The one thing I can always count on happening each and every year, besides Nic Cage releasing a movie I hate (congratulations go out to the 2006 entry, Wicker Man… shudder), is going to the movies on Thanksgiving. It’s a family tradition. Big eats and a big movie; a perfect holiday combination. They go together like popcorn and chocolate. Like Scarlet Johansson and Stuff Magazine. Like Tori Spelling and cheesy Lifetime movies. Like Britney and going out commando. Like a roaring fire and a cup of hot chocolate on a rainy day.
The only catch is choosing which movie to see. I always want a mindless blockbuster, the Mom’s usually wants something highbrow (and definitely not animated or sci-fi), and the little bro wants anything that I don’t want to see. We usually end up choosing the big studio blockbuster with the above the title star and colossal marketing campaign because it’s easily digestible on a day when you don’t need your stomach working any harder, and because it makes us feel like regular old Americans, heading out to the multiplex to catch the latest offering in movie magic. This year we’re either going to Deja Vu or Casino Royale (my money’s on Denzel and Bruckheimer).
But I’ll bet it’s not so easy for everyone else. So like I did last year (read Turkey Day Movie Choices: 2005, RIGHT HERE), I’ve provided a breakdown of all the cinematic possibilities for you and yours to take in on this glorious day of thanks. Best of luck choosing the right flick and Happy Thanksgiving from TheJay.com!
RELEASED ON WEDNESDAY
Déjà Vu – From the looks of the trailer this is quite possibly the most perfect assembly of Jerry Bruckheimer movie parts ever assembled in a Jerry Bruckheimer movie. Let’s check the list…
- Big splashy movie star slumming in an action movie (Denzel Washington).
- A ton of cool B-list actors that show up on-screen randomly and then disappear to go cash their big ass movie checks and convince their agents that they want to do an indie flick cause they just “did one for them” (Val Kilmer, Jim Caviezel, Adam Goldberg, Bruce Greenwood, Matt Craven).
- One hack director (Tony Scott)
- One Maxim ready hottie (Paula Patton).
- One hugemongous explosion (the ferry boat).
- One trailer-perfect car chase (the bridge chase where Denzel has the Star Wars X-Wing helmet on and another car flips over all Michael Bay-like).
- The distinct feeling that the moment you walk out of the theater you won’t remember a thing about the movie other than the fact that you feel used because a) it wasn’t that good despite having all the above elements, and b) you know you’ll end up watching the movie 17 times on TBS, so you pretty much just paid the drink bill for Jerry’s next power lunch.
Yep, sounds about as perfect a crappy Bruckheimer action flick as can be.
The Fountain – Despite how trippy and awesome this flick looks, I can’t shake all the baggage that comes with it. Brad Pitt is a fairly good chooser of material, so if he didn’t think it was worth doing, I’m gonna have to agree. I’ve never been a member of the Cult of Aronofsky, and not even the sight of a bald Wolverine doing yoga in space intrigues me enough to tear the ticket. I got a feeling this is gonna be one of those muddled, pretentious, sci-fi as a crappy metaphor for life, cinema dell’arte “pieces” that snobs rave over and bad movie lovers like me avoid like the plague (I’ll take my Hugh Jackman the way it’s supposed to be taken, with adamantium blades coming out of his knuckles).
Deck The Halls – This is the sound of one movie lover throwing up in his mouth.
… is it OK to start thinking in our heads that Matthew Broderick is dead? And the guy in this movie who looks just like him is actually the alien that killed him and took his body as a shell? Somebody, please, for the love of God, Save Ferris!
Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny - As Jack Black himself might say, this film better bring the spicy mustard. Making a “for fans only” film never comes out as good as everyone hopes (see: Strike Back, Jay and Silent Bob), and though I like the band and own the CD’s, is the fan base even big enough to warrant it’s own feature? Something tells me Jack cashed in his Shark Tale chips for this, and the studio just hoped it wouldn’t be another Aeon Flux. I want it to be great, but have the sinking feeling I’ll be sitting in the theater not laughing, while a bunch of stoners giggle their way from credits to credits and I start to wonder why I even liked Jack Black in the first place (Airborne isn’t enough).
FILMS IN LIMITED RELEASE
For Your Consideration – Love the cast, love the premise, hate the genre. I’ve never been a fan of the mockumentary (I was almost crucified in film school for not having seen Waiting For Guffman, like I needed another reason to thumb my nose at arrogant film students), it’s always two cute by an eighth and forever thinks it’s funnier that it actually is. I’ve drudged through Best in Show three times; besides Jane Lynch rocking the bull dyke and Fred Willard kicking ass with the foggy announcer, I sat more stone-faced and eye-rolly that during Borat. I’m not specifically saying don’t go, but make sure you like the genre before dropping the coin.
Fast Food Nation – A movie about the shit that goes into our fast food on the biggest food day of the year (and it stars Wilmer Valderrama)? Um, pass.
Come Early Morning – A quiet, Southern character study directed by Joey Lauren Adams? Seriously, did someone break into my computer and flash my recycle bin for rejected post material? I love me some Ashley Judd, especially when she’s bringing it indie style, but I’m gonna go ahead and not hold my breath that Chasing Amy herself can create a respectable mis-en-scene. On the other hand, if she convinced Ashley to get naked I may start thinking of her as the next great cinema auteur (it doesn’t take much to get me on your side, just boobies).
Bobby – This film could be the greatest piece of celluloid in the history of history, it could win eleventy billion Oscars and break box office records, and I still wouldn’t be able to take it seriously. An acclaimed character drama directed by Emilio Estevez? This sounds like one of my ejected post ideas. Seriously, whom is Emilio kidding? He couldn’t even direct an interesting movie about porn (Rated X), how does he think he’s pulling off a Grand Hotel-esque tale about the assassination of a beloved American icon? Drowning the movie in near washed up and on the road to washed up stars only serves as a temporary distraction from the fact that the writer of Men At Work has grossly overextended his bounds. Where did he think he had the talent for this? During a re-write meeting for Mighty Ducks 3?
The History Boys – Based on the Tony Award winning play about a class of British schoolboys who defy their headmaster and sdafkmsdklfgnmsdklgnkldfngklfdngklfdngkdfs… sorry, I fell asleep on my keyboard. Just typing that sentence made me pass out and I haven’t even sniffed the turkey yet.
ALREADY IN THEATRES
Happy Feet – Dancing CGI penguins directed by the creator of Mad Max? Yes please. Not even the unwelcome presence of Elijah Wood and “Totally Coked Out” Robin Williams (his new given name) could dissuade me from checking this flick out.
Casino Royale – The reviews have been great, the marketing campaign is solid, the audience gets to spend the entire movie remembering how totally nude hot hottie Eva Green was in The Dreamers AND there’s apparently a scene where Bonds gets tortured by someone swinging a notted robe into his bathing suit area (SPOILER ALERT). How can this film not be great? Someone should have thought of that rope to the balls bit during the Brosnan era. Lord knows I wanted to take it to him after sitting through the abortion that was After the Sunset (how do you ruin a movie where Salma Hayek spends half the flick in a bikini? Screw you, Brett Ratner.).
Borat – Nothing says holiday family fun like a sweaty fat guy rubbing his naked balls on Sacha Baron Cohen’s face. Come for the ball sweat, stay for the nausea.
So to wrap up, Déjà Vu looks like the choice bet for easy thrills and mindless good times. Casino Royale and Happy Feet are solid bets if you haven’t already seen them. Tenacious D is a “hot box with your friends” flick only. The Fountain is for nerds who think geeks are losers. There’s a slate of limited indies that either have inexplicable actor / directors, make me pass out just thinking about them, have Fez teaching about shitty fast food (literally), or come from a genre The Jay finds lacking. Borat is still the pound for pound funniest movie on the market, and Matthew Broderick died today in a bloody, bloody career suicide (Danny De Vito was the only witness). I say eat till you burst, drink till your family stops making you crazy, and then head out to the picture show and let the warm warming glow of second tier Jerry Bruckheimer vehicles officially carry you into the Christmas season.