Every family has its own traditions during the holiday season. Somehow embracing the yearly rituals gives everyone a sense that all is right with the world and a cozy feeling of security comes from repeating traditions year after year. Although I don’t consider myself very traditional in the classic sense of the word, I do recognize that over the years, without being aware of it, traditions emerged.
Thanksgiving is one holiday that has suffered much controversy. Issues ranging from what is being served, how it is prepared, who sitting at the kids’ table or the yearly argument about the pro and cons of canned cranberry sauce pepper the atmosphere, regardless of how hard you try to keep the peace. The very history of the holiday is questioned by some for all its social implications. There are even those that choose to boycott the holiday for political reasons or simply because they have a hard time getting along with their families. (Or perhaps they use the former as an excuse for the latter.)
That’s why in my family we come together each Thanksgiving in a spirit of agreement after discovering what works best for us. In general we all like to watch a movie after Thanksgiving dinner since we don’t follow sports. Years ago we discovered that while it may be difficult to all agree on what is good, most people can agree on what is bad. So each year after dinner we watch our annual collection of what we call Thanksgiving Turkeys.
What is a Thanksgiving Turkey? Simply put, it’s a painfully bad film. But it’s more than that. It’s bad on such a level that it provides a certain amount of entertainment. It’s so bad it’s good. It’s that little taste of bitterness you need after the three kinds of pie you just ate. It’s that thing you watch as the tryptophan coma lulls you in and out of consciousness and makes you ask, “Did I really just see that?” It’s also the perfect device to motivate those guests that don’t seem to be leaving anytime soon or to inspire help in the kitchen. A Twilight Zone marathon would be considered child’s play in our home.
Some of the turkeys from Thanksgivings past have included: Mannequin with Andrew McCarthy and Kim Cattrall, The Pirate Movie with Christy MacNichol and a real doozy, Goin’ Coconuts with Donny and Marie Osmond. You Light Up My Life and Ice Castles were other memorable turkeys.
The great things about turkeys is that there is always a plethora of choices but due to some time constraints, two or three movies is really the limit. This year with the aid of some clever Facebook friends we came up with this year’s list. While some suggestions were really great, there is always a problem in actually locating the films. I had wanted to see Liz Taylor in There Must A Pony. It would have a beautiful companion piece to the highly anticipated Lifetime Movie event Liz and Dick. I may have to put that one on my turkey of Thanksgiving futures wish list.
Here are winning selections for this year’s Thanksgiving Turkeys:
- So Fine starring Ryan O’Neal
- Rabbit Test starring Billy Crystal, directed by Joan Rivers
- All Night Long starring Barbra Streisand and Gene Hackman
All of these films were found only on VHS tape, which I think adds a bit of pluck to the turkey. While I’m sure that I’ll be roasted for saying so, in many cases I actually love some of these films. Either they take me back to a time I’d like to remember or remember a time that I like to forget . Or sometimes they are so bizarre, I admire them for their unique strangeness. Most of all, I just enjoy sharing these gems with my family and friends or whoever else can take it.