Unusual Movie Choice for a Holiday


For various reasons, it was just the four of us this year for Thanksgiving. With Owen studying forestry in New Haven and Julia working full time as a dietician and studying for her Master’s, the kids lead busy lives. Having this day together felt like a gift.

We all contributed to our Thanksgiving feast. Owen is the cranberry sauce expert. Julia handled the Brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes. Harriet makes sublime gravy. I threw together the stuffing. We’re not huge fans of turkey so we roasted a big chicken instead.

Harriet and I handled the bird together. Even though we have plenty of kitchen experience we were unsure of this chicken thing. One recipe called for a three-pounder. Ours was seven pounds. Another recipe said to start the roasting with the breast side down, then turn it. We didn’t. Another said to twine the legs together, and another said no don’t. Somehow it came out really good—the entire meal did.

And then we did something we haven’t done in a long time: watched a movie together. One reason that doesn’t happen often is that we’re not often all together. Another reason is our vastly different tastes in film. Hard to decide. It can’t always be The Godfather.

Here’s the part that’s hard to admit: one of us (no names) suggested the film American Psycho, and somehow we all gave it the green light. Oh, this movie. It’s not exactly family Thanksgiving entertainment, unless you consider a sociopathic serial killer engaging in horrific acts of degradation and violence family entertainment. After it ended, we were all kind of looking at each other like: what did we just watch?

I admit I was interested when I heard the title. The movie, made in 2000, is based on the 1991 novel American Psycho (never read it) by Bret Easton Ellis, who burst on the literary scene in 1985 at the age of 21(!) with his debut novel, Less Than Zero, about disillusioned rich LA kids home for college winter break and in hot pursuit of sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

That novel I had read when it came out. I was in graduate school at the time and this guy even younger than me had made an enormous splash in the market. I had to find out what he was writing and I wasn’t. It was an intense read, but I never picked up another book by Ellis.

Do I recommend the movie American Psycho? Maybe, but maybe not on Thanksgiving. It was a strange mashup of parody, horror, and thriller. That alone makes it unusual and interesting. Subject matter is a different story.

I’m a little concerned now about Christmas. What if we decide we want to watch a movie again? I could just see us queuing up “North Pole Chainsaw Massacre” and watching Santa Claus and the Grinch face off in a bloody fight to the death.

By David Klein

David Klein

Published novelist, creative writer, journalist, avid reader, discriminating screen watcher.


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