Admitting that I’m a much bigger fan of Thanksgiving than Halloween, I’m commemorating All Hallows Eve by getting the Thanksgiving season started early this year by re-visiting one of the more popular posts from last holiday season. Then, on the Friday before Thanksgiving, I’ll give you a brand new Thanksgiving-related Friday Fives. (I just know you’re marking your calendar even as you read.)
First, isn’t Thanksgiving wonderful? We get to really practice our gratitude to God so that it’s polished up for repeated praise over the rest of the year. It’s a time actually dedicated to devotion to the Living God for His greatness and His goodness. Thanksgiving rocks.
Let’s come into his presence with a song of thanksgiving. Let’s shout happily to him with psalms.
Enter his gates with a song of thanksgiving. Come into his courtyards with a song of praise. Give thanks to him; praise his name. The Lord is good. His mercy endures forever. His faithfulness endures throughout every generation.
Our God, we thank you and praise your wonderful name. But who am I and who are my people that you enable us to give so generously? Everything comes from you. We give you only what has come from your hands.
Always be joyful in the Lord! I’ll say it again: Be joyful! Let everyone know how considerate you are. The Lord is near. Never worry about anything. But in every situation let God know what you need in prayers and requests while giving thanks. Then God’s peace, which goes beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus.
And now on to Friday Fives..
#5 Grocery Item - Cranberry Sauce/Cranberries #5 Movie - Planes, Trains and Automobiles
About the Movie: I know what you’re thinking, “He put ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’ fifth! Fifth!” Yeah, it’s perhaps the classic Thanksgiving movie, one of the few that is actually centered on Thanksgiving itself and not just Thanksgiving as a part of the Christmas season. My problem is THAT scene. Yes, it’s a PG-13 movie but, if you’ve seen it, you know precisely the scene I’m talking about. The car rental scene? The language? Yeah, that one. Since I couldn’t show the movie to my young children without fast forwarding through that scene, I had to drop it down on the list. If only they had consulted with me before filming the movie.
How the Food and the Movie Connect: Often-seen character actor Richard Herd plays Neal Page’s father-in-law Walt in the movie. You’ve seen him in a hundred different films. He’s the guy who looks like the old actor Karl Malden. Herd is from Boston, Massachusetts. Massachusetts is the home of Ocean Spray, the leading cranberry product brand.
#4 Grocery Item - Green Beans #4 Movie - Pieces of April
Note: Marketing Charts shows that, actually, chicken broth is the 4th most purchased Thanksgiving grocery item by unit but I just couldn’t give broth – chicken or otherwise – a place of honor on a Friday Five’s list. I mean, it’s basically water with a hint of chicken. It’s kind of chicken juice and that’s just gross. Technically, cranberry sauce/cranberries are 6th and green beans are 5th, but I think you’re with me on this.
Second Note: Yes. I was surprised green beans finished so high. Green beans?
About the Movie: I know this isn’t saying much but this might be Katie Holmes’ best movie. No, it’s not a blockbuster or a masterpiece but it’s a very creative and well-acted story about a wayward daughter and her desire to bring her fractured and farcical family together for Thanksgiving. It’s not a Christian movie, for sure, but there’s something about it that is worth watching and, thus, earned it the number 4 spot on the list.
How the Food and the Movie Connect: Pieces of April was directed by Peter Hedges. Hedges’ most recent movie is The Odd Life of Timothy Green. Timothy Green’s last name is the color of green beans. (Are you writing all this down?)
#3 Grocery Item - Stuffing/Stuffing Mix #3 Movie - Home for the Holidays
About the Movie: In 1995 when this movie was made, you wouldn’t have called it “star studded.” But now, you go through the list of actors in the movie – Holly Hunter, Anne Bancroft, Robert Downey Jr., Charles Durning, Dylan McDermott, Claire Danes, etc. – it’s clear why the movie has staying power. There’s also an under-the-surface warmth that hints at the “true meaning of Thanksgiving” even in the context of caustic comedy.
How the Food and the Movie Connect: Actors report that some of the dinner table scenes took so many takes that many began to fake eat – even more fake than normal acting eating – so they wouldn’t be STUFFED. This extended to some spitting food back onto their plates. Let’s move on.
#2 Grocery Item - Sweet Potatoes #2 Movie - Pocahontas
About the Movie: It seems I’m always in the position of having to defend this movie, whom some call one of Disney’s worst. I just don’t agree. It doesn’t butcher American history nearly as much as other Disney efforts, or movies in general for that matter. And, yes, I realize that’s a backhanded compliment. And I think Alan Menken’s songs in this movie are some of his best. Don’t care what the critics say, I’m going with Pocahantas at number 2.
How the Food and the Movie Connect: Sweet potatoes can be mashed just like white potatoes. In the movie, David Ogden Stiers plays the voice of Governor Ratcliffe and he also played Major Charles Emerson Winchester III in the TV Series M*A*S*H. So it’s a mashup. (I’m here all week. Try the veal.)
#1 Grocery Item - Turkey/Whole Turkey/Frozen Turkey #1 Movie - The New World
About the Movie: For my number one Thanksgiving movie, I decided to steal imdb.com’s number one Thanksgiving movie. No, it’s not about the American Thanksgiving holiday, per se, but it certainly fits the definition of a “Thanksgiving-themed” movie. Plus, it’s very well done. Of course it doesn’t do justice in my mind to the Judeo-Christian heritage and biblical moorings that grounded thought and motivation at the founding of the new world, but very few movies do. The fact that characters are shown acknowledging, trusting and worshipping God is noteworthy and encouraging.
How the Food and the Movie Connect: There are actual turkeys in the movie! So I don’t even have to contrive a connection between the food and the movie for the number one choice. Aren’t you relieved?