It’s Thanksgiving week, and while I’m thankful there are so many diverse and varied new movies to check out in theaters (including 12 Years a Slave, Philomena, Nebraska, All is Lost, Mother Of George, for another couple days Blue is the Warmest Color, and also second-chances for Blue Jasmine and Lee Daniels’ The Butler over at the Riverview), I’m also thankful there are theaters in town that cater to retrospective screenings. After all, Thanksgiving gives you the chance to reflect and reminisce. In that vein, here are four beloved options to ignite the warming bug of nostalgia … and one unforgettable turkey.
Monday, Nov. 25 & Tuesday, Nov. 26: Planes, Trains and Automobiles (Parkway Theater)
There are hundreds if not thousands of movies vying for the title of the best Christmas movie. There is really only one movie in the running for the title of best Thanksgiving movie. And a great movie it is, too. Steve Martin and John Candy are both at the peak of their comedic prowess in John Hughes’ road movie by way of Martin Scorsese’s After Hours, with Martin brilliantly frazzled as a business man trying to get home to Chicago only to be thwarted at every conceivable turn … from diverted flights to rental car snafus and, much to the chagrin of Martin’s frayed nerves, Candy’s boisterous traveling salesman, who Martin blames for bringing on his string of bad luck. Hughes doesn’t bury his message that you get to choose your family, and there are always those less well off than you. It’s front and center, just surrounded by some of the most hilariously cathartic anger management Martin’s ever displayed.
Wednesday, Nov. 27: Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (Theaters at Mall of America)
With Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues set to do for Will Ferrell’s franchise exactly what Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me did for Mike Myers’, the Mall of America invites you to send off Movember with one of the biggest cult hits of the last decade. Make sure to pack your jazz flute.
Wednesday, Nov. 27: Evilspeak (Trylon Microcinema)
Clint Howard is cast against type as a creepy loser with a malignant side in this tech-geek horror trashterpiece, which predates Videodrome and boasts some of the most ridiculous scenes of e-possession this side of, well, The Lawnmower Man. Howard plays Stanley Coopersmith, a military cadet already in danger of getting fragged before he even graduates. He discovers a library’s worth of black magic and decides to plug the data into his computer geek brain in order to get revenge on his tormentors. Less a brave new world and more a spineless dated mainframe, Evilspeak is a perfect addition to Trash Film Debauchery’s calendar.
Thursday, Nov. 28: Top Hat (Heights Theatre)
Fred Astaire glides on air and Ginger Rogers does it all (yep, backwards and in high heels) in this, one of their two very best on-screen duets. (You can still start fights in some circles by asking people which is the better between this one and Swing Time.) With irresistible numbers like “Cheek to Cheek,” “No Strings (I’m Fancy Free)” and the “Piccolino,” Top Hat is sheer, uncluttered cotton candy.
Friday, Nov. 29 through Sunday, Dec. 1: From Here to Eternity (Trylon Microcinema)
Among the most popular movies of its era, From Here to Eternity climaxes the Trylon theater’s Burt Lancaster retrospective on a soggy, heated, sand-in-every-crevasse, lip-locking high note, though it’s also notably one of the only films in the whole series wherein Lancaster is arguably upstaged by his co-stars: the Oscar-winning Frank Sinatra and Donna Reed, and especially Montgomery Clift’s implosively tragic Private Robert E. Lee Prewitt, maybe the finest moment in the beautiful actor’s entire career.