Cory Hope, Arts and Entertainment Editor Ω
Most of the holidays typically found on the calendar (if you happened to buy that calendar in North America at a non-specialty store) have been the setting for countless movies in various genres.
Thanksgiving however seems to have been left behind by the movie industry.
While I was scouring around looking for the perfect Thanksgiving movie I only found two options. I watched them both, and I’m happy to present you with a head-to-head brawl: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles vs. Thankskilling.
Because these movies are so different I thought a juxtaposition by virtue of the actual calibre of the films would be unfair to Thankskilling, as it is a low-budget film in which the villain is a demonic turkey that is painfully obviously a hand puppet.
As a result, the discussion will be a series of comparisons I found to be interesting while watching them.
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles stars Steve Martin and John Candy, who were both excellent, likable actors at the top of their games when the movie came out in 1986.
Thankskilling brought such talent as General Bastard, Lindsey Anderson and Lance Predmore to the screen for the first time.
In fact, the only actor involved with this film that has more than one entry on their www.imdb.com page is Wanda Lust, who apparently took a break from working as an adult film star to film the opening sequence of Thankskilling.
Advantage goes to: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (PTA).
The opening sequences of these movies are drastically different. While PTA director John Hughes chose to begin his film with an awkward silence in a boardroom (which Steve Martin still manages to make funny), Thankskilling director Jordan Downey opened his film by going way back into the past to the year 1621, and fading into an opening shot of a naked breast, not of the turkey kind.
I think this ties up the game. PTA 1, Thankskilling 1.
Never underestimate the movie-making prowess of John Hughes, however.
Only a master craftsman like Hughes would know that the best way to follow up such an awkward opening is to bring in Kevin Bacon for a Manhattan footrace against Steve Martin. Not only is this scene funny, but it also puts the entire cast of PTA at a Bacon Number of N + 1 for those of you who might still be playing The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.
Thankskilling can only be assigned a Bacon Number if television shows and directors can be put into the mix, and even then it only comes up with a Bacon Number of N + 4.
Thankskilling director Jordan Downey also directed a short called Craw Lake which starred Bela Thorne who was on the show Big Love with Bill Paxton who was in the movie Apollo 13 with Kevin Bacon.
Because a point can’t be deducted for reasons as petty as a low Bacon Number, two points will be awarded to PTA for their stellar performance in this category.
PTA 3, Thankskilling 1.
If the Bacon Number wasn’t reason enough to place PTA far enough ahead of Thankskilling to prevent it from ever catching up, Downey’s decision to use the second scene of his movie to remind the audience that they didn’t have the budget to hire some of those trivial things used in movies, like writers or actors, definitely is.
His movie essentially falls apart at this point, and isn’t worth watching unless you’re in the mood to sit down with a few friends and poke fun at it the whole time.
The final points to be awarded here will go to the biggest surprise moment, which would almost go to PTA for Martin’s sudden outburst of profanity like nothing I’ve ever heard him engage in before, had that scene not lost to Thankskilling for a scene I don’t want to spoil for you.
I’ll tease it though, and maybe you’ll go out and watch it: A turkey in disguise as a man sits at a table with a man wearing a Thanksgiving turkey costume.
The turkey says “I’m not gonna lie, this is pretty awkward, Sheriff.”
Final Score: PTA 3, Thankskilling 2.