Creed Daniel Radcliffe

The Movies to See on This 2015 Thanksgiving Weekend

Wednesday, November 25, 2015 Rob Samuelson

For those of you looking to escape the crush of family obligations and the packed bar scene for this Thanksgiving holiday, the movies certainly have plenty to hold your attention. Depending on the age range of your family, there's something hitting theaters for everyone. You can each choose a different movie if you so desire, even. Because what is a holiday without wanting to spend as little time with your loved ones as possible? Let's run through your options.

The Good Dinosaur
Director: Peter Sohn
Writers: Meg LeFauve, Peter Sohn, Erik Benson, Kelsey Mann, Bob Peterson
Starring: Raymond Ochoa, Jack Bright, Sam Elliot, Anna Paquin, Jeffrey Wright, Frances McDormand

Pixar's back at it only a few months after their last piece of excellence, Inside Out. This time, they head to a world in which dinosaurs and humans coexist thanks to a twist of fate that made a certain asteroid miss the planet. There appears to be some Bambi-style pathos thrown in, so expect some weepy moments.

But mostly, and this is far from an original thought, be on the lookout for Pixar's most realistic backdrops ever. They went to great lengths to get photo-realistic in the backgrounds while making their characters appear more cartoonish than usual. It's a juxtaposition that, on the surface, sounds like it can cause cognitive dissonance, but it probably blends together within a short amount of time.

Director: Ryan Coogler
Writers: Ryan Coogler, Aaron Covington
Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad

Here's the one I have been waiting for. Creed has been one of my single most anticipated movies of 2015 for quite some time. Yes, even more than Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens – the highs of the Rocky movies are equal to or greater than the highs of Star Wars, and the series overall has a lot more quality control than the galaxy far, far away.

And now we are finally into mantle-passing mode, with Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed, the son of Rocky Balboa's former rival, trainer, and best friend, a man Adonis never knew thanks to the Cold War-ending events of Rocky IV, the only outright bad Rocky that is somehow being repurposed for what is, by all appearances, a good movie. I am thrilled to see this with a big Thanksgiving crowd. I'm ready to cheer on the down-on-his luck hero.

Victor Frankenstein
Director: Paul McGuigan
Writer: Max Landis
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, James McAvoy, Jessica Brown Findlay

Given the two leads of this and the tropes involved, you'd expect more of a push to make it a summer blockbuster. Releasing a horror-ish movie at Thanksgiving just seems odd. But the studio heads who make the calendar know more about this business than I do. Either way, it's a retelling of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, starring two of the better leading men types we have these days. The action and thrills are juiced up to Barry Bondsian levels, and the upshot seems to be the Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes movies or the late-'90s Mummy. The downside might be heavy-handed in-jokes (like the trailer's insistence on inverting the Young Frankenstein joke about how to pronounce the family name) and plodding, lackadaisical storytelling.

Director: Brian Helgeland
Writer: Brian Helgeland
Starring: Tom Hardy, Colin Morgan, Christopher Eccleston, Emily Browning

Tom Hardy returns to the duality of man stuff he explored so excellently in Nicolas Winding Refn's Bronson, except this time he will literally be two people, the Kray brothers of the English underworld in the Cold War. Tom Hardy in a gangster pic is enough to get my butt in a seat, but add the flashiness of a difficult two-role performance and my longstanding love of gimmicks will take over. This one hasn't gotten great buzz, but whatever. Hardy's Mad Max and Charlie Bronson. I'm not about to pass up the chance to see him possibly create two more iconic characters at once.  

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