Is your family more Griswolds or the crew in Home for the Holidays?
This year more than any other year, Thanksgiving has attained a certain ominous tone to it — albeit a humorous. Thanks in no small part to the exhausting political climate, there has been many an article devoted to surviving the family during the holiday get together. No longer is it just about whether your cousin Whats-her-butt will scarf the majority of the mac 'n’ cheese before you even get a chance to the bowl or if Uncle Whats-his-nuts will cut one during dinner.
Nowadays Granddad Goofus may quote the latest article about how the libs are wiping their mouths with the Constitution while your cousin Morticia may go on a rant to prove how many Noam Chomsky books she’s read. Your family is unhinged. You’re no prize pig yourself in the Mental Stability Sweepstakes either. It may be sad to compare your familial sanity to fiction but this is where we are now. As messed up as our families may be, we hope we’re closer to the wacky, well-meaning idiocy of the Griswolds than the megalomaniacal semi-incesty pathos of the Skywalkers. From awkward to psychotic, here are some movies can give you a little reminder of how sane your fam may actually be.
Home For The Holidays
So your only daughter has just announced to you she intends to have sex with her boyfriend over the T-day holidays while you, a single mother, have to jet off to Chicago for the usual Larson family dinner. Needless to say, the family is not going to provide for any relief from the tension already brewing within. You got a conservative sis with a banker hubs and two walking boat anchors, a newly-married gay brother that looks, sounds, and acts alot like Robert Downey Jr., and an eccentric aunt who's had a crush on your Dad since the first time she met him. And, like most family get-togethers, you, like Claudia Larson (Holly Hunter), can only sit in resigned silence as the awkward meter breaks down from exhaustion.
The Royal Tenenbaums
What hath Wes Anderson wrought? He is known for bringing lush visuals, forgotten ’60s musical gems, and the family dynamics of rich privilege. While the Larsons have their fair share of middle class discomfiture and clumsiness, the Tenenbaums have bouts of explosive looniness albeit from a far more beautiful place. When the patriarch shacks up in a hotel for over two decades while the three children live with mother in a sweet pad, it’s bound to create a little bit anxiety within the family. As a son in the family, it never helps that you and your two other siblings have seen your most successful days vanish once you left puberty. It also never helps when your dad has long consistent history of being a bullshit artist with a penchant for stealing money from one of his own kids. Family. Who needs ‘em?
The Tenenbaums only wish they were as fucked up as Todd Solondz’s Jordan clan. Disturbing is the best adjective to describe their tale and “Ewwwww” is the sound you’ll make while watching it. Lenny has lost all form of feeling and wants to divorce after 40 years of a not-so-blissful marriage. His wife Mona languishes in the depression of being newly single. The real damage rests in the lives of the daughters Joy, Helen, and Trish. The youngest, Joy, is a quiet bleeding heart single who is slowly turning to stone as her kindness is used against her. Helen is a successful, self-important author fantasizing about a relationship with an obscene phone caller. The oldest, Trish, is, at face value, the married sister with all the knowledge but her fragile, delusional house of cards is undercut when you realize her psychiatrist husband is a pedophile. What a bunch of dark, miserable mofos family can be.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
The Jordans may be walking bags of mental atrophy, they can’t touch the psychotic Sawyer family. Drayton Sawyer may be make some kick-ass Texas chili but that one pro is terribly outweighed by that one cannibalism con of his. His other family members don’t help matters much. There’s the sadistic Chop Top, the son who giddily murders while constantly scratching the metal plate in his head with a coat hanger. There’s Grandpa, the elder who stays alive by sipping on human blood when he’s not trying to hit his latest prey with a mallet. There is the rotting dancing (with Chop Top’s help) corpse of Drayton’s other son, known only as The Hitchhiker. There’s the mummified corpse of Grandma resting on a shrine. Drayton’s most popular family member has always been his human skin wearing, chainsaw wielding son, Leatherface. Needless to say, I’d take Uncle Whats-his-nuts and Granddad Goofus as family members over hyper-violent assholes like these any day.