This is that special time of year when lots of us get to see family members we haven't seen since about this time last year. In a few cases, it's been a number of years since we laid eyes on some of these folks. We hang out we them for a day or two and even if we had tons of fun we're even happier for one of two things: when they leave our house, or when we leave theirs. I mean, we only see these people once a year for a reason, right?
Fittingly, the theme for this week's Thursday Movie Picks, hosted by the ever-wonderful Wanderer at Wandering Through the Shelves, is Family Get-Togethers/Reunions. If you're like me, you know these things aren't always just sitting around telling lies over egg nog. Things can occasionally get a bit testy. In some families, thankfully not mine, things even get violent. Such is the case for the families involved in the movies I'm suggesting for you, today.
The Mercer FamilyOccasionally, families have to come together because something tragic has happened. The Mercer brothers are one such brood. All of them were adopted by the same woman, had long since gone their separate ways, but are all back home due to the fact that mom has been murdered. What's left to do, but take to the streets looking for revenge on those that are responsible? It's just a fun action flick with a cast that would cost a whole lot more to pull together these days than it did a decade ago. Mark Wahlberg was clearly the headliner, but the rest of the troupe went on to bigger and better things. They include (in no particular order): Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tyrese Gibson, Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Garrett Hedlund, and Sofia Vergara.
The Conlon FamilyThis clan has been estranged for years because dad Paddy, played amazingly by Nick Nolte, was an abusive alcoholic as a younger man. He ran out on his dying wife when his sons were very young. He took the younger Tommy (Tom Hardy), but left the older Brendan (Joel Edgerton). After years of not speaking to his dad, Tommy returns home from the Marines and reluctantly moves in with his dad because he needs a trainer for an upcoming mixed martial arts tournament with a five million dollar grand prize. Paddy has taken up sobriety and is trying to apologize to both of his sons, neither of whom really want to hear it. In fact, Brendan isn't speaking to either his brother or his father. It so happens that Brendan is also entering the same tournament. Their reunion takes place in and around the octagon. Trust me when I say it's an exhilarating experience.
The Davison FamilyWhether they can stand to be in the same room with each other, or not, the Davisons are going to have their annual get-together at the house where mom and dad raised them all. This year, not only are mom and dad present, but so are all four of their adult-children and their significant others. For the mathematically impaired among us, that brings the total to ten. Argue, argue, bicker, bicker, then an arrow flies through the window, killing someone's boyfriend. Oh, I forgot to tell you this is a home invasion/slasher flick. Needless to say, the hosts and their guests start getting picked off...one by one. It's gleefully self-aware and gory along the way. It also features one of the best final girls of all time.
Return of the Jedi
The Skywalker FamilyI mean, everything else is Star Wars this week, so I may as well mention the franchise in some capacity. The entire original trilogy is about this family finding their way back to each other. This is the film where it finally happens. Sorta.