Top Five: Worst Movie Families with Whom to Spend Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving can be the most difficult holiday to get through. It's a time for family to come together and experience all of the old resentments and hidden issues that drove them apart in the first place, but without the catharsis of a gift-giving session. If you're lucky, you belong to a family content to make idle chatter before gorging on turkey and falling into a tryptophan coma in front of the Aggies vs. Longhorns game.
The Jarrets: A churning cauldron of anger, hurt, bitterness and guilt. Timothy Hutton and Mary Tyler Moore in Ordinary People
But even if you belong to a family with an overbearing mother, disdainful dad, resentful sibling, and two or more junkie cousins, you can take some solace in the fact that you at least don't belong to a family like the following.
5. The Jarretts, Ordinary People
On the outside, the Jarretts seem like just about any other American family, but of course like just about any other American family, they're hiding years' worth of seething anger and guilt. Their son, Conrad (Timothy Hutton), returns home after a four-month stay in a mental hospital following a suicide attempt. Conrad, it seems, is suffering from post-traumatic stress and survivor's guilt stemming from a boating accident that claimed the life of his brother Buck. Over the course of the film, it's revealed that Conrad's suspicions are correct: His mother Beth preferred Buck over Conrad and resents Conrad for having been the one who survived. Beth, played to perfection by Mary Tyler Moore, is a roiling cauldron of hate and hurt beneath a worn veneer of upper-class normality. Conrad's father Calvin (Donald Sutherland) is largely a pushover, so the only aid he gets in dealing with his mother's resentment is from his psychiatrist. The prospect of spending time with the Jarretts is worsened by the fact that their problems are extremely realistic and could occur in any home regardless of wealth or station.