NetCliques: Family films for Thanksgiving


Art by Jenner Chen

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year… and I don’t mean Christmas. Sadly, it’s too early to go buy an evergreen tree and last minute gifts at the mall. This article marks the holiday that celebrates a creature that sleeps in trees, was adored by Benjamin Franklin, and makes you very sleepy after eating a plate of it: turkey.

Since Thanksgiving always reminds us to be thankful for whatever family we’ve got, it makes only sense to dedicate this month’s article of recommendations to the humorously dysfunctional families that may drive each other insane but make for excellent movies and television shows.These movies aren’t necessarily related to Thanksgiving, but they certainly will make you feel grateful for your own family or even jealous that your relatives aren’t as cool.

There’s nothing like bringing home someone to your family for the first time; we’ve all had that uncomfortable moment when our minds are rapidly sending out telepathic messages to everyone in the living room, ordering them to please stop the public embarrassment and eat their mashed potatoes in silence. That being said, we can definitely sympathize with Eddie Murphy’s overweight protagonist Sherman Klump in The Nutty Professor (1996, available on Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu!). Although the remake of the sci-fi-romantic-comedy centers around Sherman developing a weight-loss serum that allows him to lose hundreds of pounds and develop a new arrogant alter ego (also played by Eddie Murphy), the most memorable scenes of the movie take place in the Klump household during embarrassing dinners between Klump and his family. Even when Sherman brings home his co-worker Carla (Jada Pinket-Smith), the Klumps comically refuse to let up on their nosy assumptions and intrusive behavior, deciding within minutes that Carla will marry Sherman and fit into Mrs. Klump’s wedding dress and follow through with the new meaning of the term “pop goes the weasel”… Dysfunctional and eclectic (and all eerily Eddie Murphy in various costumes and makeup), the Klumps are a family so worth watching (and being thankful you don’t have) that they even got their own spinoff movie (see The Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, also available on Amazon, Netflix and Hulu!)

The Family Stone (2005, available on Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu!) showcases another first family meeting that goes horribly wrong, this time involving uptight, conservative Meredith Morton (Sarah Jessica Parker) struggling to fit in with the liberal family of her boyfriend Everett Stone (Dermot Mulroney). While Everett tries to convince his parents (the brilliant Diane Keaton and Craig T. Nelson) to hand over the family’s heirloom ring in order to propose, Meredith clumsily strains her way through a disastrous evening of charades and uncomfortable dinner conversation (nature VS nurture is never a fun thing to talk about). A dramedy with an all star cast, this film has its own share of crazy dysfunctionality, with conflicts as plentiful as a soap opera and a main character who makes you feel second-hand embarrassment but first-hand love for her with each comment she nervously blurts out.

Since its release in 2007, Meet The Robinsons (available on Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu!) has set the standard for an animated film with a crazy family. An aspiring inventor who continuously scares away prospective parents, Lewis (Jordon Fry) meets a mysterious boy, Wilbur Robinson, (Wesley Singerman) who brings him to the future with hopes of using Wilbur’s time machine in order to meet the mother who abandoned him. While fixing up the time machine, Lewis takes a break and wanders around the Robinson household, meeting the rest of the family that include cannon and model train fanatics, a man married to his ventriloquist dummy, an octopus butler, an intergalactic pizza man (voiced by Adam West!), and a mother who conducts an orchestra of musical frogs. As he wraps up working on the time machine, Lewis realizes just what he wants in a family and what it really feels like to be wanted. If this movie doesn’t make you grip your loved ones tighter this season, you’re made of stone.

Thanksgiving is all about being grateful for what you have, especially your family! This Turkey Day, right before the food coma hits you, switch on a  NetCliques pick and remind everyone that you’re lucky that there’s no sitcom featuring your family in all its wonderful dysfunctionality.