: The Ice Storm

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Posted by on November 23, 2010 in Movies

 

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