Thanksgiving Films You Forgot: 'Home For The Holidays'

Thanksgiving Films You Forgot: 'Home For The Holidays'

Let's watch a film about Thanksgiving for once.

Every year the holiday seasons roll around, and with each season you see celebrations of films centered on the holidays. Halloween has the entire horror genre to look at, Christmas has hundreds of films dating back to the beginning of film history, and Valentine’s Day has any film with a romantic subplot (which is just about any film ever made). There are two holidays that often get left out of this fun, though. When was the last time you heard someone talk about a Thanksgiving or New Year’s film? I want to fix that. That’s why this November, each week I’ll be watching and writing about a different film set around Thanksgiving. To start off, I’m going to talk about "Home for the Holidays," a strange little romantic comedy directed by Jodie Foster.

"Home for the Holidays" is a weird film. It starts with a close-up montage of Claudia, our protagonist, painting with egg yolk on a very large canvas. After this montage, we watch her as she goes back to her boss’s office, walking in a trance-like state until she sinks into one of his chairs. He then fires her, and in the process of being comforted by him, Claudia makes out with him before rushing away embarrassed. She then is driven to the airport by her 18-year-old daughter Kitt who informs her that she won’t be attending her family’s Thanksgiving dinner, preferring instead to join her boyfriend at his parents’ house. She also tells Claudia in very clear terms that she’s going to have sex with her boyfriend while she’s there.

That all happens in the first five minutes, and it gets stranger from there. Claudia’s uncomfortable flight is followed by an uncomfortable drive home with her parents, and once she gets home, she and her mother have a surreal conversation about children thinking their mother is crazy, which happens as Claudia’s mother undresses for bed. The very next morning, their entire family is woken up by Claudia’s brother Tommy, who we first see sneaking around their house with a set of spy goggles and a Polaroid camera. We also see that Tommy has a habit of taking intrusive pictures of his sister, at first ripping off the covers of her bed to snap a photo of her underwear, and later taking a picture of her as she showers.

The strange behaviors escalate with the introduction of the rest of the family attending Thanksgiving dinner, with each new member having a number of strange quirks that seem like they might be a little less than socially acceptable, and all of the strange behavior comes to a head at the actual Thanksgiving dinner, where each individual's quirk is escalated to the point of insanity and played off the others' wonderfully in what is clearly the best scene in the film. And the high level of insanity only lowers slightly after the dinner, with to Tommy getting into a fight with his brother-in-law over a game of football. It all blends together beautifully, with each and every quirk and escalation feeling surreal and believable at the same time.

Unfortunately, the film falls apart after the Thanksgiving dinner, losing most of the tension and development of the characters that had been established before. It attempts to shift its focus away from the family relationships in favor of a romantic subplot between Claudia and Leo, Tommy’s friend that she met that morning. Their romance is contrived as hell, and none of their interactions feel natural, despite their relatively solid chemistry. The film also attempts to provide closure on a conflict between Claudia and her sister, but because of its focus on the romance, it doesn’t have the time to commit to reconciling their differences or giving a failed reconciliation actual depth and meaning.

That, of course, could be the point, and it’d certainly be an interesting point to make, but the final scene of the film has Claudia and Leo flying back to Chicago together, with Leo telling Claudia that it doesn’t matter if they never see each other again, since they’ll still have the time they spent together. That being the film’s final statement makes it clear that Foster wants us to see the focus on romance as her showing us the one thing that will make Claudia the most happy. But, while I’m willing to buy that the romance is what will make Claudia the happiest in that moment, I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if she’d spent that time focusing on her relationship with her sister, because even if she was unable to change anything, it would’ve been far more interesting for us if we had seen her try, instead of spend all her time focusing on a man she’s known for less than 24 hours.

Cover Image Credit: Home for the Holidays, Paramount Pictures

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Remember To Be Kind To Theme Park Cast Members This Holiday Season

They make the magic for you.

For those of you who have traveled to a theme park during the holidays, you know what you are in for.

The weeks right before and after Christmas are some of the busiest times of the year to visit, making the parks extremely crowded and wait times higher than usual. Yet, this time is so popular since it is fun to experience the magic of the season with your family during the special Christmastime celebrations at the parks that bring something extra to your holidays.

One of the most important things to remember during this time of year is to be nice to the cast members!

Families that come to the parks during this time have so much to remember and so much to do; unfortunately, something that is often forgotten during a vacation is to be thankful for those who have to work during this time of year.

The cast members and team members who work during the holidays are doing so at the expense of spending time with their own families. They are sacrificing their Christmas celebrations at home to be at work making your vacation magical.

Some of these workers are hundreds if not thousands of miles away from their families and may not have seen them for weeks or even months. Yet, they are here in Orlando working in a job that they are passionate about because they love making happiness for their guests

Making magic and spreading happiness is something that is important to us and why we love what we do. However, it is still really hard to be away from our families at Christmas.

Think it is hard to be a guest when the parks are crowded?

It's even more difficult for the cast members who are working as hard as they can, for 8-15 hour shifts, when things happen that are out of our control. We too dislike long waits, telling your child that he is too short to ride or the fact that a ride is temporarily closed. These things make our jobs difficult too, just as they may be a huge setback in your vacation plans.

So focus on the positive things and appreciate the time you can spend with your families and friends rather than dwelling on the things that may be small setbacks during an overall wonderful holiday vacation. Please be patient this holiday season. Give the cast members a smile and a pleasant "thank you" or "Merry Christmas". We are here for you and we want you to have a wonderful vacation, but it still makes an incredible difference to know that our work is appreciated.

At this time of year, it is important to spread Christmas cheer and we are excited to celebrate with you and your families!

Cover Image Credit: Park Troopers

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7 Reasons 'Starset' Deserves To Get Big

The main reason they deserve success is that they love everything they do.


Starset consists of four members, Dustin Bates, Ron DeChant, Brock Richards, and Adam Gilbert. The band was formed in Columbus, Ohio in 2013. Their music has influenced my and several others lives.

Here are a few reasons why they deserve to go down as one of the biggest bands in history.

1. They're the most original band I've heard in awhile.

Starset's content is unlike any other band I've heard or seen before. They classify themselves as "space rock", creating a type of music that many have never heard of before. They use your regular guitar, bass, and drums, but they also incorporate the use of violins, cellos, and synthesizers to create the unique, one of a kind sound. The lead singer, Dustin Bates, even created his own microphone that distorts his voice to use in live shows, so that you feel as though he's speaking to you through a radio in a space station.

2. They're all a bunch of nerds/dorks.

Starset is the kind of band that you'd love to be friends with. Not only are they wicked smart, they also have an amazing sense of humor. They incorporate their knowledge into the songs that they write, leaving you wanting to learn more about what it is they write in their songs.

3. Their songs are lyrically and melodically beautiful.

Ricochet is one of their most impactful and meaningful songs. When you first listen to it you can hear the emotion in Dustin's voice, but as you take a minute to listen to the lyrics, you realize it has so much more meaning than what you assumed. It represents the struggle of a relationship gone sour, the internal struggles within yourself, and the effect it has on both people in the relationship. It's a song that a lot of people can relate to, and I find that amazing.

4. They interact with and care about their fans.

Nyah Kite

Before their shows, they do eat and greets where they hang out with their fans, eat pizza, perform some acoustic songs, and take pictures with them. They have genuine conversations with them, asking us our names, what we like to do, and just keep up small talk. My brother, pictured here, had a conversation with Ron, the bassist, before the show started and they got along phenomenally. I don't know many bands who take that much time to get to know their fans and they even interact with them on Twitter.

5. Have comics with Marvel.

The Prox Transmissions - Marvel Comics

Not only does Starset create music, they also have their own comics with Marvel. The comics are based on an alternate world they created through their music. Each album has a story, but now it's come to life through their comic, The Pros Transmissions. How dope is that?

6. Created their own society to inform the world of various things.

The Starset Society is a mission, created by Starset, to inform others of the up-coming technological advances happening in the world today. The main goal of this society is to make sure we're well aware of the things happening in the world, and it's not just aimed for the fans of Starset. It's influenced by the idea of Thomas Jefferson that says the first step toward a guided future is an informed public.

7. They love what they do.

Nyah Kite

The main reason they deserve success is that they love everything they do. They put so much work into making their shows interactive and enjoyable, and they spend years working on albums so that they and their fans are pleased with the final product. Knowing that they put so much passion and effort into their work makes it obvious that they deserve to be one of the biggest bands in history.

After learning more about this amazing, influential band, aren't you intrigued to hear more of their music? To learn more about their society and their comics? They're great people with a great purpose driving them to continue creating some of the most unique, epic rock sounds in history. Check out Starset. You won't regret it.

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