‘Plains Trains and Automobiles,’ ‘Addams Family Values,’ ‘Home for the Holidays’ | Jobi Cool

Thanksgiving was never a holiday celebrated with much joy with my family. As with other Western vacations, my parents, Taiwanese immigrants, never cottoned on to their crowds, so most of our viewing was for the benefit of the kids and growing up half-hearted. Mostly, I saw it as a rare day off for my self-employed parents, and a weekend where my friends were unavailable, leaving me to stay in my room and watch parades. I love Lucy Marathon on broadcast television. We went to see a Star Trek movie over Thanksgiving break, though; Numbers 6-10 were released during this festival of the year after the success of doing so Star Trek IV: Voyage Home. As Thanksgiving traditions go, this one wasn’t the worst.

Left to my own devices, I made it a ritual to watch Planes, trains and automobiles From my growing collection of pirated VHS tapes, finally adding Addams Family Values And then Jodie Foster’s Home for the holidays My post-dinner, post-football, post-nap marathon. They became my portal to the holidays, carrying with them some emotion, no question, but the first stirrings of my emerging social consciousness about issues of cynicism, self-criticism, and the whitewashing of political division, class inequality, and historical oppression. . These films not only traditionally entertain, but in many ways represent a platform against our culturally-mandated feel-good manifest destiny self-mythology.

Start with John Hughes’ masterpiece Loneliness, Prejudice, Tolerance and Grace, Planes, trains and automobiles. A highly-anticipated and much-hyped collaboration between Steve Martin and John Candy, it opens with Martin’s ad-executive Neil who is late for home for the holidays and bribes another passenger for his cab when the cab rolls out from under him. Shower curtain rings by Dell (Candy). It’s the first of a series of lessons Neil learns about the relative worthlessness of money wherever he wants, against the essentially penniless Dale, using his everyman empathy and poor-man’s resourcefulness to ease his way through the world. . The film is a contrast between Neal’s approach to problems and Dale’s, setting up a truly-impressive series of resolutions about gratitude and the importance of living in the moment in a temporary world. Every time I look at it, I feel it in a different way. I went from hating Dale, his physical grace and lack of social acuity, to hating Neal’s disdain for others and privileged solipsism. Dale is present in the world and able to negotiate discomfort with grace, because he does not have the social power or financial resources to resolve them in another way. Money and power have freed Neil from the need to solve his problems in any way other than throwing money at him. Dell, in particular, freezes Neil’s credit cards. It’s an accident, of course, the unfortunate result of a series of unfortunate events, but as an attack on the “Me Generation” culture of acquisition, it’s as metaphorical as a business card fetishism. American Psycho. It takes a few days of frustration and anger for Neal to realize how he got everything he wanted. In fact, Neal needs someone like Dale to remind him how short life is. It is too short to spend in a state of constant movement.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Steve Martin, John Candy, 1987, (c) Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection
Photo: Everett Collection

I started working in my parents’ shop, full time in the summer, when I was 12 for a quarter of an hour. As many of my generation grew up, the key to success was a job with a degree and a degree from a recognized university – which probably flowed from another. Home ownership, savings account, keyed office. It’s all a lie. I had those things and not one of them made me happy, just in debt and seemingly constant self-loathing. I don’t believe you will come to the end of your life wishing you had done more, you will fill your space with more garbage. I always cry at the end Planes, trains and automobiles When Neil stops being such a jerk and invites Dale to spend Thanksgiving with him and his beautiful family, I don’t always know why. Far from being a cheap sentiment, it is an essential truth: the world is a cruel trial interrupted by flashes of grace. Add to grace because there is so little.

of Barry Sonnenfeld Addams Family Values Tells the same lesson in a slightly more absurd way, placing his family at the center of socially unacceptable but devoted and loving misfits as they battle agents of cold, opportunistic materialism. Debbie, played by the incomparable John Cusack, is a serial killer – a “black widow” who marries rich men and then murders them for the inheritance. She sets her sights on Uncle Fester (Christopher Lloyd), alienating the Adamses for a moment, preying on their fears for their children Wednesday and Pugsley (Christina Ricci and Jimmy Workman), and baby Pubert (Kaitlin and Kristen Hooper). He tries to electrocute them only to find himself reduced to a pile of ashes, the deadly voltage saving his expensive pumps and credit cards. The Addamses have everything. Money and wealth mean nothing to them. Debbie thinks money makes her happy but it makes her lonely and dead. The focus of the picture is on the camp where Wednesday and Pugsley are sent and where they are immediately followed by children from the Trust Fund. In a beautiful example of how rich liberals congratulating themselves on their progress can do terrible damage, Wednesday’s Thanksgiving pageant cast as “Pocahantas,” she stages a rebellion that ends with the destruction of the entire joint. She, literally, burns it all. It’s a brilliant, subversive film about the zero sum benefits of “stuff” that follows a relationship with the person you love. Above all, this is a film about not taking things for granted and it is, again, a major Thanksgiving picture.


Spend the night with the defiantly-humanistic Jodie Foster Home for the holidays, a comedy of discomfort in which junior museum curator Claudia (Holly Hunter) is fired just before she heads home to spend a few uneventful days with her family. It’s easy to make a film like this into something cruel and cheesy – like in the picture Christmas holidays For example, Which I like but not because it’s not making fun of its characters. It doesn’t do that. Home for the holidays Loves Claudia’s parents Henry (Charles Durning) and Adele (Anne Bancroft). Look at the time it takes to watch him twirl in a sudden little dance in the living room—or later when Adele strips down to her daughter’s room, ready for bed, and looks at herself in the mirror. Things that age deepens and enhances, rather than somehow removing or ruining. It falls in love with Claudia’s brother Tommy (Robert Downey, Jr.), who brings home a new boyfriend, Leo (Dylan McDermott), and treats his parents (whom he loves and loves me) abusively in an attempt to get them to accept his homosexuality. . She tells the story of how, during Thanksgiving dinner, one Christmas Eve she kissed Henry and felt young and beautiful, loved and alive, and how that memory has sustained her all these decades. An otherwise depressing life. It also favors rejected sister Joanne (Cynthia Stevenson), married to nabbish Walter (Steve Guttenberg) with charming little children who are rude and spoiled. In a different film she would easily be the object of ridicule and, when she takes the turkey in her arms and acts mean about it, this film seems to be taking the easy way out, but then she gives a quiet note where it’s obvious. How does she deal with the responsibility of being one of those kids who doesn’t deviate too far from the expected meaning? Everyone is under pressure to play a role in the family. The forced intimacy of holiday reunions begins to show cracks there.

It never makes sense, Home for the holidays, it feels like real people who are very different from those bound by the circumstances of their birth. “Are you alright? You’re okay,” Claudia told her mother. “It’s all relative,” Adele says. There is a lot of warmth and non-judgmental wisdom in this picture: a picture of imperfection and sadness, despair and regret, which is about how your loved ones are where you put your hope, no matter how unworthy they are. its protectors. This is a beautiful movie. Foster has a great eye for moments of connection—the little things you always hold in your heart when the storm has passed. I am thankful for that. I’m grateful for WD Richter’s brilliant script that provides non-sequiturs for uncomfortable questions when people are trying to distract from emotional topics to address directly. “You’re really going to sell the house, are you, Dad?” Claudia asks. “You want a beer? Some wings? What about money?” He said. “Sure, I’ll have a beer.” And they toast before a football game on television.

It was very much the way I talked to my father until the day he died, taking with him all the unspoken things between us that we tried to address through discussions of sports and business. So many family members are involved in avoiding collisions. And then they’re gone and you want to crash. I remember bringing people home late at night Home for the holidays, quiet and stealthy conversations in a warm atmosphere full of good smells and the exhaustion that comes from food that should be for an audience of people who know who you really are. It is a special kind of fatigue that is removed from the lies that allow you to make it through your hours and days. If you haven’t seen it Home for the holidaysyou should.

Walter Chaw is senior film critic for filmfreakcentral.net. His book on the films of Walter Hill, with an introduction by James Ellroy, is now available for pre-order. His monograph for the 1988 film MIRACLE MILE is now available.

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