Thanksgiving Sunday, Baz Luhrmann, and Australia

It’s Thanksgiving Sunday and we made it through the first part of the holidays, even happily and gratefully.

I went to my niece and her husband’s for Thanksgiving this year.  They got married this past summer and wanted Thanksgiving in their home this holiday.  It was pretty funny because sometime during the day while dealing with all the preparation my niece looked at me and said how she needed to thank my sister because she finally understood what it took to put together a holiday spread like that even with others participating in the dinner.  I had also done it in past years and when she stood up and said they’d like to do it, I had no problems passing along the baton, actually it was quite nice in many respects to do so.

The holiday dinner they prepared was fabulous and included a natural turkey with stuffing, homemade cranberry sauce, homemade butternut squash soup with pumpkin seeds and sour crème, buttermilk mashed potatoes, my sweet potato casserole with pure maple syrup, butter, and pecans, pumpkin and key lime pies, and so forth.  Needless to say no one went away hungry, plus of course there were plenty of leftovers.

The rest of the weekend was spent relaxing, being lazy, continuing to eat well and enjoy, and maintaining the tradition of going to the movies and watching movies.  I also believe that avoiding “Black Friday” shopping helps to keep me in the good spirit of the holiday avoiding the stress that goes along with it no matter how well you do.  Instead we did our best to support the economy and ourselves by going out to eat several times, going to the theater, and spending $5 plus on popcorn.

For me Thanksgiving is about seeing epic drama’s or James Bond movies, etc.  I save the more serious and even what I think might be better movies for other times.  We ended up deciding to go see the new Baz Lurhmann (Strictly Ballroom, Romeo and Juliet, Moulin Rouge) film “Australia” with Nicole Kidman (Lady Sarah) and Hugh Jackman (Drover).  It somehow fit in to the holiday movie theme.  An expansive drama, and a love story that begins right before World War Two and uses Australia is its other leading lady.  It’s about personal relationships, parenthood, bigotry, love of country, friendship, honor and greed.  It was a perfect movie for this past weekend.  And spending two plus hours observing Hugh Jackman (People’s newest sexiest man), and Nicole Kidman is not a bad way to spend an afternoon.  (I’ve been on film sets with both of them and they are actually better looking in person, and I have to say Nicole was quite kind to me when I worked with her.)

The movie “Australia” I thought was good, but I didn’t think it was great although it had great moments.  I felt it was a little long and in my opinion the story could have ended about a half hour sooner.  I didn’t need every loose end to be tied up.  That said I enjoyed seeing the film and felt that both Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman were compelling in their respective roles as was the little boy who played “Nullah,” a challenging role that demanded a strong balance of character, emotion, magic, and sweetness.  I also found myself embarrassingly welling up with tears streaming down my face at various times during the movie.  Some of those tears I felt were warranted and others I felt were there because of manipulation, but I must admit they manipulated me good because I didn’t want anyone to see my face when the movie ended.

When choosing a movie this upcoming holiday I would say if you are looking for an afternoon or evening escape, if you love either of the two leading actors, if you want to see amazing landscapes of an Australia you don’t see in Sydney, I recommend this movie to you.  Also the art direction and costume design is quite good and could get Oscar nods.  If you are looking for a “Best Picture” contender I don’t think this will be it, but I could be wrong.

Over the next several weeks I will attend several Screen Actor Guild Screenings with Q&A’s with the actors, writers, and directors.  Those movies include, “The Reader,” “Revolutionary Road,” “Doubt,” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” to name a few.  I’ll keep you posted with updates.

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