Wednesday, November 16, 2011

An Update and Something New

Alright, I have several things to update you on today before I launch into today's full blog post but let me assure you that I have neither forgotten nor neglected you, my readers.  I made a decision that there weren't enough Thanksgiving films to really do a whole month or even a whole week, so I've just decided to do one a week and thus not run out of material (or get burned out on blogging, its win-win).  So first thing, I just finished watched the entire film of Home For the Holidays and was surprised at the dramatic material.  Yes it was funny to see Holly Hunter as Claudia fighting and clashing with her parents and siblings (Charles Durning, Anne Bancroft, Robert Downey Jr., and Cynthia Stevenson respectively) and it was amusing to see Cynthia Stevenson get hit with a turkey carcass, but I was surprised at the poignant emotions on display.  There was the pressure of living up to family expectations, the thought of being betrayed by a loved one, the tendency to want to baby parents as they grow older, and feeling as if no one in your family understands who you really are.  It's really a deep film that goes beyond a simple "Lets get a bunch of family members together for Thanksgiving to fight and then resolve it" plot and evolves into a much richer tapestry of what it really means to be part of a family.  Claudia has a great line toward the end where she says "Joanne, we don't have to like each other...but we're family."  And I think that sums it up...no matter how much you may clash, you will always be bound by the ties of family.

Ok, now onto updates two and three.  I decided, after a long time of wondering and wishing I could do it, I decided to start writing a novel.  Its going to be short and it isn't going to be hugely profound, but I am hoping that it lives up to what I want it to be...funny and sincere.  It is semi-autobiographical in that the character is largely based on me, but many of the side characters and situations are mostly manufactured to make a funny point.  I'm very excited about it and I am simply hoping to complete it.  To say I finished a novel would be a great achievement (no, I'm not yet even contemplating publishing).  Finally, I got a big surprise on Monday evening and I'm sure that this will be a great bit of news to anyone who's a Muppet fan.  I managed to snag a free ticket to a sneak preview of The Muppets, the new Muppet film with Jason Segal and Amy Adams, in Columbus this weekend and I am planning to bring you all the goods in an exclusive advance review here on The Life and Times of a Midwestern Movie Addict!  I am very excited about this and I can't wait to write all about it...I suddenly feel just like a real film critic!  Also, I just really LOVE the Muppets and I've been waiting for this release all year long.  So if you want to know how the new film is and how it stacks up against previous Muppet films, check back here for the scoop on Sunday.

Now, onto today's film...or should I say advertisement?  Or should I say faux advertisement?  There are only so many levels of cheekiness I can go through before I have to just say what it is I'm talking about right?  Today's post is perfect for today's blog because it involves a (very) short subject that deals with the Thanksgiving holiday, but not in the usual warm and fuzzy or family centric way.  When Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino created the exploitation film opus Grindhouse, they wanted to make it as authentic an experience as possible.  To do this, it required a double feature that looked and sounded like it was filmed cheaply and handled poorly, so that it would be full of nicks and scratches.  They also knew that the true exploitation experience would require more than 'bad' films, it also needed 'bad' trailers before and in between that were in the same vein.  So, gathering together such directors as Rob Zombie, Edgar Wright, and Eli Roth, they commissioned these men to make trailers for movies that don't exist.  Roth's trailer was one of the most popular as it depicted an 80s slasher film that finally addressed one of the last missing days from the legions of 'holiday horror' films.  We had New Years, we had Halloween, we had Christmas, we even had April Fool's Day and Friday the 13th...but until now we had never had Thanksgiving.  In this film (rather, in the trailer) we see the small city of Plymouth, Massachusetts besieged by a killer who dresses as a pilgrim and chops victims heads off with an axe.  According to Roth, he does this because he had a pet turkey when he was a child which he then watched his father kill at Thanksgiving for the meal.  This sent him over the edge mentally and made him into the murderous killer of the film.  Also is the film are Judy and her family and friends who are targeted by the killer and made to suffer on this day of thanks.  Thanksgiving was everything I ever wanted in a slasher film based on a holiday and more.  It uses familiar images and traditions to both create suspense and to give the killer a great many clever ways to kill someone.  I admit, I reacted strongly when he unveiled the 'main course' on the dinner table at the end and it was a person who had been roasted and trussed up like a turkey (complete with stuffing and meat thermometer) and I thought it was great when the killer decapitated the Turkey in the big parade, who then runs around (like a turkey with it's head cut off...har har.)  The taglines are wonderful too ("Prepare to have the stuffing scared out of you", "White meat, dark meat...all will be carved", "You'll go home for the holidays...in a body bag") in both their punnyness and overall corniness.  I loved this trailer and would definately pay to see the movie if they ever make one (Roth keeps saying how he wants to, but I'll believe it when I see it).  If you enjoy the satire and artistry that it took to make this trailer, you should watch the whole Grindhouse film...it's a hoot and a half for people who get it.

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