Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Thanksgiving Traditions

Well, Halloween is over. That means it's time to start preparing for St. Patrick's Day. Okay, it's true that there are a few holidays between now and then - Winter Solstice, Boxing Day, Super Bowl Sunday. And before any of those we have to make it through Thanksgiving.

As far as i'm concerned there are only two traditions associated with this holiday worth following. The first is "Alice's Restaurant." At some point in the day i have to listen to Arlo Guthrie's wonderful and funny tune, "Alice's Restaurant." All eighteen minutes and thirty-seven seconds of it, without interruptions.

I think i picked up on this tradition back in the 1980s from a then-new radio station in Boston - WZLX. That station was the best back then. Not so anymore. But back in the day, they would play "Alice's Restaurant" multiple times throughout Thanksgiving. And then i bought the album on cassette.

For those who are unfamiliar with the song... Well, it's hard to imagine someone being unfamiliar with "Alice's Restaurant." Though i suppose maybe you've been chained in a basement for several decades or something. Anyway, the song tells the tale of... Well, actually it's best to let Arlo Guthrie tell it. He's a great storyteller, and a good part of the enjoyment of the song is in his inflections, his tone, his rhythm. Just go buy the bloody album, okay?

The second Thanksgiving tradition that i adhere to is watching Home For The Holidays. Jodie Foster directed it, and it stars Holly Hunter, Robert Downey Jr., Anne Bancroft, Charles Durning, Cynthia Stevenson and Geraldine Chaplin (Geraldine is particularly good in it).

Why is it that this movie seems like the most honest depiction of a family at the holidays? Is it because everyone is a bit mad, and they can barely hold it together? Perhaps. But there is also a lot of love (but that love doesn't miraculously solve all issues).

It's an excellent film. There is only one scene that i would cut out. It's when some rich woman that Holly Hunter knew in high school pulls up alongside her. The woman has an incredible fox coat, but the scene is seriously contrived and doesn't work for many reasons. Other than that, this film is great.

And that's all for Thanksgiving traditions.

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