Director – Henrique Couto (Making Out, Babysitter Massacre)
Starring – Geoff Burkman (Day of the Dead, The Manson Family), Mike Canestaro (Depression: The Movie, Making Out), and Tara Clark (Scarewaves, Haunted House on Sorority Row)
Release Date – 2014
Rating – 3.5/5
Tagline – “Dealing with family is hard…the rest is just gravy”
Thanksgiving is just a few days away. Those of you that know me on a personal level knows that I fucking love Halloween but, big but, my favorite holidays are Thanksgiving and Christmas. Horror minded people often mock me for my love of Thanksgiving and Christmas but I don’t care. I like what I like and fuck everyone else. As much as I love Thanksgiving there is not that many movies you can watch for the holiday. Sure, we have Thankskilling, Blood Rage, and the seminal Planes, Trains, and Automobiles but not that many more.
A few years back indie director Henrique Couto released the Thanksgiving comedy Awkward Thanksgiving. I intended on buying it that year but time got away from me and I forgot. That changed this last October when I ran into Couto at Cinema Wasteland. He had bluray copies of the film available so I jumped on it while I could.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows a dysfunctional family who is trying to be together for a picture perfect Thanksgiving. The family has seen its fair share of ups and downs and when the patriarch passes away they tried to keep Thanksgiving afloat but some of the family members that would usually come over for Thanksgiving dinner are no longer doing so. Now, the last remaining family members are doing everything they can to make it work…and turkey fucking.**Spoiler Alert**
Henrique Couto is a very diverse filmmaker. He knows that fans don’t want to see their favorite filmmakers become stale so he continuously mixes it up. All the other films I have seen from Couto happened to be horror so when I heard he was working on a comedy I was interested. He is a funny guy away from the camera so I knew that wit would carry over well. Awkward Thanksgiving just goes to show that he can tackle any genre.
The acting in this one is solid. We see some very familiar faces. These “Ohio Elite” as I like to call them can be seen in numerous films from Couto, Dustin Mills, and Concept Media. These actors and actresses are Joni Durian, Joe Kidd, Haley Madison, Marylee Osborne, and Erin R. Ryan. We also get a small but funny performance from Geoff Burkman who has had an outstanding career. He was a zombie in Romero’s Day of the Dead and had roles in two Jim Van Bebber films. This cast is one of the most impressive casts I have seen in an indie film.
The story for this one is very busy and very well written. The film has several side stories that meet in the middle. We rarely see films like this that are so bold. The humor always finds its mark and never goes over the viewer’s head. This is something a lot of indie films miss. A lot of the jokes and gags in indie horror needed explained or have a back story that the film does not give the viewer. Couto has a great sense of humor and that translates well to this film.
Finally, this is not a horror film so we will not have any kills, blood, and gore. Instead, we have a comedy that is very story rich. The film is very well edited and looks great. Overall, Awkward Thanksgiving is a holiday essential. Just like the cranberry sauce and eating the boiled heart, lungs, and gizzard of the turkey, this movie is a Thanksgiving must. Check it out.