It’s Thanksgiving weekend, and the Now Playing Podcast crew is taking some time between bonding with family and friends (and eating) to watch some new, and familiar, movies and shows. Here’s what we’re watching this week.
The kids asked to watch The Santa Clause (1994), because of the Disney+ banner for the new Santa Clauses series, so score one for Disney: your plan to revitalize interest in a dead IP by using your streaming service worked this time. I don’t think I’ve seen The Santa Clause since theaters, especially after those sequels sort of killed the goodwill towards this original. We all had a good time, laughing throughout, and getting us in the Christmas spirit. Watching with the kids added to my enjoyment for sure. They liked this so much we very well may end up watching the inferior sequels as we run up to Christmas.
This Thanksgiving gives me a chance to complete my Addams Family journey with the premiere of Wednesday (2022) on Netflix. What will it mean for Tim Burton to finally be in the director’s chair, given how almost every other installment in the franchise was copying his signature Gothic style? And best of all, I’ll have my ooky kooky extended clan gathered around the TV set with me when I watch … including a Harry Potter-obsessed niece who looks to be the target demographic for this macabre spin-off.
Rewatching 2005’s Mr. and Mrs. Smith made me realize the real problem with movies: the third act. Why do we need this? If movies didn’t require a third act, we could enjoy a film like Mr. and Mrs. Smith, in which too-hot-for-TV stars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie play a bored married couple with no idea that they’re both assassins. Then they’re assigned to kill each other, and hijinks ensue. If you were around back when this one dropped, you remember all the “Brangelina” hysteria, and there’s no question the couple is absolute fire on screen together. But once the characters realize who they are, fight it out, and then work it out, there’s not a lot left to the story. That’s why the third act just devolves into a gun battle against an army of red shirts sent to kill the pair, and we don’t ever really learn how they get out of that jam. It’s a recommend because the two stars will make you flush while you’re watching it, and I suppose that’s all any of us really want. Who needs third acts? We gotta get rid of them.
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