Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What to See With Your Family on Thanksgiving

Every family has its own traditions on Thanksgiving. Some play football. Some watch football. But in my family, the post-turkey ritual is going to see a movie. As we're hardly the only ones who keep this tradition, Hollywood usually complies with a "something for everyone" movie. Harry Potter is of course the perfect Thanksgiving option. The Incredibles hit the right spot as well. But with the new Harry Potter pushed until next summer, there's really no obvious pick this year. So for all of you facing a similar dilemma, I've got the pros and cons for every top contender.

Story: An orphan from Mumbai goes on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire to find his childhood love.
: A feel-good, immensely entertaining movie that everyone is bound to enjoy. Plus, it's a likely Best Picture nominee.
Cons: Still in limited release, it's hard to find outside New York and LA. With a third in Hindi, not a good choice for the subtitle reading-impaired.

Story: An aristocratic Englishwoman falls for a rugged Austrlian herder during World War II.
Pros: It's a big, romantic epic that Baz Luhrmann intended to be for the whole family to see after Thanksgiving. And Oprah loved it.
Cons: A 2 hour, 45 minute running time and a Rotten Tomatoes score of 51% makes this a bad choice when on triptophan.

Story: Biopic of Harvey Milk, city supervisor of San Francisco in the 1970s and the first openly gay public official.
Pros: Amazing reviews (92% on Rotten Tomatoes). Likely Best Picture nominee. Couldn't be more topical.
Cons: Very limited release. Not a happy ending.

Story: James Bond seeks revenge for the death of Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale.
Pros: It's Bond. James Bond.
Cons: At least in my family, Bond movies are more of a male outing than something for the whole family. Also, the reviews have been decidedly mixed.

Story: Two guys are forced to mentor oddball kids.
Pros: Good reviews. Supposed to be funny. The kind of lightweight comedy that might be fun on Thanksgiving.
Cons: Trailer doesn't look great, and the humor's probably not the kind your parents will enjoy.

Story: It's in the title.
Pros: See pros for Role Models above.
Cons: Do you really want to see a movie called Zack and Miri Make a Porno with your parents?

Story: Human girl loves vampire.
Pros: Made a ton of money. Your teenage sister/mom is really into the books.
Cons: What guy would agree to see this movie? Only a good idea if male family members split up to see Quantum of Solace.

Story: A couple must celebrate Christmas with the families of each of their divorced parents.
Pros: The most obvious pick for a family movie. Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon are a watchable pair.
Cons: Looks terrible. 19% on Rotten Tomatoes. It's way too early for Christmas movies.

Story: A TV dog who thinks the show is real must find his way back to Hollywood from New York.
Pros: Good reviews (84% Rotten Tomatoes). Family movie.
Cons: If there are no small children in your group, you'll wonder why you're there.

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