Celebrate Halloween with the Master of Suspense

October 23, 2017 – Halloween is perfect for an Alfred Hitchcock marathon. He may not be the classic horror film director, but he is the “Master of Suspense”.

Here’s a list of my top ten favorites. Considering the man directed 53 films from 1924 through 1975 – I haven’t seen them all, but I did see more than half – this was a bit more difficult than I expected.

10. Psycho – Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh star in a spine-tingling horror film that focuses on a young man tormented by his past and his mother. Aren’t we all? Not my favorite Hitchcock film by far, but arguably his most popular or at least his best known, so it earns a #10 spot on my list. That, and it’s still hard not to think about this movie, especially whenever I step into the shower while traveling.

9. The Birds – Rod Taylor and Tippi Hedren are headliners in this Hitchcock classic, but those nasty birds are the real stars. The plot has the feathered creatures mysteriously attacking anyone and anything in their way. This was the first Hitchcock movie I remember seeing as a child, and it had a huge impact on me. Just like the Night Galley earwig episode that had me sleeping with cotton in my ears, this movie made me wary of our feathered friends for a long time.

8. Rear Window – This film, starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly, takes spying on your neighbors – and who doesn’t enjoy that – to extremes. Long considered one of the Master’s finest, a photographer (Stewart) is laid up with a broken leg, which leaves him plenty of time to watch from his rear window, and allow himself to get caught up in the drama that his is neighbors’ lives. And what drama that becomes.

7. Vertigo – In this strange film, James Stewart, with Kim Novak this time, both find themselves caught in a never-ending spiral of deception and obsession. Stewart plays a private detective who must search for the truth behind the death of a woman he loved. One of the most interesting characteristics of this movie is the way Hitch filmed it in a dreamlike haze.

6. The Man Who Knew Too Much – It’s Doris Day’s turn to star with Jimmy Stewart in this Hitchcock thriller about an American family accidentally caught up in an assassination plot. This was a remake of Hitchcock’s early 1934 movie, which is interesting on its own. How many directors get to remake their own movies? It also introduced the world to the Doris Day classic hit, “Que Sera Sera”. No offense to Day, but check out Pink Martini’s version of “Que Sera Sera”.

5. Strangers on a Train – Hitchcock used a lot of trains and train references in his movies, whether actually filming on a train, or just used as a Freudian symbol, as in “North by Northwest”. “Strangers on a Train” starring Farley Granger and Ruth Roman in a must-see classic tells this tale of strangers who take on each other’s murders. It’s one of Hitch’s only movies to use all B list actors, but it’s still one of his most intriguing. It also inspired the Danny DeVito comedy, “Throw Momma from the Train”, and that doesn’t happen everyday.

4. Spellbound – Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman play the amnesic impersonating a famous psychologist and the doctor who wants to save him even if he is guilty of murder to perfection in this Hitchcock thriller. The fact that this is a black and white movie from the early 1940s, adds even more intrigue and suspense to the plot.

3. To Catch a Thief – When Hitch combines romance and intrigue with a seaside resort on the French Riviera, and stars Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, how could he go wrong? Grant plays a reformed jewel thief who is suspected of a rash of burglaries, and Kelly, the woman who is drawn to him, yet worried she’ll become his latest victim.

2. North by Northwest – Cary Grand and Eva Marie Saint star in a heart-stopping suspense tale with a little bit of everything mixed in. You’ve got your classic mistaken identity, a man who is falsely accused, a chance meeting on a train, and a beautiful blonde, a little voyeurism, and Hitchcock spins it all masterfully. Not to mention a nice trip across the U.S., from the streets of New York, to the cornfields of Illinois, and the majesty that is Mount Rushmore.

1. Notorious – Starring Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman in a classic tale of love and betrayal. Grant plays a FBI agent who must send the woman he loves to seduce a Nazi conspirator. Like Casablanca, I can watch this movie over and over again and never get tired of it because it has everything from great acting to heart-wrenching romance, and plenty of suspense. Not only is it my favorite Hitchcock, but also it might be my favorite movie of all time.

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The Funniest Movies of All Time

October 2, 2017 – Nothing cures what ails you better than a hearty belly laugh.

This list of the 150 funniest movies of all time from Ranker.com inspired me to put together a list of my own. I’ll limit mine to 10.

10. Being There – My top ten reads like a slapstick movie fest, except for this little gem that entertains with its understated comedy. Peter Sellers may be best known for Pink Panther comedies, but his role in Being There outshines them all. Playing Chance, the gardener, whose simple expressions are mistaken for pure genius, earned Sellers an Oscar nomination.

9. O’ Brother Where Art Thou – From the many Coen Brothers movies out there, The Big Lebowski often gets the highest praise when it comes to comedy. It is one of their best, but nothing made me giggle more than the three ex cons in O’ Brother Where Art Thou. This tribute to Homer’s The Odyssey is a hoot and a half.

8. Stripes – Stripes plays out like one long funny Saturday Night Live sketch and marks the beginning of the movie relationship between Bill Murray and Harold Ramis. Murray playing the role of a lovable loser who joins the army after his girlfriend dumps him worked perfectly. He made quite a name for himself in silly comedies before he became a fine and serious actor.

7. The Jerk – There aren’t too many funnier roles than Steve Martin’s in The Jerk. The imbecile who was raised by poor black family in the south, yet didn’t know he was adopted, is a role Martin was born to play, and it is him at his early finest before he took the path to more serious roles like Bill Murray. And the script, which Martin also wrote, has so many quotable lines that I still use today, such as “He doesn’t like these cans!”.

6. Groundhog Day – Even though the same day was played over and over in his deliciously funny film, it’s one of the only movies I can watch over and over again without getting tired of it. Another terrific Bill Murray vehicle.

5. His Girl Friday – How can I list my favorite movies of any genre without including a Cary Grant film in the mix? He may have been funnier in Arsenic and Old Lace, but the overall script was more hilarious in His Girl Friday, and when you add in a marvelously funny Rosalind Russell, it’s way over the top good.

4. Young Frankenstein – Mel Brooks’ hilarious script and casting of Gene Wilder, Madeline Kahn, Terri Garr and Marty Feldman all blend together to make this movie a true comic classic. And let’s not forget Peter Boyle, who played the monster to perfection.

3. Fletch – Chevy Chase made some fine movies in the 70s before he suddenly wasn’t funny anymore. Fletch, the investigative reporter from Los Angeles was the funniest of all his movies by far. The characters he created while undercover were hilarious and the script, which was based on the series of novels by Gregory MacDonald was top-notch. Every time I think of Mr. Poon, I laugh out loud.

2. The Naked Gun – This Airplane motivated comedy was the first and funniest of all the Police Squad movies and even inspired a television series. Leslie Nelson, who apparently acted the same in his movies, delivers the role of Lt. Frank Drebin flawlessly. It was only in the 1980s that we found his performances funny.

1. Airplane! – This is the slapstick comedy that started it all. It was the parody of all parodies with the greatest one-liners of all time. And a deadpanned Leslie Nelson delivered most of them. Yes, I am serious. And don’t call me Shirley.

The Test of Time

August 21, 2107 – This week marks the 77th anniversary of the movie “The Wizard of Oz.”

As a classic movie fan, it’s one of my favorites, and I love finding opportunities to watch it on the big screen. Unlike some older movies, it is as relevant and popular today as it was back then; perhaps even more so, since it wasn’t a box office hit when it was released. However, after 77 years, families still gather to watch the story of Dorothy and her three friends finding their hearts’ desire.

It has me wondering what other entertainment icons can stand the test of time?

For movies, “Casablanca” springs to mind, along with “Citizen Kane”, although the latter is not one of my favorites. I have to give honorable mention to anything by Alfred Hitchcock, and to the wonderful family movies made in the 1960s and 1970s such “The Sound of Music”, “Mary Poppins” and “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”.

When it comes to music, you have to include Frank Sinatra on the list, or anyone in the Rat Pack for that matter. They are still wildly popular today. You could also include The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan in the mix because their music still has a strong audience, even though many of the songs are 50 years old. How many people do you think will still listen to Katie Perry or Justin Bieber 50 years from now?

As for literature, you can always include “The Catcher in the Rye”, “Jane Eyre”, “Pride and Prejudice” and “The Bell Jar”. Classics will always be pushed on students, although they probably won’t appreciate them until they are adults. For popular literature, the first book that comes to mind is “Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret”. Young girls will surely continue to read that wonderful story in future, and as shown above, only the cover will modernize. In addition, something tells me the Harry Potter books will stick around for a long time, too.

What else do you think will continue to be popular years from now?

Bad Cinema – 18 family pics for the worst movie ever

cinemashutterstock_129623003September 9, 2016 – A family gathering provided a perfect opportunity to ask everyone to name the worst movie they ever saw. Here is The McMaster’s List of Bad Cinema, better known as movies you want to avoid.

Night of the Living Dead. The cult classic from 1968, a small, independent horror film that cost only $114,000 to make, is my father’s selection. Since it’s gone on to make $18 million internationally, that original $114,000 seems like a rather good investment. Yet, the story is laughable; two teenagers drive to rural Pennsylvania to visit their father’s grave. They find something amiss at the cemetery; all of the corpses have come back to life with the sole purpose of killing every human in sight. I’m still puzzled by this, since the zombies move slower than a snails’ pace and any typical human could out run them with ease.

Love Me Tender. Elvis Presley starred in my mother’s pick for the worst movie she’s ever seen. It was his first movie role, which should explain volumes, and viewing it was a part of her first date with my father. The 1956 black and white movie cast Elvis as a Civil War soldier, and a corny one at that. Although I’ve never seen it, Mom says that the death scene, where Elvis succumbs to whatever kills him, is laughable. But Elvis went on to have a pretty lucrative movie career despite her poor review. My parents went on to have four children and nine grandchildren, so things worked out pretty well for them, too.

Hot Tub Time Machine. I’ve never heard of this movie from 2010, but it’s my sister, Linda’s pick for worst ever. Just by the title alone, it sounds awful. The premise may be creative: a malfunctioning hot tub (which also happens to be a time machine) at a ski resort takes a group of young men back to 1986 where they must relive a fateful night. The cast includes John Cusack (who signifies the 1980s on film). Alas, she tells me it is one “really immature piece of filmmaking.”

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. I’m not too familiar with this film, selected by my brother-in-law, Roland, but at least I’ve heard of it. This British spy film from 1965 starred Richard Burton in the lead role and focused on espionage during the cold war. Although it did get some good reviews, it’s definitely not a movie that you should expect a child to love. Roland admits he was young when he saw it, and it obviously left a terrible impression. Perhaps another viewing as an adult is in order to form a true opinion, but Roland decided to stick to his guns on this one.

Water World. Another one that would make my all-time bad list is the selection of my brother-in-law, Rex. This bleak futuristic piece of garbage from 1995 has humans has surviving some kind of disaster (perhaps the polar caps melted) and searching for dry land. While some viewers thought it was the most underrated movie ever, I think Rex agrees with me that this feature deserved a Razzie, which it earned, instead of an Oscar, and is regarded as one of the biggest flops in the history of motion pictures.

The English Patient. Speaking of Oscars, my sister, Patti’s pick won a whopping nine of them, including Best Picture in 1997. However, I have to agree that it was pretty bad. Perhaps you could argue that the cinematography was great, but the story was too long and dreadfully boring. I didn’t hate it, but Patti did, and so did Elaine Benes, on Seinfeld who said the movie “stunk!”

Tree of Life. Despite its critical acclaim and award nominations, my brother David has named this movie the biggest piece of crap he’s ever seen in his life. While his opinion may seem harsh, I admit I didn’t like it either, mainly because I didn’t understand it. The film, nominated for the 2011 Best Picture, stars Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, so you’d think it would be a powerhouse. Instead, it turns into a collection of scenes that never fit together and were not entertaining in the least. For me, this is a huge wasted effort on the part of Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, and apparently for my brother, too.

Mom and Dad Save the World. My nephew, Rick’s pick as the worst movie he’s ever seen, is a stupid comedy from 1992 that defies all imaginable logic. I remember seeing this when it was out on video back in the day, and I agree with his assessment. It stars Jeffrey Jones, the man who played the principal in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, and who just happens to totally freak me out in every role he plays. He’s just one of those actors that gives me the creeps! There are so many brilliant comedies out there, so why anyone would want to waste their time on this one is beyond me, and apparently, Rick too.

Troll 2. My niece, Lauren’s pick is another one that I’ve missed (thankfully) but a little research tells me it showed up on a lot of best worst movie lists in 1990. There are no well-known stars in the horror movie comedy, but Rotten Tomatoes has this to say about it: “There are movies that are bad. Then there are movies that are so bad, they’re good.” Still, it only scores 6 percent on the Tomatometer, so it can’t be that bad good.

Titanic. Admittedly, my nephew Ryan isn’t a movie person. He considers watching one too much of an investment of his time because it’s two hours you’ll never get back, or in this case, the three hours plus it would take to see this 1997 James Cameron vehicle. Therefore, he considers “Titanic” the worst movie ever made, and while I wasn’t a huge fan, I think it had its good moments, but I know plenty of people who would give him a high-five for his brave choice.

Limitless. I never saw or heard of this thriller from 2011, but it’s my son, Charlie’s pick for worst movie. At the first read of the review, the plot seems a little intriguing. A writer, played by Bradley Cooper, who is suffering from writer’s block, decides he has nothing to lose and tries a new drug that allows him to tap into his full potential. But oh, those damn side effects. The movie also stars Robert DeNiro, who’s had his share of stinkers lately, and also appears in another movie further down on our family list.

Constantine. My niece Leigh’s selection for the movie she ‘s loathed the most is the 2005 fantasy thriller “Constantine”. The film deals with your basic nightmare, and stars Keanu Reeves (hmm … stars and Keanu Reeves … isn’t that an oxymoron) as the man who sees all and therefore must save the world from the evils of hell. I think Leigh and I both agree that the poor script and the casting is truly the devil’s work indeed.

Birdman. Apparently my family doesn’t care much for the Oscar winners. My nephew, Adam’s pick won Best Picture and Best Actor (Michael Keaton) in 2014. This is another I haven’t seen, and I’m not sure I want to add it to my list after Adam’s review. Honestly, I had no desire to see it before Adam’s review! I know a lot of people who loved it, but they are equaled by those like Adam, who hated every minute of it. Happy birthday, Adam!

The Green Lantern. Another recent film from 2011 that made our most despised list is this pick from my nephew, Macey. Strange, he’s the targeted age group for super hero movies, yet he says it was the stupidest movie ever. This is another movie I haven’t seen, but I’m not really into the super hero thing. I think I can live the rest of my life comfortably if I skip this one altogether, and I can safely assume that Macey doesn’t ever want to see it again, either.

The Intern. My niece, Carly’s pick, is the most recent release on the list. This 2015 Robert DeNiro, Anne Hathaway vehicle is probably fresh in everyone’s minds since it is running on cable TV right now, and I watched it about a month ago. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it as much as Carly did. I need to ask her if it’s an Anne Hathaway thing (since many people despise her) or it was the movie itself that was a turnoff. It made me a little uncomfortable to know that Hathaway’s character was DeNiro’s boss in the film, since he can run circles around her every which way, but I suppose that’s why they call it acting.

Avatar the Airbender. I never heard of my nephew, David’s pick, from 2010. I know the original Avatar, if they are at all related, but the name of this movie escapes me completely, so it took a bit of research to discover that it’s an action fantasy adventure written and directed by none other than M. Night Shyamalan. Reading the reviews, it seems like David is not alone in his assessment. Many people sat in the theater praying for this movie to end. Shyamalan defends his movie, though, and about a year ago, it was announced that he’s making a sequel. Yikes.

Jack and Jill. This Adam Sandler comedy, about a set of brother and sister twins, both played by Sandler, is my nephew, Jack’s selection. The movie was released in 2011, when Sandler was cranking out one bad comedy movie after another and likely making a fortune, but I have to agree with Jack, that this one is the worst of the bunch. It only scored 3 percent on the Tomatometer, the lowest I ever saw. I also couldn’t find one positive review from a critic, and I’m not sure that ever happened before.

Nothing But Trouble. This insane piece of celluloid is my pick for the Worst. Movie. Ever! You’d think a movie that starred Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, John Candy (all in their prime) and Demi Moore (fresh off her success in the mega hit “Ghost”) had a lot of potential. I certainly thought so when I went to see this so-called comedy in 1991. Turns out it was the scariest movie I ever saw and not because it was supposed to be. It tells the story of a four people who get arrested for speeding in route from New York City to Atlantic City. They become prisoners of the kooky bunch of nut jobs who live in the small, quaint New Jersey town. I feel awful that I forced my son to see this piece of monstrosity when he was a young, impressionable boy.

Now it’s your turn. I encourage you to add your selections to the comments below so we can save other readers wasting their time on bad cinema.

The Test of Time

hourglassAugust 19, 2016 – This month marks the 77th anniversary of the movie “The Wizard of Oz.” As a fan of old movies, it is one of my favorites. I can quote from it and sing along with its upbeat tunes as if I were performing it myself.

A true classic appeals to all generations. Here are a few other entertainment vehicles stands the test of time.

Movies:
There is abundant of movies to choose from, but the first two that pop into my mind is “Casablanca” and  “Citizen Kane”, although the latter isn’t one of my favorites. And, of course, “The Wizard of Oz”. Honorable mention goes out to anything by Alfred Hitchcock, and to the wonderful family movies made in the 1960s, such as “The Sound of Music”, “Mary Poppins”, and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”, to name a few. My own personal favorite, “So I Married an Ax Murderer”, makes me stop flipping through the channels immediately.

Television Shows:
Classic TV shows are readily available to new generations now that so many cable channels broadcast them. However, classic and stand the test of time do not always go hand in hand. “Seinfeld”, for example, is relatively new, but it can stand against any classic now and probably in years to come. Others include “Bewitched”,  my personal fave from childhood, “MASH”, “Cheers” and “I Love Lucy”. They are examples from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. I’m not sure any television show beyond that (at least so far) qualifies.

Singers/Bands:
How about Frank Sinatra, or anyone in the Rat Pack to start? They are still wildly popular today. You could also include The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who and Bob Dylan in the mix because all of their music still has a strong audience, even though many of the songs were recorded 50 years ago. I wonder how many people will listen to Kanye West or Justin Bieber in 50 years. I’m willing to go out on a limb and say not many.

Songs:
Funny how Led Zeplin didn’t cross my mind as a band, but their song “Stairway to Heaven” certainly makes the cut for songs that stand the test of time. At least it continuously makes top five of every classic rock list. “Hey Jude”, “Let it Be” or anything by the Beatles is also a qualifier, and it’s the same for any hits by the Stones or The Who. Let’s reach back a little further and consider those romantic ditties from crooners past, such as “The Way You Look Tonight” or “Fly Me to the Moon”? They are still making present generations swoon. Or,  how about the most popular song ever—“Happy Birthday”?

Books:
This is probably the easiest category because schools will always push the classics on students, although they probably won’t really appreciate them until they are adults. So, what books stand out? How about “The Catcher in the Rye”, “Jane Eyre”, “Pride and Prejudice”, “Anna Karenina”, and “The Bell Jar”, to name a few? I would be remiss not to mention Judy Blume because I know that young girls in the future will still likely be captivated with “Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret?”. And something tells me the Harry Potter books will stick around for a long time, too.

I could add more, but this post might end up as long as a Marcel Proust novel, and I’ve been working on knowing my limits.

 

Best Picture nominations leave me numb

downloadJanuary 15, 2016 – Yesterday, the Oscar nominations were announced.

What once kicked off a month and a half of genuine excitement and a race to see all of the films nominated for Best Picture, has me scratching my head, wondering why I am not familiar with these titles. I may not get to the movies as often as I have in the past, but I’m still a member of the Philadelphia Film Society and I try to stay informed.

Let’s take a look at the eight nominees up for Best Picture, a category that no longer focuses on the obscure films, expanding to include those that appeal to general audiences, as well. However, these films feel obscure to me.

Bridge of Spies
Starring Oscar darling Tom Hanks, directed by Steven Spielberg, and written by a team that includes Ethan and Joel Coen, this film should have generated a lot of buzz. Alas, in my world, it has not. Released in October, the espionage thriller tells the story of a U.S. pilot sentenced to 10 years in prison after his U-2 spy plane is shot down during the Cold War. Hard to believe I never heard of it.

Mad Max: Fury Road
It’s understandable that this post-apocalyptic action film passed me by. It’s not the type I’m drawn to; futuristic films are always painted in doom and gloom and I don’t see the entertainment value in that. Since when is this type of film a sequel or a remake no less, nominated for Best Picture? It may appeal to the masses, but it doesn’t appeal to me.

Revenant
The Revenant is one of only two films on the nomination list that I’ve seen advertised. Leonardo DiCaprio is fresh off a win for Best Actor at the Golden Globes last week and is probably a sure pick for the Oscar, according to may critics. The story is inspired by true events and is generating lots of positive reviews, especially for the scene where DiCaprio’s character is brutally attacked by a bear and left for dead. It’s also being hailed for its cinematography. It’s likely to win the Oscar for Best Picture, as well, mimicking its win at the Golden Globes. All of this sounds positive, yet I have no desire to see it.

Spotlight
If I wasn’t certain “The Revenant” would win Best Picture, I would bet that the Oscar would go to “Spotlight”, the story of the Boston newspaper reporters who uncovered the decades-long cover up of abuse by the Catholic Church. Hollywood loves to make loud political statements, and when they do, they typically get plenty of critical praise. The way the church handled the scandal was horrible to say the least and the guilty deserve to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, but this is another example of what is not entertainment to me. Critics are singing the praises of the cast, though, which includes Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton and Rachel McAdams.

The Martian
The Martian is the other movie I’ve seen advertised, yet had no desire to see. Matt Damon leads a cast that also includes Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig and Jeff Daniels in the story about an astronaut presumed dead and left behind by his crew on a manned mission to Mars. I’m not a sci-fi fan but admit the movie sounds like a rip-roaring comedy, doesn’t it? Why else would it have just won Best Picture in the Comedy category at the Golden Globes?

The Big Short
I had just returned home from spending New Year’s weekend at the Jersey Shore when my son told me he saw a good movie called “The Big Short”. It was the first I had heard of it. When I asked him what it was about, he said it focused on the housing credit bubble that took place earlier in the 2000s. Yikes! Aside from solid actors like Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt, this is another film that holds little appeal. I worked in the mortgage industry and watched this collapse first hand, losing my job in the process. Now that’s entertainment!

Room
Straight from the headlines of the past few years, “Room” tells the story of the bond between a mother and child after they escape from the enclosed surroundings that the son has known for his entire life. Brie Larson, who stars as the mother, is a relatively unknown actress who just took home the Golden Globe for her performance. I may add this to my must see list since critics say it’s touching and deeply moving, focusing on the bond between mother and son, and the son’s wonderful discovery of the world outside of captivity. Sounds promising.

Brooklyn
“Brooklyn” tells the story of an Irish immigrant to travels Brooklyn in the 1950s. The film stars Saoirse Ronan as the young girl who is lured by the promise of a better life in America. Critics’ reviews and comments from those who enjoyed the film make me want to place this one a must see list, as well.

There you have it. Two out of eight films appeal to me, which means that neither of them have a chance at the big prize. There may be no point in watching the Oscars this year.

A Charming Start to the Holiday Season

Grand-Illumination-Celebration-Peddlers-Village-680uwNovember 19, 2015 – Thanksgiving may be a week away, but if you live in the Philadelphia/Bucks County area, you can kick off the season tomorrow night at the Grand Illumination Celebration at Peddler’s Village.

The annual lighting event takes place the Friday before Thanksgiving and features more illumination than you can imagine. This year, the lights switch on at 6:15 p.m. and stay lit until 10 p.m. Admission and parking are free, although the crowds can be overwhelming the first night and parking can be hard to find. The good news, Peddler’s Village remains lit through the holidays so you’ll have plenty of time to wallow in its charm.

If you don’t live in the area, make a turkey sandwich and kick-start the season with a great holiday movie. Here are a few Thanksgiving themed favorites:

Pieces of April – A quirky film that stars Katie Holmes fresh from her Dawson’s Creek days, Patricia Clarkston and Oliver Platt. The storyline portrays a family coming together for Thanksgiving dinner despite their many differences. This definitely isn’t a sweet portrayal of the holidays, but rather a realistic view of an urban family at Thanksgiving.

Hannah and Her Sisters – Yes, it’s a little weird to see Woody Allen and Mia Farrow together, but they did make a few good films together. The storyline takes place between two Thanksgiving holidays and focuses on family so it counts as a holiday classic.

Home for the Holidays – Another quirky comedy drama about visiting the family at Thanksgiving. The all-star cast features Holly Hunter, Robert Downey Jr., Claire Danes, Charles Durning, Dylan McDermott and Ann Bancroft. Jodie Foster directed this film that boldly suggests that all family holidays are something we just have to suffer through.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving – Over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go… This holiday classic has Charlie Brown serving an untraditional dinner to his friends – and struggling through it as usual – as the true meaning of Thanksgiving comes to light.

Planes Trains and Automobiles –It’s the best Thanksgiving movie of all time! John Candy and Steve Martin star as two men who are forced to travel home together for the holiday. It’s comedy at its finest but it will also tug at your heart strings, too the way good holiday movies always do.