Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Directed By: Jodie Foster Written By: W.D. Richter Based on a short story by: Chris Radant Cinematography By: Lajos Koltai Editor: Lynzee Klingman Cast: Holly Hunter, Anne Bancroft, Charles Durning, Robert Downey Jr., Dylan McDermott, Claire Danes, David Strathairn, Cynthia Stevenson, Amy Yasbeck, Steve Guttenberg, Austin Pendleton, Geraldine Chaplin, Shawn Hatosy After losing her job, making out with her soon to be ex-boss, and finding out that her daughter plans to spend Thanksgiving with her boyfriend, Claudia Larson has to face spending the holiday with her family. She wonders if she can survive their crazy antics. I thought this was going to be one of the great ones. Yes Seriously. A talented cast. The preview was funny with a put upon main character dealing with all these problems from each family member, But in the end I thought it would all tie together. That’s not what happened. This film was a black comedy which I like, but it was also very cruel when it didn’t need to be. Most of the characters are one dimensional. In fact years later the film THE FAMILY STONE is what this film should have been. Including Claire Danes as a cast member. One of the problems with this film is that with a cast of this size. Some characters have to be put by the wayside, of course those characters are the ones you want to see more of. The treatment of Cynthia Stevenson’s character, While maybe a little just was over the top and uncalled for, specifically when later the film chooses to see the family’s situation from her side of view. The same can be said with David Straithairn’s character. Who seemed like the living embodiment of the character Gil from the SIMPSONS. The nothing but bad luck salesman only this time he was a handyman who the parents tried to fix Holly Hunter up with. Though He is the only character who comes through this with a dramatic edge that fulfills what this film could have been. The only cast member who comes through this unscathed is Robert Downey Jr. Who is flamboyant and magnificent as usual. I know this film was supposed to show the bittersweet experience of reuniting with your family for the holidays and the pains and joys of dealing with them and catching up, but this film seemed mostly to be about the minuses then the pluses. Robert Downey Jr. publicly admitted to using heroin during the making of this film. Jodie Foster wrote him a letter praising his work but warning him that he could not keep doing this on other films. This is a family so separate from each other. They should never reunite because of their open hatred for one another. I think in their whole time together for the weekend there was only 2 times that everyone was happy. The film is also very dull. I don’t know if it is because Director Jodie Foster wanted to keep it real to life. Which would explain the bipolar tone of the film or if that was just the way it was made.It also comes off as too intellectual especially for this kind of film. On the plus side every individual character gets a happy ending in their own kind of way. GRADE: D+

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