Blu-ray Review: Home for the Holidays

Blu-ray Reviews, Reviews, Top Story

As Autumn arrives, temperatures fall, leaves turns bright colors, football takes over TV and we have to figure out what we’re doing for Thanksgiving. Are you going to stay home? Dinner with friends? Or maybe dare to gather with family around your parents’ dining room table for turkey, dressing and all those things that drive you nuts? You want people to realize you’re a middle aged grown up, but everybody wants to remember you as 10 years old. You get drawn to decades old arguments about stuff that makes zero sense. You’re cramming three times the legal limit of turkey in your piehole in the hopes that the tryptophan will not merely knock you out, but induce a case of amnesia. Jodie Foster captures the perfect turkey day nightmare scenario in Home for the Holidays.

Claudia Larson (Raising Arizona‘s Holly Hunter) is all set for going to her parents for the Thanksgiving holidays. As she wraps up restoration of a painting, she gets informed by her boss that she’s been laid off. This leads to an odd exchange. Her daughter (Homeland‘s Claire Danes) drops her off at the airport and decides to share her stay at home plans. She’s not merely going to have her boyfriend over, they’re going to go all the way. Claudia doesn’t want to share her recent news when her parents (The Graduate‘s Anne Bancroft and The Muppet Movie‘s Charles Durning) pick her up in Baltimore. Things get completely wild when her brother Tommy (The Avengers‘ Robert Downey Jr.) arrive in the middle of the night with his Polaroid camera. He has no mute button and love going nuts around his family. Along with him is Leo (American Horror Story‘s Dylan McDermott). She’s not sure if Leo is Tommy’s new boyfriend and wonders what happened to Tommy’s old boyfriend. As Claudia helps her mother prepare for the big meal, the insanities of the family kicks in. There are such little moments that add up to the horror of relatives (including Geraldine Chaplin, Steve Guttenberg and Cynthia Stevenson) celebrating a tradition. Dad uses grace to let God know that he’s got issues. It’s almost a Festivus moment.

Home for the Holidays maintains its charms after 22 years. There are those small joys that allow you to realize why people put up with this special meal. Watching Charles Durnning pump out “Puppy Love” on the organ is the definition of holiday cheer. Or course he later tears into Steve Guttenberg. Robert Downey Jr. is such a wild card on the screen and not merely an action hero. You can never get comfortable at the table. Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that over the decades has lost its profile. Most TV stations would rather run Christmas specials. So it’s good that Home for the Holidays is about the traumas we exchange towards the end of November. When should you watch the film? You should watch it a few times before the holiday to help brace you for the actual event. Jodie Foster has done such a complete job that if you watch the film after an early turkey dinner, you might dream you’ve already had Thanksgiving with your family.

The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The transfer brings out the little touches around the dining room table. You can see the pies cooling. The audio is 5.1 DTS HD MA that lets you feel like you’ve a seat at the table. There’s also the original mix as 2.0 DTS HD MA. The movie is subtitled

Commnetary Track with Jodie Foster has her break down elements including the tempra paint scene. She reveals that Holly Hunter knows a lot about eggs from her childhood.

Theatrical Trailer (2:06) reminds that no matter what’s going on, you can always go home and experience another level of doomed.

Gallery (7:08) are publicity photos and promotional materials from the movie. You can use them on this year’s holiday card.

Shout! Factory presents Home For the Holidays. Directed by: Jodie Foster. Screenplay by: W. D. Richter. Starring: Holly Hunter, Robert Downey Jr., Anne Bancroft & Dylan McDermott. Running Time: 103 minutes. Rated: PG-13. Released: October 3, 2017.

Joe Corey is the writer and director of "Danger! Health Films" currently streaming on Night Flight and Amazon Prime. He's the author of "The Seven Secrets of Great Walmart People Greeters." This is the last how to get a job book you'll ever need. He was Associate Producer of the documentary "Moving Midway." He's worked as local crew on several reality shows including Candid Camera, American's Most Wanted, Extreme Makeover Home Edition and ESPN's Gaters. He's been featured on The Today Show and CBS's 48 Hours. Dom DeLuise once said, "Joe, you look like an axe murderer." He was in charge of research and programming at the Moving Image Archive.