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.

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