Thanksgiving with the Coens?

lone biker of apocThe e-message this week from the nice folks at Christianity Today included a list of the five best movies on thankfulness. According to Annie Young Frisbee (imagine if she had married into the Boomerang clan) the Coen brothers come in at number five with – drum roll – Raising Arizona. She writes:

An ex-con and an ex-cop kidnap one of the Arizona quintuplets in hopes of creating the family they couldn’t have on their own. On the run from the law and a bunch of outlaws, their journey leads them to be grateful for the joys they have always had.

Raising is a great movie but hardly the warm fuzzy that Ms. Frisbee makes it out to be since the Lone Biker of the Apocalypse is an omen of the killer in No Country for Old Men, and the last line, said by H. I. while overlooking a Thanksgiving Day spread, about a fairer future for him and his beloved, mocks Utah. This means that it concludes with a swipe at the support Mormons gave to family values during those years when Reagan – that “sumbich”– was in the Whitehouse. (Frisbee’s take on Raising may confirm Ken Myers’ clever line that “evangelicalism is making the world safe for Mormonism.”)

For that reason, a better Thanksgiving Day pick may be Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters. Yes, it has its dark moments and Woody’s funny but starting to get old complaints about love and death. But it begins and ends with a sumptuous Thanksgiving Day meal, and it is probably Allen’s most uplifting movie – ever.

The choice for the Harts in 2009, though, is Accidental Tourist, a movie based on the novel by Anne Tyler that is set in Baltimore – a plus for all fans of Machen and Mencken – and features an idiosyncratic family and their methods of cooking turkey. Yum, yum.

2 thoughts on “Thanksgiving with the Coens?

  1. Thanks for reminding me of one of my favorite Woody Allen movies. I’d also submit Ang Lee’s chronicle of post-WASP New England, The Ice Storm, which features a memorably awkward Thanksgiving dinner with the Hood family.


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