i’m trying to think of another thanksgiving film that’s better than this one (besides the obvious “planes, trains and automobiles”) and i can’t do it. this film isn’t amazing, but it is exactly as good as its capable of being. films like this are probably the future of “independent” cinema, for better or worse. it’s got big studio backing (but a small budget – $300k), a few established actors and a good idea. stylistically it’s an independent feature – it’s shot using dv with a lot of handheld camera work and a jumpy editing style (at least during the introductions). all the music in the film (except for the final sequence) is diegetic. it got me thinking what the best soundtrack is to a bad film…this has a really good soundtrack (though you don’t really notice it in the film), but the film is good so it doesn’t count. morvern callar has a great soundtrack, but isn’t a very good movie so that one’s in the running….but i digress.
katie holmes does a decent acting job, but is outplayed by virtually everyone else in the film. that’s generally the rule with independent features like this – since they are less concerned about the marketability of the film, they can afford to give up something in the looks department in exchange for superior talent. the film also benefits from a good balance of the comic and the serious. at just under 75 minutes the film is definitely on the short side, but i’m willing to pay just as much to see this as i would be to see “gangs of new york” which is twice as long, cost 100 times more to make, and wasn’t as good.