Yes, the theaters are open, but unfortunately there are no matinees, and that’s my favorite time to see movies. I rented a few theatrical releases, so in some small way, I feel like I have been to the theater. I rented the long anticipated film by Jordan Peele, “Get Out,” which is hard to watch as it is about slavery. Someone spoiled the twist for me, unfortunately. If you see it, let me know your thoughts.
I wouldn’t rush out to see “Antebellum” nor the long awaited Christopher Nolan movie “Tenet.” Even the most loyal Nolan fans I know were very disappointed.
On the small screen, I saw several things I enjoyed. We rented “Adam” starring Aaron Paul of “Breaking Bad” fame. It’s a sweet, somewhat predictable tale of a man who suffers a life-altering accident in the prime of his life. There is adult language, but it is a sweet, feel good movie. On HBO Max, I’m loving the documentary series “The Vow.” It is the story of the NXIVM cult for which many Hollywood celebrities served as recruiters. Also on HBO, the true story of the largest embezzlement of a school district, “Bad Education,” starring Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney, is excellent.
On Netflix, please skip “Ratched.” I was so excited about this as it is the original story of Nurse Ratched from the fabulous “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” Sarah Paulson stars, and I think she’s a super-talented actress. Director and writer Ryan Murphy somehow gets a free pass on his misogynistic, violent, disturbing scripts. I think I am done with anything attached to him.
If you like creepy, I enjoyed “Strange but True.” This is definitely a more horror type film with twists you don’t see coming, but be warned that there is some gore and adult language.
I’m enjoying Season Two of the BBC crime drama “Broadchurch,” and Netflix has all three seasons. Also, the delightful movie “Enola Holmes” stars Millie Bobbi Brown of “Stranger Things” and is a fun ride. I devoured “Get Organized-Home Edit,” but the most compelling thing I watched all month was the documentary “The Social Dilemma” on Netflix. The people interviewed in this smart, engrossing documentary are all top executives at Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. The basic premise is that artificial intelligence addicts us to these platforms. The decline in mental health and rise in suicides in preteens is staggering. Kids are not the only ones affected. Women in their late 30s and early 40s are having similar problems. I deleted my Facebook account after watching, as did several people who watched it after we discussed it. Please take time for this film.
I am so fortunate to have such smart friends, and one such friend is Brian Masefield, who hosts the super fun podcast “Old Roommates” with his actual old roommate Christina Walsh. It’s a weekly podcast delving into the movies of the ’80s through a middle-aged lens. I asked Brian and Christina to give me a list of their favorite Thanksgiving films. Read on for their inspried list:
E.T. The Extra Terrestrial
One the most beloved films of all time, it sadly doesn’t get revisited enough. A family struggling with a complicated divorce, a homesick alien and intrusive NASA officials all lead up to a wonderfully sappy, feel good holiday movie.
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving | (1973) Charlie Brown and classic tomboy and boy seek to do the right thing by others.
The Karate Kid | While not a traditional Thanksgiving film, it’s safe enough for all ages, has lots to say about class, self-respect, racism, and has an ending to please any crowd.
Beauty & The Beast | The first animated picture nominated for an Oscar, this Disney classic has a smart, well-read heroine, singing place settings, and oodles of good life lessons. Maybe make it a family sing-a-long!
Wizard of Oz | Pop some popcorn, pull up a horse of a different color, watch out for flying monkeys and be reminded there is no place like home!
For the Adult Children and Adult Viewing:
Clue | Eccentric strangers trapped in a house kind of says Thanksgiving.
Planes, Trains & Automobiles | Rated R for very adult language, this film really has a lot to say about loneliness, friendship and the importance of family.
Home for the Holidays | Jodie Foster directs an all-star cast that makes us laugh (at ourselves somewhat) at why we leave home and why siblings drive each other crazy.
Alice’s Restaurant | If you ever were a hippie, or consider yourself one, this is your feel good hippie watch.
The Scent of a Woman | If you want something more serious, this profound film stars Al Pacino as a blind Army colonel and Chris O’Donnell as his caregiver. As stories of friendship go, this is as satisfying as pumpkin pie.
Until next month, I predict we will be passing popcorn in front of many different screens ...
by Merrile Stroud