Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Weekend: One Book and Six Films About Families, Both Conventional and Not

Looking for something to read or watch over the Thanksgiving weekend? Read this. (Can you tell that I'm so tired that I'm merely posting my Goodreads review here for you? This review feels incomplete, doesn't it?) ArcadiaArcadia by Lauren Groff
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Groff traces commune kid and protagonist Bit's life from his existence in utero--straining the denim of his hippie mom's overalls as she launders clothes in a river--until her death in Bit's often strained middle age. Although Arcadia, the upstate New York commune that raised Bit eventually crumbles, Bit and his family survive, sometimes tenuously, carving out an initially depressing "post-Arcadial" existence in Queens. Throughout, Bit's quiet heartbreaks and triumphs are narrated in a self-conscious and highly styled literary voice that sometimes grates--"He has been gentled in living light"--but is, at least, ethnographically appropriate. As a perpetual student of the '60s counterculture, I can't help but approve.

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 And you should watch these two Thanksgiving-themed films. Pieces of April with my neighbor, Katie Holmes:
 Hannah and Her Sisters is brilliant:

And a pre-rehab Robert Downey Jr. in Home for the Holidays. (Haven't seen this one. Have you?)
 Swinging patricians during the demise of the Nixon administration:

And if you spend Thanksgiving with family you choose instead of genetically inherit, then maybe the best Thanksgiving movie of all time is for you:
And speaking of counter-cultural Thanksgivings, don't forget this one. (My water broke while watching this film the day after Thanksgiving.:


  1. think i'm gonna watch hannah & her sisters. it's been ages.

  2. We watched Home for the Holidays this year. Weird but good.