Talking movies, TV during Thanksgiving
Favorites can vary greatly within family
Greg W. Locke
Over Thanksgiving weekend, my partner, Peanut, and I found ourselves in Colorado, visiting my little sister and her husband. Let’s call them Lizzy and Liam.
The four of us made for a motley holiday crew. Lizzy is a pharmacist who likes crafting and animals, Liam is a physicist who likes off-roading and smoking meat, Peanut is a violinist who likes painting and cooking, and I’m a filmmaker who likes music and basketball (and, obviously, cinema).
Lizzy and Liam have four dogs and two cats, so much of the conversation ended up being about animals. Eventually, after some drinks, we found ourselves, like all modern Americans, talking about what we watch.
Liam’s favorite movie of all-time is The Devil Wears Prada. His all-time favorite series or TV show is Band of Brothers. Great picks, brother-in-law. I like both of those things and I salute you for the variety of picks. Liam seemed a little shy about listing what he called a “chick flick” as his favorite film. I got your back: The Devil Wears Prada is a wonderful movie, regardless of its reductive subgenre classification.
Lizzy’s favorite movie is Forrest Gump and her favorite television show is Downton Abbey. Again, two things I like. Good job, relatives. I have to say, though, that I think Lizzy’s favorite movie is actually The Little Mermaid and she just didn’t want to say that. And her favorite show, most likely, is Game of Thrones, which she knows I don’t have a taste for. What can I say? My lil sister wants to impress big bro.
Peanut, my artsy partner-in-crime, listed Harold and Maude as her favorite movie. (So yes, I am, indeed, with the right girl.) Peanut’s favorite TV show is Parenthood (although I suspect the true answer is probably Grey’s Anatomy). If you’ve not yet seen Parenthood, it’s a good, wholesome hang. I’d also recommend the original Ron Howard film that the show is based on, which, if you haven’t seen it, has aged pretty well. (It even features a very good performance from a very young Joaquin Phoenix.)
When it came my turn to name my favorite film, I couldn’t really commit to just one. When I was younger I’d often say Taxi Driver, which I’m still tempted to say every time the question comes up. Later on, I claimed Pierrot le Fou, and after I saw The Tree of Life I called it my favorite.
If I’m being completely honest, when I look at back on my whole life as a moviegoer, my all-time favorite is probably something like Juice or High Fidelity since those are the comfort movies I turn to when I need a familiar, comfortable escape from reality.
If you’ve not seen Juice, I think it’s a movie that’s aged in some interesting ways, most of which are really positive and borderline profound. It’s a film I loved as a kid and probably appreciate it even more today as a 42-year-old pseudo-adult. Imagine Stand by Me, but it’s five young black guys in a hip-hop-obsessed 1990s New York City. A study of young male friendship entering adulthood (with one of the great modern soundtracks and an incredible NYC backdrop).
My favorite TV show is difficult, but only because there are four that I love dearly, and here they are: The Wire, The Sopranos, Peep Show, and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. (And, of course, there are days where I think Seinfeld is the best anything ever.) Ultimately, when forced to pick just one, I went with The Wire, which actually is quite possibly my favorite anything ever.
If you’ve somehow never seen The Wire, I’d of course highly suggest checking it out. I’ve found that a lot of people find it a very difficult show to get into. You have to really focus and commit to this one. Once you get to episode five or so, it all starts to come together. What I like the most about the show, aside from how brilliantly written and acted it is throughout all five seasons, is the rewatchability. I’ve seen the whole series at least seven times and am still making little connections that work to deepen my experience as an uber-fan of the series.
I love going into people’s houses and seeing their books and film and records and decor. It adds layers and questions. And if they don’t have those things, I love asking them questions, such as, “What’s your all-time favorite TV show?” It’s not so much that I really need to know what they like, but, more so, I want to know what they care about. As suggested by the author Nick Hornby many years ago, it’s the things we love that inform who we are. After the Thanksgiving conversation, I felt that adage quite deeply.