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A Thanksgiving story at the Movies

Posted at 5:06 PM on November 22, 2006 by Euan Kerr

One of the better Thanksgiving themed films in recent years is "Pieces of April." It stars Katie Holmes (long before she went for a Cruise,) as a wild young woman who is alienated from her parents, but ready to make amends, so she invites her family for Thanksgiving dinner. Oliver Platt and Patricia Clarkson (in a tour-de-force performance which drew an Oscar nomination) play the suburban Philly 'rents who drive to New York City dreading the dinner all the way, knowing it's just going to be a huge disaster.

The twist is Mom (Clarkson) is dying of cancer. It's a powerful and poignant film.

Back in 2003, three of the Kerr Clan went to see the film when it was here in the theater: my beloved, Malcolm-the-(then)-13-year-old, and me.

At the end of the film my beloved was quite overcome, and swiftly retreated to the ladies restroom, in part because she didn't want to explain to the teenager why she was so distraught even as she was so verklempt. Malc promptly proved the fine understanding of his mother by turning to me and asking "What's the matter with her?"

As the credits rolled to a close we strolled to the lobby and awaited her return. I sensed someone coming down from the restroom, and saw an elegant looking woman descending the stairs. She looked vaguely familiar, although I couldn't quite place her.

She walked down towards the two guys (another father/son combo) waiting for her.

Now you never like to stare, but I certainly recognized the older gentlemen. It was Sam Shepard....

Which of course meant the lady was... Jessica Lange. (This was when they were still living just outside the Twin Cities, where Shepard worked with Wim Wenders on "Don't Come Knocking.")

So I am standing next to Malcolm, quietly trying to draw his attention to the celebs just feet away from him without being too obvious.

The other trio headed out into the later afternoon sunshine as the still slightly emotional beloved returned from the bathroom. The gloom vanished when we told her who we had just seen.

She didn't believe us of course.

We guys (being guys) immediately said something about how she must have been in the stalls at the same time as Jessica. The beloved treated that with the distain it deserves.

A few moments later when we were outside, we saw them again. Vindication!

And a Thanksgiving story - that didn't happen at Thanksgiving.

Eat well and drive safely!

November 2006
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