Let’s continue this cavalcade of holiday movie suggestions with two more great flicks for Turkey Day! 🙂
Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
While not (strictly speaking) a holiday movie, this comedy-drama begins and ends with a Thanksgiving dinner. So … close enough! 🙂
The plot is constructed of intertwined storylines revolving around a woman named Hannah (played by Mia Farrow) and her a family. The story follows three main arcs that bob and weave around, coming together like a tapestry of familial and other relationships with Hannah at the center.
In one plot line, Hannah’s husband, Elliott (played by Michael Caine), develops a mad crush on Hannah’s sister, Lee (played by Barbara Hershey). One thing leads to another and … well, it’s a Woody Allen film. You can imagine.
Meanwhile, Lee is living with an older guy named Frederick (played by Max Von Sydow), the world’s most depressed artist. One can easily see how Lee would step out on this sourpuss. Even so, it’s slightly off-putting to see Von Sydow follow up his cool-and-capable roles in films like The Exorcist and Three Days of the Condor to play this … droopy-faced buzzkill. Although, I had to laugh at Frederick’s take on televangelists. Probably his most sympathetic feature.
The second plotline concerns Hannah’s ex-husband, Mickey, played by (who else?) Woody Allen. After a doctor’s visit, Mickey has a brief cancer scare, based on his tendency toward hypochondria. Even when he gets a clean bill of health, the incident plunges him into an existential crisis. Mickey turns to (multiple) religions and philosophies for answers. As always, Allen’s sense of humor is in top form, whether it’s mocking religion, philosophy, or himself.
The third plotline features Hannah’s other sister, Holly (played by the very funny Dianne Wiest). She’s the flighty (and sometime coke-addicted) sister—still trying to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up—and Wiest absolutely nails the part.
There’s an interesting dynamic between all the players here. Plus some great supporting roles for such talented folks as Daniel Stern, Lloyd Nolan, Maureen O’Sullivan, Carrie Fisher, Julie Kavner, John Turturro, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
Ultimately, it’s a movie about family. And life. Well worth watching any time of year.
And The Apartment (1960)
Once again, this romantic comedy-drama isn’t strictly speaking a holiday movie. But since the story takes place during the holidays and leads up to a big scene on New Year’s Eve, enuf said! 🙂
It’s the story of C.C. “Bud” Baxter (played by the wonderful Jack Lemmon), who is your basic Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, trying to climb the corporate ladder. And to speed his rise to the top, he loans his apartment out to his managers, to use for their … ahem! … trysts.
By pleasing these higher-ups, Bud eventually gets a promotion from personnel director, Jeff Sheldrake (played by a smarmy Fred MacMurray). He’s happy to oblige Bud—if he can use Bud’s apartment, too.
And then there’s the lovely Fran Kubelik, elevator operator (back when they had those!) (played by the lovely Shirley MacLaine). If you haven’t seen this film, I’ll only say that Bud has a huge crush on Fran.
But, there’s an obstacle to his getting her—can you guess what that is? If you guessed that she’s hooked up with
the thoroughly repulsive Sheldrake, you get the gold star. And, yes, Sheldrake conducts his affair with Fran in Bud’s own apartment! Ouch! 🙂
There are so many twists to the plot, that I won’t spoil the movie for anyone who hasn’t seen it. But I will say that the humor is biting, satirical, and as relevant today as it was then. Plus, it ruins nothing to add that love conquers all.
This video is of the end of the movie, which is so priceless, I simply must include it. So, if you don’t want to see spoilers, don’t watch it. If you’ve seen the movie and want to enjoy it all over again, go for it! 🙂
That’s got to be one of the best ending lines ever! 🙂