20th Century Fox via Everett Collection
In the era of the World Wide Web, the story for Home Alone would go something like this: young Kevin wakes up and realizes that his family is nowhere to be found. Wanting to make sure that they haven't disappeared, he grabs his iPad, checks Buzz's Twitter feed which says, "On the way to the airport. Can't wait to check out Paris babes!" Relieved, Kevin brings up FaceTime to contact his mother and let her know that he was left behind. She takes a cab back to the house, goes onto the airline's website to change their flight and the two of them fly out a short while later to enjoy Christmas. The end.
When British scientist Tim Berners-Lee drew up his proposal in 1989 for what would become the World Wide Web, he was just hoping to share information within the scientific community. Instead, 25 years later the Web has changed daily life for most people in ways that are too numerous to list. The rise of the Web also did something else that wasn't anticipated… it changed movies.
From a practical standpoint, the entertainment industry has taken full advantage of the Web. Every new movie release has a web presence for marketing purposes. Websites like Netflix and Amazon deliver streaming films. There are sites to tell you when movies are playing, that rate them, that show trailers and that sell movies. Thanks to Kickstarter, there are even websites that help finance productions.
What the Web has also done is changed the way that filmmakers have to tell their stories. Besides Home Alone, there are a variety of plot points that had to be abandoned once the Web became an omnipresent part of life. Sam's family in Sixteen Candles wouldn't have forgotten her birthday, because they all would've gotten Facebook reminders. Dr. Richard Kimble doesn’t have to go all over Chicago to find his wife's killer in The Fugitive; he just needs access to Google. Ferris Bueller would've been busted as soon as his parade antics went viral on YouTube. In Sleepless in Seattle, Jonah would've just brought up Annie's profile on the Baltimore Sun website and said "See, she's pretty!" Die Hard basically wouldn't have a plot left… same with My Cousin Vinny and numerous others.
Screenwriters and directors now have to account for the Web (and cell phones), when plotting out their stories. Want to update Romeo & Juliet? Have fun trying to work around the leads not e-mailing, Skyping or texting. Want to remake The Usual Suspects? Better have an answer for why that picture of Keyser Soze isn't available on any law enforcement websites.
Anyone wishing to tell a story with farcical elements has to work harder than ever to create the ruse, because no part of it can hinge on information that is readily available on the Web. If the character could look it up on Wikipedia, it's kind of hard to explain why they wouldn't just do that.
While some have skirted the issue by finding the few corners of the world that technology hasn't reached — think Babel — a number of filmmakers have instead sought solace in the past. Whether it's Ben Affleck with Argo, David O. Russell with American Hustle, Quentin Tarantino with Django Unchained or J.J. Abrams with Super 8, big name directors are opting to tell stories from before the dawn of websites as a way around dealing with the issue. Of the nine Best Picture nominees this year, four were set before 1990… and two of the others took place in the middle of the ocean (Captain Phillips) and in space (Gravity).
Of course, one of the other nominees showed a different path that filmmakers can now explore to tell new and interesting stories. Spike Jonze's Her made technology a character all on its own. Instead of just altering the ways that filmmakers tell stories — and studios produce and market movies — maybe over the next 25 years of its existence the World Wide Web will become a movie star in its own right. Hey, it's not any more farfetched than the various John Hughes plot devices from the '80s that the Web has rendered obsolete.
Stevie Wonder turned his annual holiday benefit into a star-studded affair on Saturday (21Dec13) as he performed his classic double album Songs In The Key Of Life in its entirety, with a little help from the likes of John Mayer and Herbie Hancock. The Superstition legend delighted guests at the House Full of Toys gala by revisiting the 37-year-old album with many of the same bandmembers who had played on the original 1976 release.
Opening the show, he told the crowd, "Truly, I wanted to do this for years... but it felt like it was meant to be right now."
He was joined by a slew of musicians throughout the three-hour-long show, including Mayer on guitar for All Day Sucker, singer India.Arie on Saturn and R&B veteran Joe on tracks like Love's in Need of Love Today.
Wonder also reunited with Hancock for As, and recruited jazz musician Esperanza Spalding to play an upright bass for segments of the gig, which featured a nine-minute-long rendition of Isn't She Lovely, complete with an extended harmonica solo, reports RollingStone.com.
In between songs, the soul icon paid tribute to the late Nelson Mandela and even brought young members of his family onstage to join him in the spotlight.
The string of collaborations took place two days after he teamed up with Bon Jovi rocker Richie Sambora to perform a duet on Silent Night at the 2013 Hollywood Christmas Parade.
The musicians entertained fans with a performance of popular Christmas carol Silent Night as part of the annual holiday event, and the Bon Jovi guitarist couldn't believe his luck.
He says, "It is almost beyond words. He was the guy that I emulated when I was a boy, and he taught me how to sing. It was an honour to meet your teacher. The first thing I did was whisper in his ear, 'I'm sure you get this a lot, but you were my inspiration as a singer.' The first thing he said is (sic), 'You do the first verse!'"
This past Sunday was a hectic night for TV lovers. The conflicting scheduling of the Primetime Emmy awards, the second-to-last episode of Breaking Bad, and the Dexter series finale had many of us performing DVR gymnastics. But — while that was all going on — the soapy British drama Downton Abbey had its UK season premiere. "Oh," friends said when I told them. "Really?"
These are the same friends who used to live and die over Anna and Mr. Bates; ping-pong between loathing and pitying Edith; and gleefully recap every O'Brian and Thomas scheme. The fourth season of Downton Abbey won't hit the US until PBS begins airing it in January. But that extra hiatus should be fanning the buzz, not killing it. Downloaders should already be deconstructing the episode, since pirating a copy means nothing to them. And the fans who are either too sheltered or too scrupulous to do any such thing should be binging on Dowarger Countess YouTube compilations and complaining about the unfairness of it all. Where is everybody?
The UK premiere still pulled in huge numbers, and Downton still racked up 12 2013 Emmy nominations. But the love affair might be over for Americans, or at least a little soured. The third season of the show tested our loyalties and ability to withstand heartbreak. We watch beloved characters die all the time, but with Downton, it was different. We felt emotionally manipulated. Betrayed, even. After last year's Christmas special, I had a few friends indignantly announcing to me that they'd quit. They felt used.
Plot has always been hit or miss, but the romance; Lady Mary's endless parade of fabulous hats; a sexy Irish chauffeur, and the Dowager's unique brand of 1920s shade usually outshined storylines we'd rather forget like, say, Lord Grantham hitting on the maid. But maybe, in addition to the soul-crushing, untimely deaths that we had to deal with, season three made us endure too many boring side stories. Or maybe the American fandom is just lying dormant, waiting to explode in a fervent love fest. We'll have to wait till 2014 to find out.
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Good tidings, good cheer, good will towards men... Christmas has a lot of positives attached to it. A lot of noble qualities, charitable endeavors, attitudes of self-betterment. Christmas is generally when people set aside their vices to opt for a more giving, warm, and down-to-Earth outlook on life. But it's also a time for proving that you are way better than your stupid neighbors.
Yes, the true meaning behind the Christmas season is showmanship: amping up your roof, lawn, and living room with as many elaborate holiday decorations as possible to put all surrounding heathens to shame. Christmas movies throughout the decades have shown us some of the most outlandish pieces of seasonal tribute imaginable — dancing Santas, functioning sleighs, endangered breeds of Evergreen trees. All perfect fodder for channeling the noel spirit... despite demanding a few of those paychecks you meant to spend on things like food and your daughter's college.
But grossly irresponsible spending habits aside, it is unavoidable that we all conform to the competition year after year. The mission to outdo our friends, relatives, and the strangers we avoid whilst walking our dogs in the realm of Christmas decorations. So, for those of you willing to own up to this inevitability, we gift to you some of Hollywood's greatest examples of over-the-top, unreasonably expensive, not-even-remotely-worth-it items for your own winter wonderland.
In this 2005 romantic comedy, hotshot something-or-other Ryan Reynolds returns to his suburban Jersey hometown to reconnect with his old love Amy Smart, whose father (Barry Flatman) just happens to be diametrically obsessed with decorating his house for Christmas.
Animatronic Santa Claus: $838
Reindeer (3): $2,397 ($799 each)
Cypress trees (5): $2,675.80 ($535.16 each)
Decorative candy canes (6): $119.94 ($19.99 each)
Multicolored Christmas lights (thousands): At least $1,360 ($34 per set of 25 lights)
Grand total: $7,390.74
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
The holiday festivities of National Lampoon's Griswold clan sees lovable father Clark vying to give his family the greatest Christmas imaginable, complete with fancy decorations and promise of a swimming pool for the warmer part of the year (which, in Chicago, is that one weekend in July).
Life-size Santa Claus: $185.49
Reindeer (3): $2,397 ($799 each)
Multicolored Christmas lights (thousands): At least $1,360 ($34 per set of 25 lights)
Swimming pool: $23,424.79 (Granted this is not a Christmas decoration, but it's where Clark was allotting most of his income during the holiday season)
Grand total: $27,367.28
Christmas with the Kranks
I'm just going to cut to the chase on this one. Stars Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis actually reveal in the movie that they spent $6,132 on their previous Christmas. So we're just going to go with that.
Grand total: $6,132
Of course, not all lavish cinematic Christmases involve the adornment of roofs and lawns with lights and trees. Some families, the McCallisters for instance, instead opt for exciting vacations... and an unparalleled home security system.
Flight from Chicago to Paris (2 adults, 3 children): $4,991
Sharp Christmas ornaments (14): $41.65 ($5.95 per set of 2 ornaments)
Toy race cars (approximately 100): Approximately $51.03 ($5.67 per set of 12 cars)
Nail: $10.99 (for a good one!)
Bucket of paint/string (2): $123.70 ($61.60 per bucket of paint, $0.05 per 1/4" of rope)
BB Gun: $24.99
When you're trying to blow up a city on Christmas, you always need to keep in mind... actually, no. Let's not do this one. Merry Christmas, everybody.
[Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures; New Line Cinema; Warner Bros]
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Exciting news for fans of drama, romance and British people: Downton Abbey has been renewed for a fourth season!
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the U.K. TV network operator ITV announced Friday that they are saying “Cheerio!” to a new season of the highly-acclaimed hit.
Luckily, this news does not comes as too much of a shock. The beloved period drama just wrapped up their highest rated season early this month on ITV1. Worried you missed it? Don't be! It only aired across the pond.
Downton Abbey executive producer Gareth Neame said, “Viewers can look forward to more drama, comedy, love, hatred, jealousy, rivalry, ambition, despair and romance” when the series returns next year. Production for the fourth season—which will feature eight episodes and a Christmas special—will begin February, 2013.
The highly-anticipated third season of Downton Abbey premieres in the U.S. on January 6 on PBS.
Are you happy a new Downton Abbey season will (eventually) hit your TV screens? Can’t wait for season three to finally premiere? Tell us your noble thoughts in the comments below!
Follow Leanne on Twitter @LeanneAguilera
[Photo Credit: PBS]
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Every beloved holiday has its respective figure of staunch opposition. Christmas has the Grinch. Valentine’s Day has Liz Lemon. Halloween has that parent who always makes a scene at the PTA meetings. And Thanksgiving has the collective forces of Hollywood.
While you might scoff at the accusation between bites of tofurkey and spoonfuls of mashed fauxtatoes (what, did you guys not grow up in an orthodox vegan household?), think about every Thanksgiving-themed movie or television show you’ve ever seen. Think about the coming together of the families, the preparation of the meals, the sacrosanct tradition of reciting psalms the Book of Pilgrim (seriously? not that either? what kind of heathens raised you?) — no matter what the course of action depicted in a Thanksgiving film or TV episode, it indubitably goes awry. No onscreen Turkey Day has ever amounted to the pleasant celebration of gratitude it’s “supposed” to be.
It’s hard to say why, exactly, this phenomenon has come into play — we understand perfectly the rationale behind the respected hatreds of the abovementioned holidays (anti-materialism; the subjugation of women; fun is evil), but why Thanksgiving? Why has Hollywood taken such a consistently harsh jab at the November commemoration?
One way to get to the bottom of this is simply by sorting through historical examples of the big and small screens’ castigation of Thanksgiving glory — to look at the very worst Thanksgivings in pop culture history. And since you’re probably tuckered out from the annual holiday practice of reenacting the first Wampanoag-Presbyterian wedding (you’ve got to be kidding me — what do you guys do?!), we’ve done the hard part for you. So there they are — the worst pop culture Thanksgivings, and the lessons they have each taught us about why this is truly the worst holiday to grace our planet of Glorpax… reading all this over, I think I might be in a cult.
Hannah and Her Sisters
The dreaded coming together of families… almost as horrifying as the tearing apart of families. Both are adequately chronicled in Woody Allen’s 1986 drama Hannah and Her Sisters, which kicks off at a Thanksgiving dinner that incites the destruction of the title character’s marriage.
Why this Thanksgiving is horrible: To be betrayed by Michael Caine… is there no fate crueler?
Each one of them alone on Thanksgiving, the cast of Cheers gathers for a resentful, underwhelming holiday meal in this Season 5 episode, “Thanksgiving Orphans.”
Why this Thanksgiving is horrible: Sometimes, being lonely with other lonely people is even worse than being lonely by yourself.
Son In Law
There’s always a bit of anxiety to be expected when a newcomer interlopes your Thanksgiving tradition. Son In Law’s newcomer is Pauly Shore, which replaces anxiety with all-out homicidal compulsions.
Why this Thanksgiving is horrible: Pauly Shore, people. Pauly Shore.
Even when your Thanksgiving interloper isn’t Pauly Shore, he or she can muster some decadent results. When Dexter Morgan invites himself to the holiday feast of his hotly pursued Trinity Killer (John Lithgow) in this memorable Season 4 episode, family tensions are brought to a boiling point.
Why this Thanksgiving is horrible: We all have unpleasant family secrets that will indelibly come to the surface at dinners like these. You know, like your dad being a serial killer.
The Family Stone
The only thing worse than your own family is somebody else’s. This 2005 dramedy amps up the anxiety when Sarah Jessica Parker and Claire Danes play a pair of sisters welcomed into the unfamiliar home of the titular clan, a breed unlike that to which they are so rigidly accustomed.
Why this Thanksgiving is horrible: Other people are different, and that’s weird.
Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving
It’s probably a good thing that Eli Roth’s trailer for the slasher film Thanksgiving never actually amounted to a full movie. Hollywood has infused the holiday with enough rage without going full-on axe-crazy.
Why this Thanksgiving is horrible: That ghastly parade that blocks up traffic all day. Also, the murders.
So as you can see, Hollywood clearly has a vendetta against Thanksgiving. Family unions, relationships, newcomers, secrets all get some pretty rough treatment. So who is it, then, at the top of the showbiz pyramid that is controlling this output of negative Thanksgiving material? What sort of Chandler Bing-like trauma occurred in this person's life to sway him or her against the holiday forever, and thus forth inject such a horrible connotation into the minds of the viewing public? Whoever it is, this person has clearly been working tirelessly for the past few decades. But fear not — there's no amount of Thanksgiving malice that can rob the world from the so-close-you-can-taste-it Christmas glory. Those movies are all magic, so get all the hate out of your system this weekend, people. The joy approacheth.
[Photo Credit: Fox Pictures]
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The Thanksgiving holiday is typically a huge one for the nation's theaters and this year is no exception and... a potential record-breaker.
An unexpected boost on Thanksgiving day may have come in the form of early bird shoppers (and potential moviegoers) descending upon shopping malls (most of which have movie theaters anchoring them) that offered up extended "Black Thursday" shopping hours.
With The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2 leading the way the industry may have a chance to beat 2009's best ever Turkey day holiday frame and its $273 million five-day (Wednesday through Sunday) total.
The first indication of this was the overall Wednesday gross of around $44.6 million (the Wednesday before T-day in record '09 was $41.4M) which was about 23% ahead of the pre-Thanksgiving Thursday last year.
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The continued strength of Summit's Breaking Dawn, Part 2 and a nearly $13 million take for the day was was supplemented by fellow holdovers including Sony's Skyfall with nearly $7.5 million, Disney's Lincoln with $4.21 million and the debuts of Paramount's release of Dreamworks animated Rise of the Guardians with $4.85 million, FilmDistrict's Red Dawn with $4.2 million and Fox's Life of Pi in 3-D with $3.675 million. Here is the Wednesday breakdown:
Top Movies for Wed., Nov. 21 1. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2 (Lionsgate) - $12.8 million/$175.5 million to date (Unofficial) 2. Skyfall (Sony) - $7.4 million/$178 million to date (Unofficial) 3. Rise of the Guardians (Paramount) - $4.85 million (Unofficial) 4. Lincoln (Disney) $4.21 million/$32.291 million to date (Official as reported by Disney) 5. Red Dawn (Film District) $4.2 million (Unofficial) 6. Wreck-It Ralph (Disney) - $3.746 million/$130.248 million (Official as reported by Disney) 7. Life of Pi (Fox) - $3.675 million (Official as reported by Fox) 8. Flight (Paramount) - $1.272 million/$64.8 million to date (Unofficial) 9. Silver Linings Playbook (Weinstein Co.) - $656,000/$1.205 million to date (Official as reported by Weinstein Co.) 10. Argo (Warner Bros.) - $600,000/$93.604 million to date (Official as reported by Warner Bros.)
Thursday reflected particularly solid movie-going with a near 27% increase over Thanksgiving Thursday in 2011 with over $38 million (T-day in record '09 was $41.0M) in box office generated for the day.
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Here is the Thursday breakdown:
Top Movies for Thu., Nov. 22 1. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2 (Lionsgate) - $8.0 million/$183.9 million to date (Unofficial) 2. Skyfall (Sony) - $7.7 million/$185.7 million to date (Unofficial) 3. Lincoln (Disney) $4.867 million/$37.157 million to date (Official as reported by Disney) 4. Life of Pi (Fox) - $4.525 million/$8.2 million to date (Official as reported by Fox) 5. Rise of the Guardians (Paramount) - $3.7 million/$8.6 million to date (Unofficial) 6. Red Dawn (Film District) $3.27 million/$7.5 million to date(Unofficial) 7. Wreck-It Ralph (Disney) - $2.504 million/$132.752 million (Official as reported by Disney) 8. Flight (Paramount) - $1.48 million/$66.3 million to date (Unofficial) 9. Argo (Warner Bros.) - $635,000/$94.239 million to adte (Official as reported by Warner Bros.) 10. Silver Linings Playbook (Weinstein Co.) - $610,000/$1.8 million to date (Unofficial)
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Here are the Top Ranking Thanksgiving Holiday Frames of all-time: HOLLYWOOD.COM BOX-OFFICE - TOP THANKSGIVING 5-DAY FRAMES SORTED BY TOTAL 5-DAY GROSS FOR ALL FILMS Rank - Start Date - Total Overall Gross For All Films - Top Films (may include openers & Hold-overs) 1 Wed, 11/25/09 $273,000,000 New Moon, The Blind Side, 2012, Old Dogs, X-mas Carol 2 Wed, 11/24/10 $264,000,000 Harry Potter 7, Part 1, Tangled, Megamind, Unstoppable 3 Wed, 11/22/00 $244,400,000 Grinch, Unbreakable, 102 Dalmatians, Rugrats in Paris 4 Wed, 11/26/08 $234,000,000 Four Christmases, Twilight, Bolt, Quantum Of Solace 5 Wed, 11/23/05 $233,800,000 Harry Potter 4, Walk the Line, Yours, Mine & Ours 6 Wed, 11/23/11 $232,000,000 Breaking Dawn, Muppets, Happy Feet 2, Arthur X-mas 7 Wed, 11/21/07 $228,000,000 Enchanted, This Christmas, Beowulf, Hitman, Bee Movie 8 Wed, 11/24/99 $225,500,000 Toy Story 2, World is Not Enough, End of Days 9 Wed, 11/22/06 $225,000,000 Happy Feet, Casino Royale, Déjà Vu, Deck the Halls 10 Wed, 11/24/04 $224,700,000 National Treasure, The Incredibles, X-mas With Kranks 11 Wed, 11/26/03 $221,500,000 Cat in the Hat, Haunted Mansion, Elf, Gothika 12 Wed, 11/21/01 $210,900,000 Harry Potter 1, Monster's, Inc., Spy Game 13 Wed, 11/27/02 $208,600,000 Harry Potter 2, Die Another Day, Santa Clause 2
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The Simpsons have Halloween, The Office claimed Christmas, and for ten wonderful seasons, Friends had the market cornered on classic Thanksgiving episodes. While the last Thanksgiving-themed episode of Friends aired exactly nine years ago, watching the reruns in syndication has become just as much a Turkey Day tradition as making the canned cranberry sauce jiggle and killing a perfect stranger for a Blu-ray player.
The Thanksgiving episodes of the hit comedy are as comforting as a leftover turkey sandwich with a moist-maker in the middle, and just as funny now as they were when they originally aired. (Mid to late '90s fashion aside, Friends is one of the rare syndication sitcoms that has aged well.) Everyone has their favorite Thanksgiving episode of Friends, but, there's no need to argue (save that for the dinner table), we've ranked the best episodes for you! Because while we'll all gather with our loved ones this Thursday, is there anyone better to spend your Thanksgiving with than Courteney Cox's Monica, Matthew Perry's Chandler, Lisa Kudrow's Phoebe, Matt LeBlanc's Joey, Jennifer Aniston's Rachel, and David Schwimmer's Ross? Could we be any more nostalgic? So slap on a pair of Phoebe's pregnancy pants, avoid the Mocklate, and enjoy.
The Best Friends Thanksgiving Episodes In Order:
1. "The One Where Ross Got High" (Season 6, originally aired on November 25, 1999)
It's no coincidence that the best Thanksgiving episode of Friends aired during one of the show's strongest seasons. (Season 6 was the year of Unagi, Chandler's proposal, and "the routine", among other gems.) When Monica and Ross' parents Jack and Judy (the great Elliot Gould and Christina Pickles) come to have Thanksgiving at their little Harmonica's, everything falls spectacularly apart for everyone. Monica tries to conceal her relationship with her live-in boyfriend Chandler from her parents, who have lived under the false pretense that he's a stoner. It turns out that in college, Ross lied to his parents about his own pot use and blamed it on his then-roommate Chandler when that distinct smell was not concealable. The whole thing escalates into the Geller siblings hilariously ratting each other out about a series of incidents ("Hurricane Gloria didn't break the porch swing, Monica did!"..."Ross married Rachel in Vegas, and got divorced, AGAIN!"), culminating in the revelation that Monica is living with Chandler. Meanwhile, Phoebe was having sex dreams about Jack Geller/Jacques Costeau, while Joey was desperate to leave and spend Thanksgiving with his hot dancer roommate Janine. Of course, the real pièce de résistance of Rachel's horrendously failed attempt at making a trifle when she mistakenly adds a layer of beef to her dessert. In the words of Joey, "I mean, what's not to like? Custard, good. Jam, good. Meat, good!"
2. "The One With the Football" (Season 3, originally aired on November 21, 1996)
This is the episode in which fans realized that Friends Thanksgiving episodes were going to be just as an important holiday tradition as the coveted Geller Cup during a rousing game of football. When the gang goes outside to play a "friendly" game of football, things get competitive on and off the field as Joey and Chandler compete for the affections of the same Dutch girl, while Rachel tries to prove her worth after being the last picked for teams. Maybe it's because it's so great to see the cast still dressed like regular people, or the fact that any time Ross and Monica have intense sibling rivalry is always a victory (see: "The One Where Ross Got High"), but whatever it is, this Thanksgiving episode had a winning recipe.
3. "The One With Chandler in a Box" (Season 4, originally aired on November 20, 1997)
The original d**k in a box, Chandler was forced to face the consequences of his actions after it was revealed that he kissed Joey's girlfriend Kathy. As punishment, Joey makes Chandler spend Thanksgiving in a big wooden box. Why exactly? Well, let's let Chandler explain: "The meaning of the box is threefold. One, it gives me the time to think about what I did. Two, it proves how much I care about my friendship with Joey. And three... it hurts!" While Joey and Chandler eventually patched things up, Monica (eyepatch and all) had to come to terms with her own romantic grey areas when she realized that kissing her ex-boyfriend's son is plain wrong.
4. "The One With All the Thanksgivings" (Season 5, originally aired on November 19, 1998)
Flashback episodes are tricky business, but Friends always pulled them off with flying colors. Season 5's "The One With All The Thanksgivings" was as memorable as the Season 2 game changer "The One With the Prom Video," but relied less on sentimentality and more on sight gags. Once again we're reunited with Fat Monica and Pre-Nose Job Rachel, but this time around we also meet Newly Skinny Monica, plus Flock of Seagulls and Miami Vice-inspired Ross and Chandler. Over the course of two Thanksgiving tales we learn that Monica shed all those pounds after Chandler called her fat and, perhaps in unconscious retaliation, she accidentally cut off the nub of Chandler's baby toe. But, really, who cares about character development? This is the one where Joey gets a turkey stuck on his head!
5. "The One With the Rumor" (Season 8, originally aired on November 22, 2001)
This one should really be called "The One With Brad Pitt," because let's be honest, that's what everybody calls it. Before Team Jennifer Aniston madness took over our lives, the then-married couple had one of the best cameos on television. Pitt played Will, an old friend of Monica and Ross', who spends Thanksgiving with the gang. Will, like Ross and Monica, spent high school nerdy and fat, respectively, and was tortured back in the day by the very popular Rachel. In fact, Will hated Rachel so much that he started the "I Hate Rachel Club," spawning a school-spanning rumor that she was a hermaphrodite. While at the time it was much funnier to watch Pitt mouth "I hate you" to his then-wife Aniston (it's a little sadder now) the episode still holds up, if only to watch Phoebe throw herself at Will, and Joey's (wearing Phoebe's maternity pants, no less) declaration, "You can't have Thanksgiving without turkey. That's like 4th of July without apple pie, or Friday with no two pizzas."
6. "The One Where Chandler Doesn't Like Dogs" (Season 7, originally aired on November 23, 2000)
Oh man, Tag was dreamy, wasn't he? No wonder why Rachel invited him over for Thanksgiving dinner. Not only did Tag find out that Rachel had a crush on him (the two eventually kissed by the end of the episode and started their relatively short-lived relationship), but we found out that Chandler hates dogs (even Phoebe's adorable borrowed pup Clunkers) and that Ross hates ice cream ("It hurts my teeth!") and can't name all 50 states. Plus, it had one of the greatest Joey-isms of all-time: his definition of a "moo point."
7. "The One Where Underdog Gets Away" (Season 1, originally aired on November 14, 1994)
The one that started them all, "The One Where Underdog Gets Away" was the original Friends Thanksgiving episode and it set the scene for the others to come. Not only do we learn about Chandler's anti-Thanksgiving affliction (it reminds him of his parents' divorce), but that Monica will always be the cook, sometimes with disastrous results. (This time the gang accidentally gets locked out of the apartment while the food, which Monica has prepared to their exact specifications, is cooking.) Of course, the only funnier sight than an Underdog float flying away from the Macy's Thanksgiving parade, or Ugly Naked Guy sharing a Thanksgiving feast with Ugly Naked Girl, is poor Joey's face plastered all over VD posters throughout Manhattan. We'll always cheer to this episode's toast: "Here's a lousy Christmas... and a crappy New Year!"
8. "The One With Rachel's Other Sister" (Season 9, originally aired on November 21, 2002)
While Brad Pitt's cameo was a ratings grabber, it didn't get quite the same critical love as Christina Applegate did with her Emmy-winning role as Rachel's conceited sister Amy. Applegate made her first appearance in this episode, crashing the gang's Thanksgiving without an invite. While the Greens' sibling rivalries are more mean-spirited than the Gellers', the episode doesn't have the same lasting effect as Monica vs. Ross Thanksgiving eps. Still, there were a few things to be thankful for here, including Chandler accidentally breaking all of Monica's fancy dishes, and Joey's wide-eyed freakout realization that he was supposed to be on the Days of Our Lives float in the parade.
9. "The One With the Late Thanksgiving" (Season 10, originally aired on November 20, 2003)
Much like "The One Where Underdog Gets Away," this episode was about a comedy of Thanksgiving preparation errors. When Monica reluctantly agreed to make dinner for everyone after they all pleaded with her (or, in the case of Phoebe, challenged her)to do so, she became understandably peeved when everyone shows up late. The only thing lamer than their excuses (Rachel entering daughter Emma in a beauty pageant was about as unappealing as a plate of Brussels sprouts) was the very schlocky moment at the end when Monica and Chandler find out they are getting a baby through the adoption agency. Still, the whole thing was redeemed by Joey's floating head stuck in the doorway and his addition of fire to Rock, Paper, Scissors.
10. "The One With the List" (Season 2, originally aired on November 16, 1995)
This wasn't a bad episode of Friends by any means, but as far as Thanksgiving episodes of the series go, this one was a bust. Maybe that's because instead of Monica making turkey she was making Mocklate, and Ross and Rachel — sorry, Rachem — were having their first of many fights instead of engaging in wacky Thanksgiving misadventures. I hate to complain ("Oh, I know, this must be so hard. 'Oh no, two women love me. They're both gorgeous and sexy. My wallet's too small for my fifties, and my diamond shoes are too tight!'"), but this one's the rare missed opportunity.
How would you rank the Friends Thanksgiving episodes?
[Photo credit: NBC]
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Like the smell of pine trees and those harrowing calls of desperation emitted by Toys 'R' Us, holiday movies are going to be everywhere as soon as you retighten your belt after Thanksgiving dinner. But that doesn't mean every Christmas movie is for everyone (and sorry, Jews, there just aren't any movies for you). Everyone has their favorite, and everyone's favorite tells us exactly what sort of psychological problems they might have. It's like a Rorschach test, but with multicolored lights!
A Christmas Story
Your wife and kids just don't get you. You spend a lot of time in your garage pretending like you're fixing things, but mostly, you're just playing Words with Friends with that hot girl from accounting who you bet you could bone if you get her drunk enough at the office Christmas party. You're too much of pu**y to actually cheat on your wife, but you just want to think you still have it. You've been arrested for something you've done on a dare. You get upset when people swear in front of your kids.
You don't buy presents. You don't really do Christmas, even though everyone who comes into your job at a big box store (or maybe the Post Office or FedEx/Kinkos) is always going on about it. Your last girlfriend left you because you wore jeans and a baseball cap to her sister's wedding. You own a bong. It has a name. There is at least one bag of chips under your bed. You've accidentally downloaded a virus trying to pirate movies (only some of the adult variety). Once a year, you catch a glimpse of Holiday in Handcuffs when shutting off the XBox, and you watch the whole thing and weep and weep and weep.
It's a Wonderful Life
Now that all of your kids are out of the house, you had to turn one of their rooms into a guest room, because at least once a month your friends come over and drink too much Pinot to drive home safely. You'd get thrown out of the country club if they could catch you breaking the rules. Now that you're retired, you spend most of your time working on projects around the house, like building a shed in the backyard based off plans you downloaded from the Internet, or installing a water feature because you saw it on HGTV. You still own VHS tapes and buy things from catalogs. You took the Apple store class on the iPad and now you teach your kids how to use theirs.
Muppet's Christmas Carol
Remember when you were a kid? Sure you do, because BuzzFeed has a whole vertical dedicated to recycling and reminding you of every scrap of your childhood on a loop: Lisa Frank, Nickelodeon, Gak, Ecto Cooler, Pete & Pete, Spice Girls, Saved by the Bell, Goosebumps, slap bracelets! YouTube is nothing but your time capsule. You love it when two stars from your favorite TV shows have a "reunion" on one of their new shows. Your roommate hates it when you pass out in your bed with the lights and your clothes on, but this happens at least once a week. Tequila shots are usually to blame. No one would call you a slut, but you are very friendly.
How's Brooklyn? Oh, I bet you love it. There's so much room for your bike and your thrift store clothes and computer that you stole from your old job (as far as you're concerned, they never really asked for it back, so it's not really stealing). You were vegan for a few weeks in college until you found out that Jell-O has, like, horse bits in it, and then you were like, "Screw it," and now you're a ovo-lacto-vegetarian who has fish only when your parents come to town and take you out someplace nice. Occupy Wall Street was a little hardcore for you, but you tell people you were there even though you just swung through one afternoon with your friends and drink beer out of paper bags. You tell everyone your favorite band is something they've never heard of before, but the most played artist on your iTunes is Rihanna. Cat, which is your cat's name, would hate that. You have a mustache. Yes, even if you're a girl.
Miracle on 34th Street
You're either an old lady who lives in a nursing home and has a nice boyfriend named Abe or a weird, precocious child who hopes to one day be the inspiration of a Ryan Murphy sitcom. Preferably not one with singing.
Nightmare Before Christmas
The Chik-Fil-A boycott was the best thing to ever happen to you because you finally lost those 20 pounds and now you can stop shopping at Torrid and go to the real Hot Topic... like a normal person. Even if you're not "goth" or "emo," you have a propensity for dark clothing, too much makeup, and Amanda Palmer albums. Regardless of your gender or sexual orientation, at one time you had a crush on Pete Wentz. You think that Kristen Stewart is misunderstood and people often tell you that you look just like her. Either that or a Garbage Pail Kid. You probably don't know what that is, but that's okay. Just go to the Orange Julius and leave the rest of us alone.
The Santa Clause
Dad, I told you to stop reading my articles.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
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We're but four days away from the official start of the holiday season shopping madness bonanza palooza hullaboo greed orgy that is Black Friday. And while life would be exponentially easier for everyone if Oprah got us all of our presents, alas, we must join the frenzied masses and risk life and limb for a Furby. (They're back, haven't you heard?)
But, as it turns out, the only thing tougher than trying to figure out what your Secret Santa would want for Christmas, is trying to figure out what your favorite characters on television would buy each other if they too did Secret Santa — or Pollyanna or White Elephant or Yankee Swamp, depending on the region. So while we can't do your holiday shopping for you or hold your place in line at the Apple store, we can come up with what your favorite TV characters would buy each other. It's the gift that keeps on giving! Well, until next season.
Don Draper from Mad Men has....Jessica Day from New Girl...and gives her....absolutely anything from the 1960s. It's vintage!
Kalinda Sharma from The Good Wife has....American Horror Story's Dr. Arthur Arden....and gets him... Fifty Shades of Grey, of course. ::Shudder::
Donna Meagle from Parks and Recreation has....Mad Men's Don Draper...and gets him... what every man desires, a night with Donna Meagle. Eat your heart out, Jean Ralphio.
Walter White Jr. from Breaking Bad has....Carl Grimes from The Walking Dead...and gives him...a Christmas card that reads, 'Dads, amiright?!"
Brad Williams from Happy Endings has...Walter White Jr. from Breaking Bad...and gets him....a gourmet breakfast, complete with international papaya smoothie. Splash!
Jessica Day from New Girl has...Juliette Barnes from Nashville...and gives her...a brand new set of assorted nail polishes, and co-writes her a new jingle on her ukulele called "Stealing is Bad."
Carl Grimes from The Walking Dead has...Elena Gilbert from The Vampire Diaries and gives her...not a goddamn thing. Are you kidding? The kid is stuck in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, leaving not much time to holiday shop for a vampire.
Robin Scherbatsky from How I Met Your Mother has...Nicholas Brody from Homeland...and gives him...only Canadian presents like a Maple Leafs jersey and a Justin Bieber cd. No American-made products for that traitor!
Will McAvoy from The Newsroom has....Robin Scherbatsky from How I Met Your Mother...and gives her...a stern talking to about media and a tutorial on how women send emails.
Nicholas Brody from Homeland has.... Donna Meagle from Parks and Recreation...and gives her...a series of ginger-themed body scrubs and essential oils. Treat yo self, Donna Meagle! Just maybe be aware that the FBI could be tracking you now.
Will Schuester from Glee has.... Brad Williams from Happy Endings...and gives him....an impromptu rap and dance session he most certainly didn't ask for. (No, you can't join Boys II Menorah, Will!)
Elena Gilbert from The Vampire Diaries has.... Kalinda Sharma from The Good Wife...and gives her...an actual diary. It's time to bottle some of that noise.
Juliette Barnes from Nashville has....Will McAvoy from The Newsroom...and gives him...a fully loaded iPad and iPod (complete with her tunes, obviously.) Get with the times, you old grump!
Dr. Arthur Arden from American Horror Story has....Will Schuester from Glee/the Ryan Murphy universe and gives him...hopefully, a one-way ticket to Briarcliff.
Happy holidays, fictitious friends! Which characters do you think would buy each other the best Secret Santa gifts?
[Photo credit: AMC]
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