Did everyone have a kickass Thanksgiving? Did you MOW DOWN on a crap-ton of deep-fried wattle and stuffing and gravy and mashed potatoes with garlic and cranberry sauce from a can and pumpkin pies and beer and hopefully some decent WINES???
Did you watch the Macy’s Parade, the dog show, and the Peanuts Thanksgiving special where Snoopy improvises and slams together toast, popcorn, and jelly beans for the kids???
Me, I grilled steaks and veggies. Suddenly, my wife decided she wasn’t into turkey anymore (??) and so I had to considerably modify the menu. But it all worked out. I mean, there was still potatoes and gravy and stuffing and cranberries and pumpkin pie with whipped cream. But the best aspect of the long 4-day weekend was LAYING the hell LOW.
I really worry I’m becoming more and more of a recluse. Which is nuts because I love travel and getting out to wine country and going to the beach and visiting friends in their houses. I even like going to the grocery store or running the occasional errand (well, I run a LOT of those). But I HATE going to Costco and I don’t like crowds and don’t think for a SECOND I’ll be returning to any theme park anytime soon.
My waning patience for humanity and all it’s doing to destroy itself is just–
So, yeah, I REALLY treasured four days of total solace at home. Unfortunately, I’m still immersed in the Halloween Blu-ray boxed set my wife bought me for our 15-year wedding anni. See, I’m one of these idiots who actually watches commentaries. It’s like film school to me. Especially if I can LEARN something.
Now here it is, Thanksgiving weekend, and I’m saturating myself with Halloween-brand production anecdotes. Which only confirms what we already figured: Halloween is a YEAR-ROUND deal for ol’ Maxon Brian Koch! (Man, how crazy is “Halloween III: Season of the Witch”? I’m kind of obsessed with it. The BALLS on that baby. NO Michael Myers! MASS child murder! Robots! Snakes! Bugs! Tom Atkins! And who could forget THIS brain-grating, demented gem of a jingle?!)
Which brings me to “The Babadook”. THE best movie I saw over my break. Kudos to my dear buddy Brett Pearsons for texting me about it. It’s a horror film through and through, true (although I might qualify it as “terror”… there is a difference…), but it’s also a very powerful Mother & Son tale. AND it’s Australian.
Without giving too much away, a creative but disturbed little boy (I could relate) and his mommy receive a mysterious pop-up book called “Mister Babadook”. Dreadful, sometimes surreal things slowly proceed to happen and you start to wonder if you’re witnessing an unrelenting (shared) spiral into madness… or a very serious and REAL menace.
I can’t even tell you how moved I was by the lead actress, Essie Davis, as the exhausted, hysterical Amelia. This woman deserves an Oscar nom for her work, if not a “Babadook” franchise. Because once you open this pop-up book, you are DESTINED for Doom on all kinds of different levels. There were times I was so troubled by what I was taking in that I even JUMPED once when the wife popped into the room to toss me a query. If I’M jumping, you KNOW it’s scary.
WARNING: SLIGHT SPOILER: This film made me miss my mother, who I am always missing, even though she’s still alive, we just live too far apart and don’t talk a whole helluva lot. Amelia, turns out, is a widow (as was my mom), and the little boy never knew his daddy and spends much of his time alone living out his fantasy life with magic and costumes and crude-yet-effective contraptions. It punched me in the gut WHILE it freaked me the hell out. It’s some accomplishment.
BEWARE THE BABADOOK!!!
WINE PAIRING: The film is available on iTunes and VOD. I say bust out a bottle of the Chook Shiraz-Viognier 2012. Because Chook rhymes with Dook and I’ll see you again soon!