If you want to avoid the inevitable election conversation this Thanksgiving, perhaps a movie might be the ticket. Fortunately, you have some good choices. For the adults in the room who want to avoid the Elephant in the room I highly recommend “Rules Don’t Apply”, the first offering written, directed by Warren Beatty, who also stars in it as the reclusive Howard Hughes. He’s set the film in the late 50’s so the dates and names have been fiddled with, and he’s assembled a wonderful cast including Alden Ehrenreich (as studio driver, then Hughes confidant, Frank Forbes), a young man new in the Hollywood of 1958, from a religious upbringing and engaged to be married; and Lily Collins, (Phil Collins’ daughter, a cross between a young Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn) as Marla Mabrey, a virginal contract actress, arriving in Hollywood with her strict mother (Annette Bening, wonderful as always). Beatty has devised a wacky, often hilarious, script with magnificent period production visuals to capture the mores of the 50’s but with an eye to the timelessness of the human experience, especially for those young lovers coming of age.
My GPA: 4.0
If it’s a family outing to the movies, Disney offers “Moana”, an animated musical that brings magical South Pacific Mythology to the big screen with magnificent visuals. Moana (played by a talented 16 year old, Auli’i Carvalho) is the name of the young heroine who is tasked to bring order to her world, following the advice of her beloved Grandmother. She must find the legendary Maui (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as her reluctant complicated companion) to convince him to correct an injustice he’s committed against the order of their universe. I’m always amazed at how the Disney animators top themselves with each new offering. Lin-Manuel Miranda (with Mark Mancina and Opetaia Foaʻi) provides some “Hamilton” star power writing some of the music and lyrics, though you won’t won’t necessarily leave the theater humming them. Of course, once the kiddies download the soundtrack, you probably won’t be able to get them out of your head (“Let it Go”?). The Eco message inherent in the story makes “Moana” a timely offering as well, reminding us to pay attention to preserving the planet for future generations by telling a winning story for the whole family.
My GPA: 3.5