Turkey Day Movie Choices: 2008

You know, I’ve heard a lot of talk recently about change. With PRESIDENT Obama coming into office soon (now that’s an event I’m gonna sleep on the street for), everyone is all riled up about how things will be different. The economy will get better! Gas will be cheaper! Bush jokes will end! And that’s all well and good, cause really, who doesn’t like change, but one thing I’m not seeing any difference in is entertainment.

How far have we truly come from last year? We’re looming ever close to another strike (oh no, it’s the actors this time. The pretty people are PISSED!). The Fall TV season post-WGA strike is just as bad as last year’s pre-WGA strike (small ya later, Jerry O’Connell’s nineteenth failed attempt at sitcom glory). Like always, Nicolas Cage put out a bad movie (Bangkok Dangerous… never had a chance). We’re into the last month of the year with no clear cut Best Picture and a December full of wannabes (though my early money is on Revolutionary Road). And like last year, and the year before it, I have been introduced to a piece of entertainment that has changed my world completely (Mad Men) (also Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” video).

So what can I really expect from 2009? I’m thinking more of the same. More depressing superhero movies. At least 1-2 movies where Michael Cera redefines the landscape of movie stardom by stammering for ninety minutes and still ending up nailing the cute emo/indie It girl. Hugh Jackman showing his pecs (not that anyone really minds). Katherine Heigl getting another TERRIBLE storyline on Grey’s (a ghost? Really? Are we a Jennifer Love Hewitt vehicle now?) And, obvs, more bad Nic Cage cinema, for forever and eternity (Knowing, coming to your Netflix queue soon!).

But until we get there, let’s tackle one more constant in our lives: Thanksgiving. Forced festive cheer and calorie overload, mixed with a dollop of arduous traveling and brutal weather, all made palatable by a family trip to the movies. Love it. Even in an era of change, we can all agree this is one tradition that should be left untouched.

Four big films are opening this week and five more big ones are already in theatres. Now that Nov. 4th has passed and we’ve made the BIG choice of the year, how to decide the 2nd biggest: what movie to see on Thanksgiving? Are you gonna put your money on Vince Vaughn being so supes totes funny that he negates the presence and general crankiness of Reese Witherspoon? Give the ole topless Statham action vehicle another go round? Or maybe do it up epic-style and spend three hours on Thursday night counting how many times Nicole Kidman’s forehead crinkles (over under: 2)? This is the REAL Decision ’08.

Let’s break each flick down sarcasm-style, and, with an audacity of hope, see if we can’t put a ring on the best choice for spending your hard earned unemployment checks on Turkey Day.

Opening on Thanksgiving:

Transporter 3 – Jason Statham is a wonderful throwback to the better days of our youth. Like that one pair of jeans in the back of the closet that is mid-90’s Wide Leg instead of late-00’s Boot Cut. Every so often, regardless of common sense, we need to slip them on and see how they fit. See how goofy we once looked. In other words, Jason Statham makes bad 80’s action movies. Cobra, bad. Raw Deal, bad. Anything at ALL with Jim Belushi, bad. But man, for the 85 minutes a year we spend with them, they are a whole ball of wonderful. And as soon as the credits roll, we slide that pair of memory pants right back in the closet, content that we are smarter than we once were. More refined. And then we high dive into our skinny jeans, sip an Apple Martini, pop on some Panic at the Disco and know, beyond on a shadow of a doubt, that we are more stylish.

Four Christmases – Second only to the “ensemble you could never make now” flicks in my pantheon of favorite random movie categorizations, is the “movies where we are keenly aware that the stars HATE each other”. There’s nothing more fun on this Earth than watching a scene where the stars are making love faces at each other and knowing that a mere one second later, when the Director yelled “cut”, they probably took a swing at each other. At the very least it’s like Ron Burgundy and Veronica Corningstone taking potshots at each other during the closing of their news broadcast. And you know, more than you’ve known anything you’ve ever known, that at least twice during the making of Four Christmases, Vince Vaughn called Reese Witherspoon a “dirty pirate hooker”. How could I even DREAM of missing this?

P.S. Third favorite random movie categorization: “movies where Ashton Kutcher takes a boot to the junk”.

Australia – I can’t even remember the last time we had a bonafide epic on our hands. And I couldn’t be more excited. Baz Luhrman is the only person I trust to get a performance out of Nicole Kidman’s desolated face (would she even be in the Top 50 for a remake of Bewitched now?). Hugh Jackman is perfectly suited for this kind of pseudo-gay sweeping love affair (where every moment he’s ready to break out into song. Or put on leather.). And the look, location and fashion are astounding. I know in my bones this will be underwhelming but that won’t stop me from seeing it. Twice. At least.

Milk – We can all agree that Sean Penn in smiley form is creepy and disingenuous, yes? And that his history of violence and gruff attitude make his playing a pacifist seem more than a mite ridiculous? Even more so than when he was played a re re Dad to Master Assassin Dakota Fanning? And that Emile Hirsch needs to calm the fuck down? And that Josh Brolin might be more than eight bits overexposed? And that James Franco, in reality, is boring like paint drying on growing grass? And that Gus Van Sant hasn’t made a watchable movie in a decade? And that watching this movie will only serve as further frustration over the passing of Prop. 8 in California? And that the trailer for this movie was AMAZING?

We can agree on all these things, yes?

Currently in Theatres:

Quantum of Solace – Does anyone else get the feeling that in a year or two no one will remember ANYTHING about this movie? Boring villain, dull Bond girl, the worst theme song since Sheryl Crow Lillith Faire-d us into Tomorrow Never Dies, awful title, nauseating camera work, a Bond movie with NO sex, NO humor, NO story or structure, NO jetpacks, and Daniel Craig taking ALL his acting cues from Christian Bale. I mean REALLY, lighten up guy, Eva Green wasn’t THAT hot. And crack a smile once in a while, you’re a super-spy, dammit! Can I get a quippy one-liner up in this bitch?

Twilight – Call me when any of the tween twinkie’s in the Girl Porn flick whip out some magic wands, fight some Dementors or start chasing down some horcruxes. Until then, I’ll stick to Season 2 and 3 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, ogle Eliza Dushku in tight black leather for a while, reread HP Book 6 and call it a day.

Bolt – John Travolta is a delusional actor who believes he is more talented than he really is. But now to talk about his character in Bolt!

Role Models – What’s the more amazing lesson learned this year: that any American, no matter their race or creed can grow up to become President of the United States of America, or that Seann William Scott has the MOST yoked out arms of any man who has EVER HAD ARMS?

I’m gonna go with Stifler’s biceps. Yeah, true story.

So, in conclusion: if you’re up for an epic I say go with the Aussie actors with American accents playing Aussie’s with actual Aussie accents, if you want action skip the Blonde Bond and hit up Transporter 3: Now With Even More Transportation, comedy gold can be found in Seann William Scott’s deltoids, but not in Reese Witherspoon loving up to Vince Vaughn (excluding, obvs, the scene where she gets vomited up, which, you can bet, will be my new screensaver on the quickness), and, just as another reminder, John Travolta is delusional.

Plenty of great movie choices out there so please pick wisely. But, if the economy has hit you hard, or you hate public outings with the family or if Kristen Stewart starring in an episode of One Vampire Tree Hill doesn’t do it for you, there is an alternative. You can always put a ring on the best three and a half minutes EVER committed to film over and over on an endless loop. Can’t go wrong here:

Because nothing says Turkey and Family like a good ‘ole fashioned Beyonce vag wag!


About Jason Matthews

Jason Matthews is the head writer for TheJay.com. The site has been nominated for two Weblog Awards (Best Culture Blog, 2006 & 2007), and has been featured on more than 100 websites, including the IMDB, Defamer, College Humor, USA Today’s Pop Candy (Written by Whitney Matheson), Entertainment Weekly’s PopWatch, BestWeekEver.tv, Gorilla Mask and eBaum’s World. Jason is also an accomplished playwright. He is currently the Writer-in-Residence at the Ruskin Group Theatre, where through their showcase “Café Plays”, he has written and produced forty-five one-act plays, and premiered his full-length debut comedy ‘Four Night Stand’ to a sold out six-week run in Spring 2010. In addition to his work online and in theatre, Jason was the host of PopLoad on NowLive.com from January – May 2007, and was the Editor-in-Chief of the popular Santa Barbara-based arts magazine CampusPOINT from June 2000 – June 2002. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Film Studies from UC Santa Barbara, and an intense love for Ben Affleck and Keanu Reeves. Find Jason Matthews on Twitter @ www.Twitter.com/jasonamatthews
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One Response to Turkey Day Movie Choices: 2008

  1. I think Beyonce in that video is my new girl crush.

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