Thursday Movie Picks: Holiday/Vacation Movies

This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is Holiday/Vacation movies. You would think this week would be all Christmas (Merry Christmas, everyone!) But I'm stuck on two Thanksgiving movies instead. Here's a few of my favorites.

1) The Vicious Kind

Peter brings his girlfriend Emma home for Thanksgiving, and she ends up forming a strange attraction to his brother, Caleb, who also happens to hate his father for leaving his mother. To say things get complicated in this movie would be a massive understatement.

2) Pieces of April

April's mother has cancer so she invites her entire family over to her apartment for Thanksgiving. April is obviously the black sheep of her family.

3) Elf

This kind of counts as a vacation! Buddy, being raised with Elves his entire life takes a trip to New York City to find his birth father. 

16 comments:

  1. Inventive choices, the only one I've seen is Pieces of April which I wasn't much of a fan of. I'm particularly puzzled by Patricia Clarkson's Oscar nod for this. I love her and she's usually great but I thought she had nothing to work with in this and was rather flat.

    I've put off seeing Elf because of my distaste for Will Ferrell though I loved the stage show. I'll get to it some day. The Vicious Kind is completely new to me, I'll have to read up on it.

    I was torn between the two themes-holiday and vacation-so I decided to split them and do an entry for each.

    Holiday:

    Make the Yuletide Gay (2009)-Olaf “Gunn” Gunnunderson is headed to the Midwest home of his parents for the holidays. The thing is Gunn has a secret, at college he’s an out and proud gay man but at home he plays it straight fearing that his stoner dad and effusive, holiday loving mom will reject him if they know the truth. Soon after he arrives so does his boyfriend whose parents have decided to take a cruise rather than spend Christmas with him. Gunn passes him off as his roommate while his parents try to fix Gunn up with the girl next door. Can they make it through the holidays without his parents finding out and should they? Little known holiday fare with a game cast, including Alison Arngrim (Nellie Olsen from Little House on the Prairie) as the hot pants mom next door.

    Christmas in Connecticut (1945)-Barbara Stanwyck, that most versatile of all the great female Hollywood stars coming fresh off of Double Indemnity, is Elizabeth Lane-the Martha Stewart of her day who writes an advice column in Smart Housekeeping detailing her idyllic life on her Connecticut farm with her husband and baby. One day her publisher (Sydney Greenstreet) concocts a scheme to boost circulation, invite a war hero to her farm for the holidays and the publisher is coming along too. The problem? She lives in a New York walk up, has no husband nor baby and she can’t cook! What to do? She agrees to marry the man whose home she’s been using for a model and heads to the country taking the friend who provides her the recipes she uses along. All seems well…until the very attractive soldier arrives. Breezy comedy with the holiday spirit but not swamped with all the trimmings.

    Christmas Holiday (1944)-This Robert Siodmak directed adaptation of a Somerset Maugham story is one dark, despairing noir. On Christmas leave a young officer receives a Dear John letter. Depressed he wanders into a roadside joint and meets Deanna Durbin, a “dance hall hostess” and she tells him the story of her fall. As a naïve young girl on her own she entered into a hasty marriage to a slick charming man, Gene Kelly, who turns out to be a mother dominated psychotic maniac. When he commits murder she somehow feels responsible, goes into hiding and punishes herself by sliding into a life of squalor. Loaded with and quite explicit (for a 40’s release) in its themes of sexual manipulation, prostitution, incest, self-punishment and very twisted emotional ideas. Deanna sings but her songbird isn’t singled out as anyone special, she’s better than most roadside canaries but her style is beaten down and the patrons hardly break from what they’re doing when she takes the bandstand. A million miles away from the typical Durbin or Kelly vehicles.

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    1. The Vicious Kind is great. I haven't seen any of these picks. They sound really wholesome though.

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    2. I really like Adam Scott so I queued up The Vicious Kind. I love all three of my picks but you might want to give the last one another read through...it's FAR away from wholesome!!

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    3. I figured it had a happy ending lol.

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  2. I've only seen Elf and it definitely qualifies as a holiday film, so no worries. Lovely movie, too. Pieces of April is one of those I keep meaning to see, but never get around to. Need to change that. Haven't heard of The Vicious Kind, but that sounds really interesting. Great job!

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    1. The Vicious Kind is really underrated and Adam Scott is so good in it. You should see it.

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  3. Vacation:

    Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feelin’ So Sad (1967)-Madame Rosepettle (Rosalind Russell) arrives at a Caribbean resort for a vacation with quite a menagerie, her 24 year old son (Robert Morse) who acts like a 5 year old, his stamp collection and telescope, a pair of Venus Flytraps, her tank of pet piranhas and her dead husband (Jonathan Winters-who serves as narrator) who she’s had stuffed and travels with them in his coffin that she keeps in the closet. While they’re there the hotel’s babysitter Rosalie (Barbara Harris) falls for the infantile young man while Madame is pursued by a crazy ship captain, Commodore Roseabove. Got that? Its theatre of the absurd and the kind of whack-a-doodle thing that could only be produced in the 60’s.

    Deliverance (1972)-Four friends, all city bred, decide to take a vacation trip down a river in backwoods Georgia before a dam is constructed that will wipe it out and flood the surrounding area. Only one of them is really knowledgeable about canoeing but the trip starts well and even has a highlight or two, the famous Dueling Banjos being the most memorable, until they have an ill-fated encounter with some hillbilly moonshiners. Things go about as wrong as possible and their big adventure becomes an endurance test of survival. Raw and vivid with a career best performance by Burt Reynolds.

    Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation (1962)-Mr. Hobbs wants to take a nice quiet vacation to the beach for the summer but Mrs. Hobbs insists on taking the whole family, daughters, son-in-law, grandchildren, cook and various drop ins, with them. There goes his peaceful trip. The kind of role that Jimmy Stewart could play in his sleep but he and Maureen O’Hara manage to make the material better than it should be.


    Merry Christmas!

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    1. Oh Jesus, Deliverence lol. That's a very inspired choice. Merry Christmas to you too, my friend. Thanks for sharing your picks!

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    1. It's a wonderful little flick. Probably the only time I've enjoyed Katie Holmes in a movie too.

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  5. Merry Christmas!! It is still the season:) I have not seen the first 2 but I have seen Elf and find it quite fun since it is one of the rare times we don't see Will Farrell without his shirt off-thank God:)

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    1. The first two are nice little indies. You should check them out

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  6. I've only seen Elf and I think I'm the only person I know who dislikes this film intently. The first two picks sound good though!

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    1. I actually know quite a few people who dislike Elf. It's definitely not for everyone, and I certainly see why it has its critics.

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  7. Oh, I never saw The Vicious Kind. I should do that.

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    1. It's one of my favorites. It keeps creeping up on my all time list. lol

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No seriously, post one. I need attention.