Last week, I let you know about some of the activities during Thanksgiving break to fill up those long, extended-weekend hours. But I left out my favorite vacation activity: going to the movies. While fall is a great time for film, as the schedule usually trades its blockbusters for its heavier, more interesting stuff, studios usually wait until Thanksgiving weekend to pull out their big guns. So, we have a weekend packed with awards bait, crowd-pleasers, and 3D spectaculars. But what should you see, and with whom? Here’s a guide to movies that should be out this weekend, and who best to share your popcorn with.
Go with Your Date: Love and Other Drugs
This film, about a drug-company representative (Jake Gyllenhaal) and his unlikely girlfriend (Anne Hathaway), is one of those rare romantic films that might appeal to both men and women equally. Not to adhere to common generalizations, but I estimate that one-half of each couple will enjoy the story of two people trying to forge a relationship despite lots of vulnerable emotional baggage — and the other half of the couple will like that there’s a surprising amount of nudity in it.
Go with Your Mom: Morning Glory
Moms love Diane Keaton, right? And I’m sure they all can see their daughters in Rachel McAdams’ character, the plucky producer trying to turn around a troubled network morning show. Sure, McAdams’ mother in the movie may not be the most supportive, but your mom can still have her heart warmed by the relationship McAdams fosters with Harrison Ford, the aging hard-news reporter she needs to try and control.
Go with Your Dad: Unstoppable
Dad, on the other hand, cares not about tender cross-generational relationships. He wants to see a runaway train (full of chemicals!), and Denzel Washington’s attempts to stop it. He might also like that Washington’s character has a thing or two to teach the young new guy on the team.
Go with Your Kids: Megamind or Tangled
Hollywood has no shortage of 3D animated films to pump out each holiday season. In Megamind, comic talents like Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, and Jonah Hill lend their voices to a story about a brainy villian’s attempts to take over Metrocity — and how he feels after he succeeds. Tangled is Disney’s retelling of the Rapunzel story, but amped up for CGI era. Chuck’s Zachary Levi and pop star Mandy Moore provide the voices, and Alan Menken once again contributes his songs.
Burlesque screenshot by Stephen Vaughan
Go with the Girls: Burlesque
Fishnet stockings, sequins, feathers, and Cher — what more could a group of girls ask for? Oh yes, Christina Aguilera as a ingénue looking for her big break on the Burlesque stage, leading lots of sassy musical numbers. And, even though it’s all about Burlesque, the tame PG-13 rating means that this will probably be a runaway success with ’tween/teen girls as well.
Go with the Guys: Faster
No feathers or pearls here, just good, old-fashioned revenge. Dwayne Johnson, known to you and me as The Rock, plays a character out to avenge his brother, who died in a botched bank robbery. This is all about big muscles, big guns, and fast cars — Johnson’s character’s name is, aptly enough, Driver.
Go with Outdoor Enthusiasts: 127 Hours
This film, about Aron Ralston’s experience being trapped under a boulder in a Utah canyon, is from the same director as Slumdog Millionaire — but don’t expect the same kind of poignant, feel-good story. What Ralston has to do to survive his ordeal is brutal, and James Franco does an impressive job taking the audience through every harrowing minute. But, before things go south for poor Ralston, there are some gorgeous shot of Utah’s rocky terrain.
Go with Fantasy Nerds: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
The penultimate installment of the film franchise made $125.1 million this weekend. So chances are, if you wanted to see this film, you already did. But knowing fantasy fans, you might be ready for a second go-round.
Go with Oscar Junkies: The King’s Speech
This film is about British royalty, and it stars Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce, and Michael Gambon. In short, it has Oscar written all over it. Plus, the subject matter seems more cozy than stiff: It’s about a speech therapist who helps George VI get over his stammer in the run-up to World War II.
What do you plan on seeing this holiday weekend? Let me know in the comments.