Friday, December 25, 2009

The Family Stone and My Christmas Movie Lineup

Last night, me and my friends had a little Christmas celebration.  A little shopping with Jacqueline and Cole, we set out to make an amazing Chicken Posole.  (More on that Sunday). 

This Christmas season has been a busy one.  As I’ve committed myself to a social life, a dating life, a work life, rehearsals, and the goal to write every day, I’ve found myself with no time to sit back and relax with any Christmas movies.  That was until last night. 

TheFamilyStone After dinner, Serenity and Emily joined us as we watched The Family Stone.  It was the first time we’d all been together in far too long.  We crowded into my room and gathered round the television.  As Jacqueline worked on Serenity’s nails, Cole, Emily, and I plopped down on my bed and got comfortable. 

(No platonic cuddling was involved.  We’re just not cool with that). 

Being the one Christmas movie I’d decidedly set a goal to see this year, I had some pretty high expectations and the film delivered.  It immediately struck me as something authentic.  None of the characters seemed over the top.  Their decisions, though sometimes impulsive, make sense.  And finally, the relationships between the characters help us understand them and why they are each the individuals that they are.

Here are 5 great scenes:

1. Playing Charades

image Sarah Jessica Parker’s character, Meredith finds herself humiliated in front of her potential future family with an impossible charades clue. 

Everyone needs to be initiated with embarrassment.  That’s the case with my group of friends.  Each one of us has at least one. 

2. Making Dinner


Feeling the outsider, conservative Meredith finally connects with someone—Brian, her potential brother-in-law’s partner.  Brian’s one of the only outsiders who’s managed to make it into the stone family.  At one time or another, we’ve all been an outsider.  It’s truly tender when he recognizes that and offers his help.

3. Nature vs. Nurture


Meredith upsets her boyfriend’s mother Sybil when she asks why any parent would want a gay child.

Meredith (following five minutes rambling on the subject and rising tension in the room) says. “I just think any parent would want a normal child.”

“Goddammit!” Sybil shouts to stop her from hurting everyone more.

Everyone is important.  Everyone has challenges.  And parents love their children regardless of what those challenges might be.

4. The Present


Thoughtful gifts can bring people together.  This photo of Sybil comes to symbolize the Stone’s love for each other.

5. The Ending


As Cole pointed out (in the fashion of Jeremy Denk), the last scene’s soundtrack is elegantly simple.  Three notes are repeated over and over again as it becomes clear that people are what bring families together and that unconditional love is what provides us the only reliable foundation for the future. 



Merry Christmas!



Here are a few of my other Christmas favorites:

Love Actually
A Christmas Story
It’s a Wonderful Life
Muppet Christmas Carol
Home Alone (I prefer the second)
White Christmas
Holiday Inn


Andy said...

I love "The Family Stone"! It's one of the best Christmas films. Like you said, I like how authenticate things feel. Diane Keaton is a favorite actress of mine, and I think she does a great job portraying a mother who has such a crazy family! My favorite scene is the dinner conversation. It makes me feel so awkward, so ashamed, so's a great moment and adds so much to the story. Anyway, now...I'm rambling. The End.

Rob said...

The Bishop's Wife (original version with Cary Grant, Loretta Young and David Niven) is one of the most underappreciated classic Christmas movies of all time. Highly recommended to add to your list.

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