Lisa’s Editorial Corner: 10 Things For Which I Am Thankful In 2017


Well, it’s that time.

Every Thanksgiving, I come up with an even-numbered list of things for which I’m thankful.  I know some people are saying that we shouldn’t be thankful for anything this year.  These are the people who say that, because they’re miserable, it’s somehow offensive that everyone else isn’t miserable.

But you know what?

Fuck that.

No one tells me what to believe or whether or not I can celebrate a holiday.  That freedom is something that I’m very thankful for!  Here’s a few more things that I’ve been thankful for this year:

  1. I’m thankful for this site.  Arleigh Sandoc founded Through the Shattered Lens in December of 2009 and, about four months later, I posted my very first review on this site.  A lot has changed since that first review.  New contributors have added their own unique perspectives to this site and I’d like to think that, on a personal level, I’ve grown as a writer since I wrote that first review.  But one thing that has always remained consistent is just how much I love doing this.  I’ve posted over 4,000 posts on Through the Shattered Lens and I’ve had a blast writing every one of them!

2. I’m thankful for our readers.  Seriously, you are the ones who make all of this worthwhile.  We currently have somewhere around 28,000 subscribers and to each and every one of you, I say, “Thank you.”  Thank you for reading and thank you for commenting.  Just as I hope I’ve introduced some of you to some new movies, quite a few of you have also inspired me to take a second and third look at some of the films I’ve reviewed.

3. I’m thankful for all of the brave women (and men) who have shared their stories in an effort to make this world a safer place.

4. I’m thankful that this was the year of Twin Peaks.  On this site, starting with the original series and extending all the way through the end of the Showtime revival, we shared our thoughts on everything Twin Peaks this year.  Years from now, we’ll still be debating why Laura screamed.

5. I’m thankful that this has been a great year for genre films.  While so many of the year’s “prestige” films fell flat, 2017 will always be remembered as the year of War of the Planet of Apes, Wonder Woman, The Lego Batman Movie, Beauty and the Beast, Split Kong: Skull Island, Get Out, It, Spider-Man, The Big Sick, Logan, and Thor: Ragnorak.

6. I’m thankful for networks like TCM, which introduce classic movies to new viewers.

7. I’m thankful for my friends in the Late Night Movie Gang.  Every Saturday night, we watch a movie.  Sometimes the movie is bad and sometimes, the movie is really bad.  But we always have a blast.

8. I’m thankful that, in just another few weeks, I’ll be able to see The Disaster Artist.

9. I’m thankful for the artists who, in this time of rampant conformity, are still fighting to maintain their own unique and individual vision.

10. I’m thankful for Chinese food.  Seriously, who doesn’t love Chinese food?

Happy thanksgiving!

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A Movie A Day #318: The War At Home (1996, directed by Emilio Estevez)


The year is 1972 and it is Thanksgiving week in small town America.  The Colliers are getting ready for the holidays.  Maurine (Kathy Bates) is intent on preparing the perfect Thanksgiving meal.  Bob (Martin Sheen) is keeping an eye on his car dealership and wondering why kids today are not as respectful as they once were.  The two Collier children are coming home from school.  The youngest, Karen (Kimberly Williams), is hoping she can keep the peace because she knows that her older brother, Jeremy (Emilio Estevez), has returned from Vietnam a changed man.  Suffering from severe PTSD, Jeremy is haunted by flashbacks and angry at everything, especially his father.  The only reason he even attended college was so he could be near his girlfriend (Carla Gugino) and even she has told him that she no longer feels comfortable around him.  When Jeremy returns home, his family first tries to ignore the problems that he’s having adjusting to civilian life but Jeremy is determined not to be ignored.

Emilio Estevez famously agreed to appear, for free, in the third Mighty Ducks films in return for Disney agreeing to produce and distribute The War At Home.  Unfortunately, this heartfelt movie has never gotten the attention that it deserves.  While Estevez’s direction is never subtle and the script , which was based on a play, is often heavy-handed, The War At Home is redeemed by the powerful performances of Estevez, Bates, Sheen, and Williams.  Bates is especially good as the perfect homemaker who is revealed to be smarter than anyone realized.  The War At Home is a good but overlooked film that is still relevant today.

Happy Birthday Boris Karloff: THE OLD DARK HOUSE (Universal 1932)


cracked rear viewer

William Henry Pratt was born on November 23, 1887, but horror movie icon Boris Karloff was “born” when he teamed with director James Whale for 1931’s FRANKENSTEIN. The scary saga of a man and his monster became a big hit, and Universal Studios boss Carl Laemmle Jr. struck while the horror trend was hot, quickly teaming the pair in an adaptation of J.B. Priestley’s 1927 novel THE OLD DARK HOUSE. This film was considered lost for many years until filmmaker and Whale friend Curtis Harrington discovered a print in the Universal vaults. Recently, a 4K restoration has been released courtesy of the Cohen Film Collection, and a showing aired on TCM this past Halloween. I of course, having never seen the film, hit the DVR button for a later viewing.

THE OLD DARK HOUSE has not only been restored to its former glory, but is a delightful black comedy showcasing…

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The Lesson of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving


Every year, I watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and every year, I ask myself the same thing.  Why didn’t Charlie Brown just say no?

At the start of the special, when Lucy again challenges Charlie Brown to kick the football that she’s holding, why doesn’t he say no?  Why does he think that a national holiday would actually make Lucy hold the football long enough for him to kick it?

When Peppermint Patty decides to invite herself over for Thanksgiving dinner, why doesn’t he say just say no?  Peppermint Patty (aka Priscilla) may not take no for an answer but why not at least try?

When Peppermint Patty tells him that she’s invited Franklin and Marcy over for dinner, why doesn’t Charlie just admit that he only knows how to make “cold cereal and maybe toast?”

When Linus suggests that he could have two dinners and then Snoopy and Woodstock volunteer to cater the whole affair, why doesn’t Charlie Brown say no?  Doesn’t he know that anything he does is destined to go wrong?  Couldn’t he see Snoopy wrestling with the folding chair and just said, “No, this isn’t going to work?”

When Peppermint Patty yells about only getting toast, popcorn, pretzels, and jelly beans for Thanksgiving, why doesn’t Charlie just kick her off of his property?  No one would have blamed him.

And, when Peppermint Patty invites herself to go to Grandma Brown’s condo for Thanksgiving, why doesn’t he say no?  Why, after all she’s done to him, does he still want to give her a good Thanksgiving?

It’s all about faith.  All of the Charlie Brown holiday specials deal with faith.  Not just spiritual faith (though that was always present) but also faith in the goodness of humanity (even if it is sometimes hard to find) and optimism for the future (even if Charlie sometimes didn’t share it).

Just as Linus believed in the Great Pumpkin, Charlie believed in Thanksgiving, a holiday where we give thanks for and appreciate our friends and family, even if they are sometimes crabby or if they don’t realize that pretzels and jelly beans are a great meal.  Just as Snoopy believed that he could be a World War I flying ace and a published writer, Charlie Brown believed that a dog and a tiny bird could cater an entire holiday affair.  And, just like how he’ll never stop believing that the little red-haired girl will someday notice him, Charlie Brown will never stop believing that he’s going to kick that ball.  Charlie Brown never stops believing that things could go well even though they never do.  He never stops believing that the next day could be better than the last and even if his friends and his dog aren’t perfect, he never stop being thankful for them.

That’s the lesson of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.  Never stop believing.  Never lose track of what you have to be thankful for.  Never let a dog and a bird cater your Thanksgiving dinner.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Artwork of the Day: Flag With Legs


(Andy Warhol, 1985)

Originally, when I was thinking about what I wanted to say in this post, I was going to open by saying that, right after the 4th of July, Thanksgiving is the most American of all holidays.

But, actually, that’s not totally true.  Though Thanksgiving may have been first been celebrated in the States, many nations have days specifically set aside for giving thanks.  Canadian Thanksgiving has been celebrated since 1879.  Some people in The Netherlands, from which many of the pilgrims originally came, celebrate the holiday.  Liberia observes Thanksgiving on the first Thursday of November.  In Grenada, a Thanksgiving holiday is observed on October 25th.

That said, Thanksgiving always makes me think of America.  Later today, I’ll be at my uncle’s, having a huge meal.  Because the weather’s getting cold, we’ll probably eat inside.  If we did happen to go outside to eat, we’d be eating in the shadow of an American flag, one that’s much larger than the one in this picture.  That’s right — on Thanksgiving, my uncle actually lowers his Texas flag and replaces it with an American flag.  That’s the power of this holiday.

(Rest assured, at midnight exactly, the Texas flag will go back up.)

As for today’s artwork of the day, this picture was taken by Andy Warhol in 1985, two years before he passed away.  As with much of Warhol’s work, it somehow manages to be both earnest and satiric at the same time.  It was this combination that made Warhol such a uniquely American artist.

Enjoy this uniquely but not solely American holiday!

 

Music Video Of The Day: God Only Knows by The Beach Boys (1966, dir by ????)


Apparently, the most difficult thing in the world is to try to find a good music video for Thanksgiving!

Seriously.

First off, there really aren’t that many Thanksgiving songs and those that do exist don’t have music videos.  If there had been an official music video for Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant (which Gary wrote about yesterday), I would have shared it.  But, as far as I can tell, there isn’t.

I nearly went with Alanis Morrisette’s Thank U but then I realized how much that song annoys me so I decided not to.  If Natalie Merchant’s song, Kind and Generous, had been called Thank You, I would have used it but, unfortunately, it’s not.

I eventually went with God Only Knows because it’s the type of song that can bring tears to your eyes and I recently rewatched Boogie Nights and I love how the song is used in the film.  And, to be honest, it’s a song that captures the feeling of Thanksgiving, even if it’s not really a Thanksgiving song.

So, I used it.  I can’t really tell you much about this video, other than music videos in the 60s and 70s were considerably more straight-forward and less flashy than what we’re used to today. It’s a simple video but it works for the song, I think.

Enjoy and happy Thanksgiving!