Top Ten Unwatchables of 2013

I'm almost done with my WORST of 2013 list, but there is a couple I (actually) want to see first to make sure that list is as accurate as possible. But this list is the ones that I'm sure WOULD be on there....I just can't stomach the thought of suffering through viewing them. These films I won't touch with a ten-foot pole. I dub them: THE UNWATCHABLES.

10. Planes - Let's take Pixar's worst films Cars and Cars 2 then make the exact same movie just about different vehicles. Oh and then take Pixar out of the equation...and you basically have an unapologetic and blatant ripoff. Next up no doubt will be Disney's Boats. Oh, but don't worry the lead character is voiced by the very unfunny Dane Cook.

9. 47 Ronin - Keanu Reeves is back!! Wait...who has been awaiting his return? That's right no one. Haha okay, that's pretty harsh...I don't really have a problem with the guy, but this trailer looked awful. And Reeves? He looked all wrong for the part. I'm not quite sure WHO could save that garbled mess....but it sure as heck ain't him.

8. Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor - I know a certain friend who would be ALL about watching this. And hey mayyyyybe on the right day if I was in a silly mood I'd watch it and laugh. But the nail in the coffin that will probably prevent that from ever happening? The fact that Kim Kardashian is listed high up in the film's credits as a supporting "actress." The fact that it got a 16% on RT and a 4.4 on IMDb also should be good enough reason to stay away.

7. Machete Kills - The trailers, t.v. spots and advertising for this film were basically all preposterous. For me, a good general rule of thumb is to stay away from any movie that my brother Nephi pretends to be interested in and this was one of them!

6. The Smurfs 2 - As if a first horrible movie wasn't enough, here comes a horrible sequel! Neil Patrick Harris...you're better than this. (Right?) I guess the bright side is it takes place in Paris? (Actually I feel bad for Paris having to be associated with this..) And don't ask me why those smurfs aren't blue...

5. A Madea Christmas - I've made no secret of my disdain for Tyler Perry and his Madea creation (or should I say concoction...) somehow the addition of the character being set at Christmas makes it only sound a million times more awful.

4. Getaway - Selena Gomez in an action film with Ethan Hawke.... Um... who... what....why...who...? WHO!! Who thought this was a good idea and greenlit this movie? Who? Every time I think about it...I have no words. Ethan Hawke I KNOW you're better than this (I've seen the Before films so come on!) Getaway Stayaway indeed.

3. Scary Movie 5 - How many people do you know who have been clamoring to see an onscreen pairing of Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen? Luckily I believe their roles are both cameos...but if this is the comedic brilliance this film has to offer, I'll pass. Add to the fact it has a 3.5 on IMDb and a whopping 4% at RT...it's safe to say even if I see this movie on tv sometime in the future I'll change the channel.

2. Grown Ups 2 - As if a first horrible movie wasn't enough, here comes a horrible sequel! Wait didn't I just say that about Smurfs? Well ditto Grown Ups, but somehow I'm sure it's far more terrible....I mean Taylor Lautner is in it. Point made. Adam Sandler you've done it again. 3 Years in a row (at LEAST) where even the thought of seeing one of your movies gives me a humongous headache. But hey good for you in finding a cash cow of stability. I'm just sad that there are enough audiences that are willing to give you this career.

And the #1 most unwatchable film of 2013 is............

1. Movie 43 - I'll admit...I'm slightly intrigued by this supposed atrocity of a film. But only because I wonder how did so many stars agree to be in this movie??? Seriously everyone and their dog is listed on the credits and yet it too has a 4% (with only 3 positive total reviews to be found in its favor) and a 4.4 on IMDb. But then I saw a trailer for it once and quickly understood that I could never find the answer to why they all agreed....for it looked too terrible to stomach and a small part of my soul died a little. This movie looks just as horrible as everyone says it is. Stay far far away.

Seriously. Check out the full cast list on IMDb HERE and try and figure it out yourself! That's all for now, but keep an eye out for my Top Ten Worst of 2013 (the ones I actually WOULD sit through...) and hopefully eventually my Top Ten best. I'm shooting for February...but you never know if it winds up being May haha.


All I Want for Christmas

Merry Christmas readers!! Did you get what you wanted for Christmas?? I'm certainly pretty happy with my loot :) For Christmas, my gift to you is to take a sneak peek at the Christmas lists I imagined for some of the most iconic characters from your favorite Christmas classics. Enjoy!

George Bailey
  • SOME sort of SOMETHING for Uncle Billy so he can remember ANYTHING for once. Whether it's a day planner or an iPhone with reminders set in it...or even a fictional "remberall" from Harry Potter. Get this dude SOMETHING.
  • Ear plugs for when you don't want to listen to your children constantly playing the piano. 
  • Some frequent flyer miles because the poor man really does deserve a vacation and to finally see the world. 
  • A lasso.

Ebenezer Scrooge
  • A gift certificate for ghostbusting services to get rid of some pesky visitors. 
  • Membership to eHarmony or match.com to help pick up the pieces of that cold heart.
  • Photo album to help remember events from the past a little better.
  • Temp employees to come into work for Christmas day only. 
  • An exotic trip to a private island so you don't have to constantly hear people saying "Merry Christmas"

Ralphie & Family
  • Red Rider BB Gun (obvi!)
  • More Palmolive soap in case of "emergencies"
  • Glue for the old man.
  • Thicker curtains in the front window for the Mrs.
  • Padlocks to keep the Bumpus's dogs out! 
  • A Chinese food gift card in case the last present didn't work out...

Buddy the Elf
  • Maple syrup!
  • Private jet (and lessons to learn how to fly that jet...) to make visiting the North Pole less of a hassle (or I suppose he could always borrow a reindeer?)
  • The book "Assimilating to Human Culture for Dummies" I'm sure it exists right?
  • A Christmasgram. What's that?? He wants one!

The Grinch
  • Like George Bailey, some ear plugs and an iPod to drown out the sound of Whoville singing might do the Grinch a lot of good.
  • Vacuum seal bags to save space in the sleigh for all your stolen goods.
  • Another 2-3 dogs to help out so Max doesn't feel so burdened. 

John McClane
  • Marriage counseling.
  • Another machine gun. Ho ho ho.
  • A pair of spare shoes to keep handy.
  • A pocket knife might be nice to have even though he manages to be plenty resourceful without it.

Kevin McCallister
  • Gift certificate for cheese pizza
  • Groupon for home repair (I'm guessing the tar in his basement won't be too easy to get rid of.)
  • A taser might make some things a little easier. Yes, it's an odd gift to get an 8-year-old...but if you're constantly leaving him behind the little guy needs something to defend himself with!
  • Angels With Dirty Souls on BluRay, making it easier to find the exact parts of the movie he needs to use to scare people. Plus the sound quality will sound much better in the fully restored version on the disc!


Secrets Secrets Are Actually Fun...

Secrets secrets are no fun. Secrets secrets HURT someone. Just kidding. I know my misleading opening line would have you believe I hated The Secret Life of Walter Mitty which actually isn't the case at all. I think everyone and their dog had sky-high expectations for this film after the first trailer debuted....but when you watch the movie it's not this epic thing that blows you away. It's understated and merely pleasant. I've found lately that the more I avoid trailers and previews (well except for with Ender's Game) the less expectations get in the way of enjoying something, and unfortunately I saw that trailer too many times to form my ideas for what the movie should be. With Mitty, it's hard not to constantly compare the film with its trailer and come to the conclusion that the film was lacking because of it....but if you do, you'll miss a movie that in its own right is actually pretty good!

For me I call this the Stranger Than Fiction effect where you place one of Hollywood's funnymen in a role that is a lot more understated and disappointment ensues in the film as a whole because it's not as funny as you thought it'd be. But like that film, the more you think about it after your initial like-but-not-love of it, the more you realize that it's a rather amiable movie with lots of good things to say. It keeps you thinking about it. For me, if a movie has done that it has completed its goal. If you let it, Mitty will grow on you. Yes, there were some types of scenes I wanted MORE of (the Benjamin Button spoof, in particular,) but I also understand the decision not to overcrowd the movie with an abundance of everything too. EMILY RATING: 7.5/10

Now I'll also give a short review on Friday's release of Saving Mr. Banks, the film depicting the struggles it took for Disney to get the rights to Mary Poppins from author P.L. Travers. This film features a powerhouse performance from Emma Thompson as she shows us Travers' insecurities and issues in handing over her creation to the mouse house. As someone who works in a profession of creative collaboration I completely GOT this film and loved what it had to say (especially the idea of taking our past experiences and choosing which way it is that we choose to see the world because of them.) But the movie isn't all about the collaboration. More specifically, it is all about the life of P.L. Travers as she flashes back to her childhood to recall the issues that made her the particular way that she is. She's an extremely hard protagonist to have, but luckily Thompson instills under her icy shell some warmth that makes you really feel for her character. 

What can I say? I'm a sucker for movies about movies and filmmaking. I thought the story behind Mary Poppins (which has admittedly NEVER been even close to my favorite Disney movie) was fascinating and gave me the urge to do a rewatch now that I can appreciate all the effort it took. After some research, I found that the movie wasn't completely factually accurate, but I loved it and what it was trying to say nonetheless. EMILY RATING: 8.5/10

Merry Christmas Eve everyone!!


That Escalated Quickly

The idea of an Anchorman sequel has been floating around for a long long time. When I first heard about it way back when I was excited...but cautiously so. More and more time went on and the film was stuck in development hell, until one day it FINALLY got the green light...but the more I thought about it, the less excited I got. I concluded Anchorman would probably be something better left unvisited. Earlier this year another one of my favorite comedies, Arrested Development (a TV series as opposed to a film) lived again....and put the nail in the coffin of my hopes that any such thing should be revisited again after such an absence; lightning apparently can't strike twice. I was prepared for recycled jokes and flat deliveries. After all, it's been nearly ten years since these actors have slipped into these roles. None of the true cleverness or NEW quotability could exist could it? Well...I'm stunned to say that I pretty much loved Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.

It didn't click immediately for me....and some of it is admittedly uneven. Early on, I was still unconvinced. There were laughs sure, but more of the chuckle variety than the belly laugh kind. Plus it is kind of a weird thing to say...but I was pretty ambivalent about Kristen Wiig's much-hyped appearance. I just wasn't sure at first what this movie was actually offering that made it worth the time or effort. It's not as tight of a film as the first...most likely because its predecessor tells a simple story, and this one is trying to tackle a lot. But once the plot sets in and the commentary it is going for comes to the forefront...well I kind of had a ball with it. Basic rule of thumb, if you enjoyed the first film...you'll probably feel similar about this one (meaning, I'd pretty much recommend it only to fans.) And considering the amount of time that's passed, I consider that quite a feat. 

The humor is similar, as is the level of crudeness so keep that in mind. For fans...there are several instant classic moments, and the other stuff that will probably just have to grow on you over time. This won't convert anyone that wasn't already won over by Ron Burgundy the first time around, but luckily I really don't think it will disappoint those who love the first movie. I was certainly prepared to be pretty critical of it. But...it made me laugh. A lot. I have to say, it's the funniest thing Will Ferrell has done in years. I'm actually just gonna leave it at that because I went in trying to know as little as possible, and I think that's a good thing to try and do. If you loved the first, you'll find plenty of things to laugh at again. EMILY RATING: 8


Smaug, the Desolate Dragon

Okay, I'm gonna *try* to keep this review on the shorter side, so let's see if I can stay true to that. Mid-December decided to roll around again, and once more it brought with it an installment to the Lord of the Rings universe...and more specifically The Hobbit franchise. How does part 2 of this trilogy stack up to its predecessor, as well as the trilogy that came before it? Well, it's kinda tough to say. I think that in watching it, it's kind of easy to say it's one of the weaker films in the entire series...but yet it also has some of the most fun action sequences of any of the films at the same time. I think I'll just break this down into a simple pros and cons list so you can get the idea of how The Desolation of Smaug measures up. We'll start with the cons because I want to leave this post on a good note since overall...I just like this series. I'll be happy to visit it anytime, just some visits are a bit stronger than others. That doesn't mean I can't still have fun with it!

CONS: The simplest con which really isn't the story's fault and really just my own bias.... I just like Lord of the Rings/Hobbit films more when Gollum is in them. He's such a fascinating character and just gives such an instant classic feel to any scene he's in. When he's gone, I always find the entry less interesting. Fellowship is easily my least favorite of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and in this sense...I kind of prefer a lot of An Unexpected Journey. Do not misunderstand me, Benedict Cumberbatch's Smaug is an excellent and very worthy replacement.... he just takes far too long to show up. One of the other cons for me (and I'll be honest, this might just be the fact that I saw a nearly 3 hour movie at midnight...) is that though when the action is fantastic, the lulls seemed a little more lulling than in other times in this series haha. The first Hobbit I felt kept a decent pace, this time it feels a bit more clunky.  And my final con is just that I felt there were a few more "huh?"/head scratching moments in this film that any of the others. Another viewing might help.

PROS: Hooray for the return of Legolas! It's nice to see a familiar face and I'd almost forgotten how much fun it is to see him in action. His action sequences are delightful, and his new gal pal played by Evangeline Lily actually was surprisingly good too. In general, the highlights of this film are the action sequences (spiders, river barrels, and dragons oh my!) There is a LOT of fun to be had here, and in some ways this might be the most adventure-filled action packed film of any of the series. It certainly had a different feel (which I actually like...) of being more adventure based than battle driven. It was a fun movie! Though I mentioned that Smaug takes very long to get to, once we do....it's fantastic. He's a chilling villain and let's be honest, Cumberbatch is on a roll. The scenes with him are probably my favorite of the film. Plus I just love Martin Freeman and how he tries to outsmart every foe he comes across. It's odd to say since he's the main character and all...but the film could really use more of him because I really enjoy him as a protagonist.

All in all, I think if middle earth is a place you love to visit in the movies, you can enjoy The Desolation of Smaug. Though not as perfect as some of the films that came before it, it's still a fun ride on its own. EMILY RATING: 8/10


Fabulous Fairytales

This mini review comes a week late,  so hopefully you have all gotten a chance to catch Disney's delightful new addition to their animated canon. I've been saying for years that if Disney just went back to doing fairy tales they would have success...and look how right I was. Frozen, much like its predecessors Tangled and The Princess & The Frog mark a return to form...and I couldn't be happier. Now it must be said that Frozen has about as much in common with the Hans Christian Anderson story that it's based on (The Snow Queen,) as a fish has in common with a bird. No matter. That doesn't take away from its adorableness. The characters are fun and the story is charming; everything is in its place for it to be a modern Disney classic. I'm not sure that I think it's quite as solid as Tangled, but it comes close enough. EMILY RATING: 8.5/10

With Frozen's apparent and hopefully continued success, my only hope is that Disney realizes a second renaissance is within grasp...if they once again focus on the fairy tales. Here's my pick for the eight best fairy tales they could tackle next (if you can think of two more to round out the top ten let me know in the comments.) And hey, if any of these happen to already be in production and I'm just unaware....well that'd be great.

GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS - This was one of my favorite fairy tales growing up. After all, pre-school aged Emily dressed up as Goldie for Halloween with a big ol' blonde wig and a gingham dress. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I absolutely loved the Faerie Tale Theater version of this...which I admit, is where most of the inspiration for this list came from. But really, the Goldie in that is full of sass and hilarity. If done right it could be a really fun story because there's plenty to flesh out.

THE PRINCESS AND THE PEA - Speaking of stories that need fleshing out...The Princess and the Pea would certainly be one of them. But if Disney was able to do it with The Frog Prince and Rapunzel I'm absolutely confident that they could come up with a great backstory for this one too.

RUMPLESTILTSKIN - This one would certainly be a challenge. It features slightly unlikable characters and some pretty dark undertones (having the first born's safety in danger is certainly risky...) But I'm sure there's a light and fun spin that maybe could be had here? Plus they can inject a nice moral lesson about keeping one's promises and being honest and blah blah blah. But maybe they won't be able to since Shrek already wasted him.

THE LIGHT PRINCESS - A couple of days ago I had this flash of memory...and recovered something I had COMPLETELY forgotten about. When I was little, I was OBSESSED with this random made for tv movie, making my mom constantly check out for me at the library. It was mostly live action, with weird animated characters popping in and out. It was about a princess who was so light she could float. The reason why? Because she never cried of course. Throw in a witch and a sassy evil sidekick cat and I was sold. It'd be fun to revisit this story again in a modern way!

THE PRINCESS WHO NEVER LAUGHED - Two princesses in a row that never experienced certain emotions! This one though was more to do with being brought up in a verrry strict kingdom and wasn't a result of some fluke she was born with. It's the female version of trying on shoes of every girl in the kingdom...but this time the first man to make her laugh wins. A much better contest!

THE TWELVE DANCING PRINCESSES - This was absolutely one of my favorites growing up. Something was just so magical about the princesses being able to travel to a secret world every night that no one knew about... This one really could have a lot of potential. There's plenty of characters to play with, and lots of fun to be had.

Can you think of any more to add??


I love technology...

This morning I was all set to finally give you a review of Frozen...and then I got a notification from the facebook page telling me "it's cyber Monday! Write a post about it!" Challenge accepted. Since this post is the spur of the moment....I'm gonna keep the summaries VERY short and have this be a mini-post. Possibly later today I'll have a Frozen review...if not, look for it on Wednesday. So in honor of the cyber world I present ten movies about technology.

TRON - What would it be like to live in a computer video game world? Well...I've never seen the original, but from the decades later sequel it seems pretty trippy and neon.

THE TERMINATOR SERIES - In these films we get to see what happens to a society that becomes TOO dependent on technology... and yet somehow we still let this self-fulfilling prophecy happen. Just you wait for Skynet to become a thing. Just you wait!

2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY - The mother of all AI-trying-to-destroy-people movies! ...And then that part doesn't last long and it gets way trippy.

THE NET - This here is one of my friend's favorite movies. "The Sandra Bullock 90's thriller The Net." I saw this movie probably over 10 years ago, and remember absolutely nothing except Sandra being on vacation and lugging around a clunky 90's laptop with her while she was tanning on the beach. Silly show.

THE MATRIX - What if our reality was created by a computer and we had no idea we were trapped in it? The result would be that everyone would dress in drab black outfits and it would look a lot like the late 90's.

THE SOCIAL NETWORK - The story behind the creation of one of the world's biggest websites. The Social Network is one of my favorite movies to come out of the last five years and it's definitely worth checking out.

JOBS - The story behind the creation of one of the world's biggest companies. Haha. Okay, I haven't seen this...but I thought the story of Steve Jobs might round out the list nicely. I'll watch this one and get back to you later if it's really worth your time.

CATFISH - A documentary (or is it?) behind what can happen when you form relationships with people you don't know at all over the internet. There's always the controversy to whether this was real or not...but either way it's fascinating.

THE INTERNSHIP - Yeah...this movie is relatively laugh-free and hardly worth your time....but if you just LOVE google, uh maybe you should watch it.

YOU'VE GOT MAIL - They found love in a hopeless place: The internet! Well, actually HOW did these two start up their correspondence? No matter. This is far from my favorite rom-com by any means...but it was the first to highlight how technology can bring people together! Hooray!


Boom. Happy online shopping.


Retail Therapy

Now that Thanksgiving is over it's time for....no not Christmas yet though that will be here before you know it. No, it's time for the "holiday" that is literally trying to take over our day of thanks: Black Friday. Are you sick of hearing about it yet? If you are, then I can't say I blame you...but read my list anyway and perhaps live vicariously? And if you aren't, here's a good way to get you into the shopping spirit. Today's list features ten films with fabulous shopping sequences.

CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPOHOLIC -  Okay so this isn't the greatest movie made by any means, but I couldn't make a list of shopping and not include this silly little chick flick. After all, the whole plot of it is about a girl who can't stop shopping for clothes (and no it is NOT a story of my life....though it could be.) Yeah...it's probably a bad sign that I found myself relating to much of her inner monologues.

PRETTY WOMAN - It's everyone's dream to be given unlimited funds to clothe themselves in the finest apparel possible...unfortunately in this scenario you're a prostitute and you're only getting the clothes so you'll actually be presentable! But hey... at least you will get some clothes out of the deal!

ENCHANTED - This scenario is pretty much like the last one instead you don't have to be a prostitute! (Whoa..that's a Flight of the Conchords song!) This time you get to be a formerly animated princess who now is adjusting to being human being. Even better, you get to shop for a dress for a ball! Hooray!

BLANK CHECK - What would you do if you had access to unlimited money AND you're a kid? You would go on a huuuuge  toy shopping spree. And you wouldn't just stop at toys. You would get everything possible you can imagine under the sun. I must admit, I haven't seen this film since I was a kid...but this paired with Richie Rich were basically my dream life (minus the whole having an adult love interest when I'm just a kid...gross.)

THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA - The only thing better than shopping with someone else's money is getting tons of freebies. If those freebies cost more money than most people make in a week...well that's pretty terrific. This film, a mousy Anne Hathaway gets to shop from the most en vogue racks you can think of, and consequently goes from totally geek to totally chic. Ah, the power of clothing.

BIG - So we've covered clothes shopping (and will revisit it again soon) Let's talk again about TOYS! There's something about toy stores in movies that are always magical. What's even better is if somehow you weasel your way into a job at a toy company and can design your own toys! #winning

CRAZY STUPID LOVE - Yes it is a well-known fact that I absolutely hate this film...but the best part revolves around a suave Ryan Gosling hosting a different type of clothing shopping spree. The guy certainly knows how to dress...and seeing him dole out advice is definitely one of the (few) highlights in the film.

BILL & TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE - A mall is a glorious place...but even more so if you're from another century and have never been in a mall! Music stores, aerobics classes and food courts. You'll be enthralled by the possibilities.

CLUELESS - Yes it's all 90's fashion...but it's crazy (then) cutting edge fashion! And you even can use a very archaic computer program to help you plan your outfits every day... Again as I mentioned...malls are the places to be!! ESPECIALLY when it concerns a homely friend needing an all too crucial makeover.

13 GOING ON 30 - When all else fails...just go shopping in your own closet! It only reallllly works though if you're unfamiliar with your closet and everything seems new. It's also good if said closet happens to be well organized so it can constantly shock and amaze. I aspire for my closet to look like this one day...but unfortunately I'm too much of a slob.

Moral of the story? Hooray for clothes! Movies and I both like them. Happy shopping. Or recovering from turkey comas. Whichev.


We Are Family

Tomorrow is the day! Thanksgiving day that is. And if for some reason you're not looking forward to spending some good old fashioned quality family time...just remember: it could be worse! Maybe your family drives you nuts and they're all a bunch of crazies, but here's a list that will make you COMPLETELY thankful for them, rather than being stuck with one of these dysfunctional movie families. Oh and for the record I'm COMPLETELY thankful for my family. They're absolutely the best and love each and every member of our clan like crazy. But...twenty years ago or so, amid all the obligatory youngest child teasing, I probably dreamed of running away at least once a week! Luckily though I never had it as bad as some of the members of the families below!

LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE - This family is kind of a mess. Just about every type of psychiatric anxiety seems to be represented here, and at times it can be incredibly painful to witness their interactions with one another. There's a lot of sadness and pain in this family, and it kind of oozes from the screen. But there is a silver lining to this movie family, deep down under it all though, despite their differences they truly do love and support one another (even if that sometimes means impromptu dancing)

STAR WARS - my my my where do you even begin? Father is basically responsible for mother's death. Father completely obliterates daughter's home planet. Father chops off son's hand and tries to turn him evil. Siblings kiss each other. That ought to do it! At least they all seem to bond in the end...minus, of course, their mom who is dead.

THE GODFATHER - Do not betray the family. Just don't. Whether you happen to be a brother, wife or simply an in-law... make no mistake, you are not immune from the consequences just because you're "family." If betrayal occurs, you will likely either a) lose everything and wish you were dead...or b) be...dead! This family is....well one of the leading mob families, so everything you imagine about them is pretty much correct. They're liars, manipulators, and murderers. Still murderers are people too (right Mafia?) 

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK - OCD & Bi-polar makes for a winning combination in this family. A father who is obsessed with creating good juju so his football team and a son obsessed with getting back together with his estranged wife would be simply exhausting. You can see the toll it takes just by closely observing the mother as a character. And if Pat does [SPOILER highlight to read] end up marrying Tiffany after the film concludes [/Spoiler]  The family is gonna be even MORE messed up.

THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS - I'll admit, it's been some time since I've seen this, and I barely remember it....so I'm going from the faintest memory. But from what I DO recall....this family is MESSED UP. Three former child prodigies each grow up to be screwed up and neurotic. One is in love with his adopted sister, and the adopted sister is a chain smoker in a loveless marriage to an older man. And the other one is a paranoid father with two mini-him sons. The parents of the family, particularly the father (where likely all the dysfunction came from...) is even worse with the all the lying and manipulating going on.

BIG FISH - A father and son, on two polar ends of the universe. The son, grounded in reality while the father much prefers the color of fantasy and exaggerating: anything just to make a story good. For a son that cares nothing about stories and only wants the TRUTH, he's grown mighty resentful. When it comes down to it, a certain parent or sibling is never going to be the person you think they should be. It's a hard truth that many just don't want to accept. Big Fish shows that you should stop trying to understand them, but to enjoy them for who they are...and what time you have with them.

THE FIGHTER - Drugs and craziness persist in this family. I suppose the moral is having that many sisters/daughters would ruin anyone's life? Except Marky Mark of course. Really though, this is one of the most unpleasant and dysfunctional families I think that I've seen before. Yes they seem to need each other, but they probably would all be a lot better off emotionally without one another (maybe they'd win less fights, but they'd be more normal, functioning members of society!)

THE DESCENDANTS - Life can be messy. And depressing. Nowhere is that more evident than in The Descendants. Here we have a bit of a rebellious daughter and a recently deceased mother who was cheating up a storm on the family patriarch. If you lived in this family you'd constantly be having to learn life lessons like letting go of anger and making peace with the past. Really, who has time for that?

INTO THE WILD - Even though I dreamed of running away, at least I never went through with it! These next two films are a little different than the rest. Here the main character feels his family and future are just too much for him to handle and desires so much to have a permanent time out, forsaking everything to journey to Alaska (and not saying a word to them about his idea.) In this film, it's ultimately more about the absence of what you thought was a family you needed to get away from, than a straight up dysfunctional one (minus the main character I suppose!) Too bad he discovers a bit too late that "happiness is only real when shared." (Though I must attest I've had some pretty happy solo moments.)  If you need to feel grateful for what you've got, watching some of his struggles near the end will definitely do the trick.

UP IN THE AIR - A similar lesson to Wild is learned here. When George Clooney (ehh I'm not gonna even bother with character names at the moment,) reluctantly returns to the family he's constantly trying to distance himself from for his sister's wedding, he unexpectedly finds himself in the awkward position of having to warm some cold feet. Even though he's made it his life's work to keep people at a distance because of his own issues with personal relationships, (including his two sisters, which are shaky at best...) he comes to an important realization. "Life's better with company. Everybody needs a co-pilot." In all fairness though, I understand why he wouldn't want to hang out with his sisters. One has terrible taste in men, and the other is the annoying mom in Rookie of the Year!

That's it. I hope everyone has a lovely Thanksgiving and remembers the stuff that truly matters. (Then the next day they can trample over complete strangers for stuff...) Oh and if you're looking for the tv edition you can always check out Arrested Development.