Feel Good Holiday Films

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 2 had the most to be thankful for this long, holiday weekend as they continued to fight the good cinematic fight to the box-office finish line. Newbie Pixar film The Good Dinosaur had a mighty good debut, stomping in line ahead of its less-reptilian competition.  Creed (paying homage to the faithful Rocky fans) had moviegoers believing in the power of a good story while the Spectre team trusted that audiences would keep James Bond alive well into storytelling eternity. The Peanuts Movie, meanwhile, continued to restore audiences’ faith in the power of young minds (and 3D-animation).

During this most grateful of seasons, movie lovers gave thanks for colorful characters, fighting spirits and hungry souls, an ageless Bond and, of course, an animated Brown (Charlie Brown) and friends.

Which of our spirited friends made you the most thankful this weekend?


Estimated Domestic Box Office Results:

  1. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 2 $75.8 million.
  2. The Good Dinosaur $55 million.
  3. Creed $41 million.
  4. Spectre $19 million.
  5. The Peanuts Movie $13.4 million.

A Thankful Movie Heart

[Originally posted on November 28, 2013 but worth repeating]

“Nothing is more honorable than a grateful heart.” Roman Philosopher Seneca

In honor of movies during our cinematically gratifying season, why not take a minute following the turkey hangovers and just prior to the tree trimming to reflect on all the yuletide tales we have to be thankful for…

…Or in the interest of space and for the sake of short attention spans,

The Top Ten Holiday Movies I am Most Thankful for:

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) Did they really make a sequel of this Jimmy Stewart-I-wish-I’d-never-been-born classic? Shameful…

Christmas in Connecticut (1945). Yes, I love retro. Besides, it’s just cute. Check it out.

Miracle on 34th Street (1947) Made me a merry miracle believer (or at least a hopeful holiday shopper).

The Apartment (1960) Okay, it was about philandering husbands, not particularly “Christmassy,” but essentially its purpose was to bring good guy Jack Lemmon and misguided Shirley MacLaine together.                Spoiler Alert: Mission accomplished.

A Christmas Story (1983) Since little Ralphie wore glasses; I wasn’t too concerned with him shooting his eye out (but I was morbidly curious about what would happen when he got his hands on that coveted BB gun).

Scrooged (1988) Humor with heart; comedy with conscience.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) See reason above, oh, and the squirrel-in-Christmas-tree scene.

Christmas with the Kranks (1994) Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis at (I think) their crankiest best. Plus the overzealous Christmas-loving neighbors were a riot (although I wouldn’t want to live near any of them).

The Santa Claus (1998) A new Santa Claus thanks to a written clause. One more reason to read that all-important fine print.

Polar Express (2004) Soothing and satisfying like hot chocolate and Santa-shaped cookies at the end of a long, holiday-shopping day. Plus it was just the coolest train ride!

However you’re traveling (and whatever beverage you choose); hope your holidays are as entertaining as our collection of feel-good films!

Thankful Movies: Big & Small

“Who does not thank for little will not thank for much.” Estonian Proverb

What are you giving thanks for this holiday season? Family, friends (affordable health care?)

How about movies, big and small, where good (sometimes) triumphs over evil and the people, even those evildoers, are so darn pretty! For the “good seekers,” we have The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 2, whose oh-so-pretty cast and crew are thankful for last week’s #1 box-office locale. Then there’s Spectre for the James Bond-aholics, who appreciate his many handsome reincarnations, decade after decade (after decade…) The Peanuts Movie happily satisfies the kid in all of us, many decades after the calendar dictates our childhoods have ended. The Night Before introduced us to a festive tomorrow, most pleasing to those who never want the party to end while The Secret in Their Eyes revealed what we should be most thankful for in life, our loved ones, which come to think of it is really no big secret.

Will Creed hold the secret to movie success this weekend or will those honors go to The Good Dinosaur, who’s hoping to give the always-good Charlie Brown and company a run for their animated money.

We have so much to be thankful for, from the littlest of stars (thank you, Peanuts gang!) to the biggest of blockbusters (ready for the latest round of The Hunger Games?)

Which of our gratifying stories will you be running to see this weekend?

The Holiday Hunger Strikes

To the surprise of no one, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 2 took a huge bite out of the cinematic competition, resulting in the most satisfying spot at the box office this weekend (but ironically a low for the series). Following way, way behind their giant, sequel-inspiring footsteps, James Bond and his Spectre cohorts were last seen spying on their less sophisticated competition, confident that their days in the spotlight are far from over. The Night Before the most festive time of year takes over the aforementioned spotlight, one wild party was being had. The Peanuts Movie shone brightly day and night, as Charlie Brown and pals continued to travel down that tricky, childhood path leading to enlightenment. Enlightened by the Secret in Their Eyes, audiences followed that secretive trail, enthralled by all that was waiting there.

Among the mysteries and the Mockingjay, a blockbuster party was held, with a guest list featuring Snoopy, a superspy and one star-filled secret.

Which of our star-studded stories satisfied your hunger for blockbuster entertainment?

Estimate Domestic Box Office Results:

  1. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 2 $101.03 million.
  2. Spectre $14.6 million
  3. The Peanuts Movie $12.8 million.
  4. The Night Before $10.10 million
  5. Secret in Their Eyes $6.63 million.

A Hunger for Holiday Entertainment

Have an appetite not easily satisfied? The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 promises to curb your sequel-satisfying hunger for high-octane entertainment. The always-entertaining Spectre crew is determined to do their part for the movie universe, solving the latest mystery while rescuing the damsel-in-distress du jour. Every day is a good day to catch The Peanuts Movie and reminisce with some old but newly 3D-animated friends still traveling on their colorful life journey. The Martian has been on quite a journey, not to mention wild, box-office ride, as he slowly plants his feet on terra firma.

A week following their pre-holiday debut, will audiences still Love the Coopers, the fighting family you’d never want to be a part of? Despite their many dysfunctions, the Coopers are still in better shape than The 33 miners trapped in the dark mines (although last week’s box-office numbers did help lift their spirits a bit). Perhaps The Night Before will lead us to a happy tomorrow, filled with uplifting stories (sans mines). Will the Secret in their Eyes reveal all of this and more?

Most importantly, which of our revealing tales will lift your spirits this weekend?

Spectre Once Again Seizes the Day

A supersized Spectre surrounded movie theaters this weekend, as a suave spy continued to crush the competition in the most debonair manner. The cast of The Peanuts Movie, while hardly sophisticated, packed them in once again while The 33 miners packed into those dark, drafty mines finally saw the (movie) light. The celestial lights were shining on The Martian, whose head was still in the clouds while the rest of him drifted successfully through the cinematic solar system. Traveling the entertainment globe (and ending up at the local movie theater), moviegoers embraced a multi-generation, misguided clan while pondering the question;  can we truly Love the Coopers, the dysfunctional brood taking up emotional as well as literal space at this year’s holiday dinner table?

Lovable and loathsome characters creatively combined, mine workers and martian dwellers found their way out of the deep, dark space while Bond and Brown made for unlikely but likable competitors.

Who made for the most likable of companions for you this (almost) holiday weekend?

Estimated Domestic Box Office Results:

  1. Spectre $35.4 million.
  2. The Peanuts Movie $24.2 million.
  3. Love the Coopers $8.4 million.
  4. The Martian $6.73 million.
  5. The 33 $5.85 million.

Can Bond be Beat?

After successfully infiltrating our movie universe last weekend, will Spectre still be considered spectacular in our overcrowded community? Lucky for him, that well-traveled Bridge of Spies was meant to link espionage agents to the coolest spots in the cinematic database for countless sequels to come. The Martian has certainly learned the secret to out-of-this-world success. Will he soon be sent on a flying leap? With the scary season replaced by talk of turkeys, will Goosebumps have the same spooky effect? Our animated troupe in The Peanuts Movie seems to have had a positive effect on our G-rated audience. Will Charlie Brown finally learn the true meaning of life (successful movies) or should he expect the (box-office) ball to be kicked out from under him? Perhaps what matters most in life can be found By the Sea, where mystery and the beautiful Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are patiently, not to mention dramatically, waiting. The 33 miners trapped underground know a thing or two about drama. Can they be successfully raised out of the mines?

Speaking of the holidays (and weren’t we?) are you all set to Love the Coopers? Dysfunctional families are always in style, making those lovable lunatics most welcomed in our movie theaters (just not at our real-life dinner tables).

Ready for a break from reality this weekend?