Cher and Christina Aguilera get campier, Gyllenhaal and Hathaway get naked, and Colin Firth gets speech therapy. Who gets your ticket money?
Director: Steve Antin
Cast: Christina Aguilera, Cher, Alan Cumming, Peter Gallagher, Kristen Bell, Stanley Tucci
Cinema and Turkey Day go together like awkward lip-syncing and the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. Whether you're watching Miracle on 34th Street in a tryptophan coma, or meeting old friends to see any damn movie that'll get you out of the house and away from your family for a few hours, November 25 may be America's least picky film viewing day of the year. That makes it the exact right time for the release of Burlesque, featuring Cher and Christina Aguilera in "a star is bustier-ed" saga clearly designed to unseat Glitter, Showgirls, Sex and the City 2 (and, hell, maybe even The Wizard of Oz) as the world's deepest well of pure drag-queen euphoria. And yet, while I certainly enjoy high camp, leggy dames, and Stanley Tucci in bitchy Devil Wears Prada mode, my guess is that watching the actual film now won't be nearly as much fun as, say, hearing Mario Cantone recycle the juiciest bits for his nightclub act later.
Director: Ed Zwick
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, Oliver Platt, Hank Azaria
But, in the spirit of the holiday, let me also just pause here to give thanks that I finally found someone to marry me, and thus won't have to endure some awkward holiday fix-up date at the movies this year watching Edward Zwick's softcore dramedy about the romantic problems of people who are way better looking than me. Not that I can't totally relate to a high-powered, deeply chiseled Viagra salesman (Jake Gyllenhaal) who gets every woman he wants, but winds up falling for one as flawlessly beautiful as an R-rated Disney princess. And it's not that I don't want to see Anne Hathaway simulating orgasms in the buff. But if that's pretty much the only draw (which the trailer and early reviews seem to indicate), then I'm willing to wait for the DVD release.
Director: Tom Hooper
Cast: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce, Michael Gambon, Timothy Spall, Derek Jacobi
Ultimately, though, Thanksgiving is all about family (and films the whole family can agree on seeing together). For the kids'-table crowd, that movie would probably be Tangled, with its fractured fairy-tale leftovers, while the week's best comfort-food option for grown-ups is clearly the well-behaved Oscar bait of The King's Speech. This tale of King George VI's battle with stammering on the verge of World War II seems like the perfect after-dinner mint to settle the stomach after countless hours of family tension and political debate. Colin Firth is easy on the eyes, the story is simple (while the British accents make us feel smart), the suspense is manageable (since, as historical drama, it's easy to guess how things work out) and, best of all in these divisive times, rooting against movie Nazis is one of the few remaining things that still brings Americans together. And for that, I am thankful.
The One Movie You Should See This Week: The King's Speech