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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

question of the day: Has the definition of “family” and “holiday” movies changed?

When I was a kid, TV over Thanksgiving weekend definitely meant The Wizard of Oz and maybe a marathon of the 1933 King Kong and all those goofy black-and-white Mighty Joe Young flicks. But as Jill Cozzi notes at the new Cinemarati Facebook page:

The new “family movies” televised in heavy rotation for the holidays: “The Fellowship of the Ring” (because nothing says Thanksgiving like hobbits in constant fear); “Titanic” (because nothing says Thanksgiving like a watery grave), and The Godfather movies (because nothing says Thanksgiving like “family”). All this and a “Deadliest Catch” marathon. Because nothing says “Thanksgiving” like watching a bunch of guys risk their lives for the crab legs at your local Chinese buffet.

Maybe I could scoff that, heh, nothing says family and get-together and big meals and stuff like giant apes and flying monkeys, but there does seem to be something different at play here. Is it just that I’m getting old and nostalgic, or is there a different tenor to those films pushed at us today as appropriate for holiday weekends?

Has the definition of “family” and “holiday” movies changed?

I’m curious to hear, too, from my readers in the U.K. whether British TV pushes certain films as holiday classics — even though they have nothing to do with the holidays — around the time of our crosscultural midwinter festivus fests.

(Yea, Cinemarati is back on Facebook, as a group open to anyone… as long as you’re on Facebook, that is.)

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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