My sad and pathetic thanksgiving

I cancelled my Thanksgiving this year — I just have too much work piled up on me right now. So Mary went off to Madison to visit my daughter Skatje today — we had a small bowl of pad thai together for our feast, just before she left — so I’m home alone all weekend. I got all my grading sorted out into six stacks, though, and finished off one of the most difficult ones, so yay.

My dinner tonight was a bowl of rice, and I’m going to celebrate by kicking back with a glass of wine and something on netflix — anyone got any recommendations? It’s my one bit of fun for the weekend, so make it a good one.

Tomorrow: complete two stacks of grading.


  1. Mattir says

    I’ve joined you in the cancelled Thanksgiving club, except that I cancelled it because Spouse and both Spawns have flu. I am well-ish, having gotten the damned disease three weeks ago, literally two days before I’d written in my calendar to go get a vaccine. I did get to spend today at a zoo with David Marjanovic, but I’d have preferred having him over for roasted velociraptor and pie instead. (While at the zoo’s invertebrate house, we saw a pacific octopus and thought of you.)

  2. Mattir says

    Also, I recommend The Lady Eve, my favorite Preston Sturges. It does stream, I just checked. I will be reading Game of Thrones and trying to ignore the chorus of coughing fits.

  3. melissaengleman says

    Hubby and I called it off because we just moved to Morris. It takes two days to get near family. We had pasta and cherry coke for our at home feast.

    For netflix, we watched an episode of American Horror Story earlier. It’s crap but lots of fun to snark about.

  4. kp71 says

    I gotcha beat on “sad and pathetic.” Not going to share details, just going to assert that. :-P

    For Netflix, I’d take the opportunity to watch some really classic dude movies – action stuff like Terminator, or Demolition Man or you get the idea.

  5. Nerdette says

    I enjoyed “Lo” – good mindless black comedy/drama involving demons.

    Surely you’ve seen “The Man from Earth” by now, but if you haven’t, it’s on Instant. Jerome Bixby’s last script.

    We join you for the lonely Thanksgiving. We celebrate when family is in proximity, but all family is half a continent away. We made an unsuccessful bid to go out to eat for lunch, and enjoyed a nice steak dinner with baked sweet potatoes and sauteed green beans. Now the spouse is going to play video games and I am going to read. I have lab reports to grade tomorrow.

  6. says

    My gal and I are going to a nice restaurant and have nice wine and food and no clean up to do when we get home. :-) My parents in Ft Collins are going to a Chinese/Asian restaurant to do the same. My brother and his wife in Dutch Harbor are going to the only nice restaurant in hundreds of miles. I guess the Hail family is eating out tonight.

    I’ll raise a glass to those who are having sad and pathetic Thanksgivings and wish them better ones in the future.

    I recommend the manly movie suggestion above. One of the Bourne movies? Re-visit Game of Thrones episodes? The Dragon Tattoo movies?

  7. carlie says

    I keep pushing Kingdom on people. Stephen Fry, Karl Davies, Tony Slattery, it’s just a lovely series. Just right for unwinding.

  8. says

    You could watch “M”, directed by Fritz Lang. It’s a surprisingly morally challenging film for 1931, and my favorite Lang film. It’s also one of Peter Lorre’s early films, and he’s fantastic in it. I don’t know if you’ve seen any other German expressionist films, but they really set the tone for later film noir in America. So if you like noir and pulpy crime stories it’s right up your ally. Really striking visuals, great acting, riveting story telling and genuinely philosophically challenging moral dilemmas regarding how justice should properly be served–it’s one of my favorite movies of all time.

    Also, Netflix has the complete series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel on watch instantly. You can never go wrong with marathoning some Buffy episodes. :)

  9. sachiwilson says

    I’ve been watching Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot mysteries on Netflix lately. David Suchet is perfect in the role, and the mysteries are rather fun as well.

    So sorry you’re too busy to enjoy your family. I at least am surrounded by my furry friends, and my honey is helping me cook a pork pot pie!

  10. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    I just signed up for Netflix and I’m watching Breaking Bad from the beginning.

    I highly recommend this action.

    And you should have a glass of Ardbeg to go with it.

  11. grendelsfather says

    I am seconding Skeptifem’s nomination of “Bernie.” It does for East Texas what “Fargo” did for the North Country. Jack Black, Shirley McLean, Matthew McConaughey, and McConaughey’s mom.

  12. says

    You could be working at Walmart today. I stopped into Walmart this morning for some cranberry sauce, and asked the checkers if they would be closing for Thanksgiving. She said they were open all day because they were starting their Black Friday at 8:00PM on Thanksgiving. People are like, “that’s enough turkey and family, let’s go fight over a 36 inch plasma TV that is under 200 dollars!”

    Not to depress you further. On the lighter side, the Ra family was thankful I didn’t burn the house down trying to deep fry a turkey breast. After the initial alarm, it turned out very tasty. My daughter insisted we find a free range turkey that had been humanely killed.

  13. says

    Oh, also, in addition to my last suggestion, there’s also Eraserhead. It’s available for streaming on Netflix, and anyone who hasn’t seen it should. In fact, a double header of Eraserhead and The Elephant Man would at least reassure you that no matter how bad your Thanksgiving might be, your life could be worse.

  14. newfie says

    I celebrated the American Thanksgiving with some fish ‘n chips, as our Thanksgiving was last was last month. I watched The Life of Brian the other night, hadn’t seen it in a few years… it’s always good for a laugh. And today I learned that Afghans don’t have a word for turkey.. so they call it elephant chicken.

  15. robro says

    I recommend doing nothing. I just spent three days not doing anything. I didn’t even think, at least not about all the “important” things I worry about all the time. A day spent just staring into space was very refreshing. Of course, I had a very nice view from the cabin porch across Dry Creek canyon to some forested hills in fall colors that are virtually untouched.

    Now the three of us are headed to a very nice vegetarian restaurant here in SF where it’s only 6pm. No fowl play for us this year.

  16. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Check out “The Hudsucker Proxy,” one of the Coen brothers more under-rated films.

  17. nohellbelowus says

    Rumor has it you’re a Sci-Fi fan… and thus you may have already seen Equilibrium. Pretty satisfying Hollywood romp, IMO.

    (If you haven’t seen it, imagine you’re “gun-fu” expert Christian Bale and your mission is to topple Christianity and the Pope…)

  18. says

    Probably too late, but here are a few of my favs:

    The Spanish Prisoner – con movie; Directed by David Mamet. Starring Steve Martin, Ben Gazzara

    Zero Effect – worlds most reclusive private investigator, explores mental illness; Directed by Jake Kasdan. Starring Bill Pullman, Ben Stiller, Ryan O’Neal

    Primer – extremely low budget time travel, twisty plot; Directed by Shane Carruth. Starring Shane Carruth, David Sullivan

    Brainstorm – what if you could record and play back actual experiences? Directed by Douglas Trumbull. Starring Christopher Walken

    The Gods Must Be Crazy – view modern civilization from the other side; Directed by Jamie Uys. Starring N!xau, Marius Weyers, Sandra Prinsloo

    Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai – take on evil alien invaders from the 8th dimension; Directed by W.D. Richter. Starring Peter Weller, John Lithgow

  19. fireweaver says

    I don’t know if this is on Netflix, but I would recommend /Iron Sky/. This is a satire from Finland that begins with a collection of Nazis escaping to the moon back in 1945 and ending in 2020 with them attacking the Earth. It features, among other things, speculation as to what would happen if Sarah Palin had become president.
    I thought it was a hoot.

  20. ButchKitties says

    If you want a feel good movie about Thanksgiving you could always watch The House of Yes

  21. mariel141 says

    I recommend ‘Big Fish’, probably the most underrated Tim Burton film ever. No zombies, no Johnny Depp, no spirals and white make-up, just a cool story with imaginative twists, a good dose of humor, and an ending that is both sad and uplifting. Goes great with a glass of wine.

  22. Akira MacKenzie says

    At the risk of being too late, Patrick Stewart’s latest rendition of Macbeth is on Netflix.

  23. Trebuchet says

    Sorry, I’ll never use Netflix because of their accursed, ubiquitous popup ads. I spent my evening watching Punkin Chunkin on the Science Channel while scarfing down turkey and trimmings. Now, for some reason, I’m getting sleepy.

  24. says

    I recommend the movie “Porco Rosso” where the stars are a red pig seaplane pirate and a young woman engineer. Originally produced in Japanese by Studio Ghilbi and then produced by Disney in English. Great animation and technically accurate!

    I enjoyed a non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner as well this year, corned beef and cabbage. Yummmm! With a nice bottle of wine of course.

    I enjoy your Blog tremendously, and also love Cephalopoda!

  25. Stacy says

    If you like psychological suspense and don’t mind violence: The Dark Hours is a wonderful Canadian film (with a strong female lead) that never got the attention it deserves. It’s about a psychiatrist who works with the criminally mentally ill who gets a visit from one of her patients.

    Session 9 is another great dark film. Creepy as hell and also one of the saddest films I’ve ever seen. (A hazmat guy, desperate for the money, wins a contract to remove the asbestos from an abandoned mental hospital by agreeing to do the job in a ridiculously short period of time, and there are tensions among his crew, and there they are, working long hours, isolated…)

  26. evilDoug says

    I quite liked Mary and Max, too.
    Eraserhead (which I first say because someone (never found out who) cut out the ad for it from the university paper, underlined “not for the squeamish, especially the baby scenes”, and put it on my office door) I wouldn’t really recommend for the occasion.
    Don’t know if netflix has it, but one of my great favorites, though the general technical quality of the available “prints” is pretty poor, is Marat-Sade with Glenda Jackson as Charlotte Corday. You’ll be singing The Copulation Round to yourself for days.

  27. stubby says

    I headed over and cleaned the cat room at the local humane society at 5am, then came home and went to sleep. Volunteering and avoiding the jebus lovers in my family added up to a good day. As for netflix I would recommend Gomorrah or Shameless (British tv).

  28. J Bowen says

    Oh, it could be worse, PZ. You could be at Walmart with my wife and her friend right now. They are more brave than I.

    It’s probably too late, but I second Chimp’s recommendation of Breaking Bad and a glass of Ardbeg.

    Do tell us what you settled on.

  29. says

    THanks for all the film suggestions, folks. I’m going to bookmark this page so I can avail myself of the recommendations any time I’m in the mood for some movie watching.

    I had clam chowder for dinner (though it’s not Thanksgiving for me) and watched The Artist on Netflix tonight. Not bad but not mind-blowing either.

  30. Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff says

    Hmm. I’d suggest, for weapons-grade snark, the original “Manchurian Candidate”, in glorious black and white, a film cynical, vicious, and truthful enough to be condemned, when it came out, by both the American Legion and the American Communist Party.

    And if you’re in the mood for more paranoia, “The Parallax View”

  31. satanaugustine says

    Don’t know if it’s on Netflix, but Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter is what you want to go with. I’m certain the Daniel Day-Lewis-starring, Spielberg-directed biopic Lincoln pales in comparison.

  32. Skatje Myers says


    “a car tire named Robert rolls through the desert Southwest, using its strange psychic powers to blow everything up. But when Robert spies a gorgeous woman, he decides to take a chance on love.”

  33. chigau (無) says

    Rocky Horror Picture Show
    dress up and dance along.
    that would work for any musical…
    Singin’ in the Rain

  34. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Picturing PZ singing Under Your Spell.

    Do not want.

    Rest In Peace could be funny though.

  35. DLC says

    “The Best of the 700 Club” with Pat Robertson.
    “Kent Hovind Sings” with Kent and Eric Hovind.
    “The Greatest Story Ever Told” with Max Von Sydow and Dorothy McGuire.

    (as it is way to late for my contribution to matter. . .)

  36. susans says

    Some of Eddie Izzard’s shows are on video. I also recommend anything by comedian Mike Birbiglia, including his movie, “Sleepwalk with Me”. His stuff is adult comedy without insult, racism, misogyny.

  37. says

    We (in France) are not too familiar with Thanksgiving, and turkey is rather associated with the Christmas dinner. But anyway I felt like sending you a little thank you. It’s been a few years now that I enjoy your site. I’ve learned lots of stuff, had some brain workout of some provocative thoughts, and laughed a lot too. So, I say thanks a lot for all this. I hope it will cheer you up a little bit.

  38. randay says

    Talladega Nights: The legend of Ricky Bobby. It has Will Farrell and Sacha Baron Cohen. It is good for many laughs and has the funniest saying of grace before a meal that you will find.

  39. hypatiasdaughter says

    I should imagine that a large chuck of humanity would be very thankful to have a bowl of rice for dinner on Thursday.

  40. says

    I’ve now added a whole bunch of movies to my instant queue. Even Rubber, which looks weird. I’ve already seen Bad Taste, The Horde, and The Fall, of course.

    So last night I watched Equilibrium. Sorry, that was awful. I liked it better when it was called Fahrenheit 451 and had Oskar Werner and Julie Christie actually acting instead of ridiculous magic gunfights.

    So I watched Bernie afterwards. What a strange little movie…but entirely believable, and Jack Black did a good job at playing an unctuously cheerful gay mortician and murderer.

  41. carbonbasedlifeform says

    I made a roasted turkey breast, with cranberry sauce, dressing, roast potatoes and brussels sprouts. It was all very good. And I watched the Punkin Chunkin on TV.

    I recommend the movie M as well. There’s one bit where the crime bosses are meeting to figure out what to do about the child murderer (he’s bad for business) and the police bosses are meeting for the same reason. The two scenes are indistinguishable. I also remember quite vividly the ball bouncing down the stairs — a chilling shot.

  42. nohellbelowus says

    So last night I watched Equilibrium. Sorry, that was awful.

    Gah! My bad. I resign as your movie critic.

    Next time it’s a hooker, then.