We’re very quickly charging into what is the most family-intensive season of the year. Thanksgiving’s cattle drive draws together crazy aunts, grumpy uncles and too-cool-for-school cousins from all over the globe to sit at a table while packing carbo bombs into their mouths and relentlessly talking over one another. Maybe you are blessed enough to have a family that is loving, supportive, and totally in sync with your needs; for the rest of us, here are five dysfunctional family movies available on Netflix streaming that should make you feel a lot better about your own brood.
We might as well start this list with one of the more exhaustively dispiriting offerings: John Wells’s adaption of the TracyLetts play is loud, brutal, and only occasionally relenting (mostly in a tacked-on “happy” ending for co-star JuliaRoberts that literally makes no sense in context of what came before it), but it also features a stellar cast, including Roberts, ChrisCooper, Margo Martindale, Ewan McGregor, Benedict Cumberbatch, and MerylStreep — each pitted against one another in an emotional sort of Hunger Games. Just do yourself a favor and kill the picture immediately right after the last shot of Streep up on the stairs looking bewildered in order to preserve the vibe of abject misery.
I’m a reasonable woman, by which I mean I don’t get riled easily. I understand that not everything in life, or on the Schuylkill Expressway, will go my way. In the sanctuary that is my own home, however, I expect to have some agency. I don’t.
A few weeks back, my husband Doug put “popcorn” on the shopping list we keep on the kitchen counter. When I did the weekly shopping, I dutifully bought a box of six packets of microwave popcorn. When I went to put it away in the cabinet, I noticed there were already two open boxes of popcorn on the shelf, along with another full box. So … why was popcorn on the shopping list? A fit of artificial-butter-flavor insecurity? A sudden mass craving? Nah. Doug had taken the last packet from yet another open box and mindlessly put popcorn on the list without checking to see if we still had any popcorn. And the reason there were so many boxes of popcorn in that cabinet? This wasn’t the first time.
Philly videographer Cory Popp has put together a new video that chronicles an afternoon in the life of the Crowd Pleaserz, a local family that puts on breakdancing shows on SEPTA trains and in the subway stations. He tells the story behind how he met them and how the video came to be:
Do you like the idea of camping—cozy fire pits, ghost stories, S’mores—but don’t really love pitching tents or dousing yourself in bug spray? We have a solution: Outdoorsy Weekend at The Oval on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway takes place October 3rd to October 5th, offering plenty of camping-inspired activities for all ages.
Local TV production company Nancy Glass Productions is on the hunt for Philly-area families looking to shed weight and get healthy for a new reality show. Center City training studio Unite Fitness is signed on to work with overweight families of four or more, who are willing to work toward a healthier lifestyle.
I was once told by an older gentleman that it is not a true family gathering unless one person leaves crying and another leaves in a huff.
There is a lot of truth in this humorous remark.
Family, by definition, are the people who you have to be with this time of year. When you put too many divergent personalities together in a room, there is bound to be friction. Now that the opening act of Thanksgiving is over and all of the relatives have safely returned home, it is time to gear up yet again for the main event: Christmas week. How does one adequately prepare for even more quality time as children, spouses, in-laws — and the occasional stray dog that always seems to end up as part of the scene — arrive? If that is not enough, this time you might even get snowed in with them.
My cousin, Saul ‘Sonny’ Shister, was shot to death in 1955 in Montreal in an apparent game of Russian Roulette with his buddies. He was 17.
I never met Saul, but his death has been haunting me. Why would his friend, Harvey Litwack, brandish a .32-calibre revolver as the group left a downtown club? Even after Litwack emptied what he thought were all the bullets, why would he pull the trigger at one, then two, of his pals? Read more »
The challenges aren’t yet over for Sarah Murnaghan, the young cystic fibrosis patient who recently received a second lung transplant at CHOP after her first one failed. According to a Facebook message posted by Janet Murnaghan, Sarah’s mother, the 10-year-old has developed pneumonia in her right lung, which poses substantial problems for her recovery despite her being more stable today. Murnaghan, however, remains hopeful:
“Sarah has developed pneumonia in her right lung. They believe its caused by aspirations from her belly. Yesterday was tough. Today she is more stable, but this is definitely a large set back. Thank you for the love and prayers. We have an amazing team of doctors who go above and beyond but also walk this road with us in such a kind and compassionate way. Thankful to God for this day!”
10-year-old Sarah Murnaghan, who has cystic fibrosis, received a much-publicized lung transplant on June 12th this year. Soon after the surgery, her mother said today, Sarah’s health began to “spiral out of control,” and she was placed on a bypass machine that would only allow her to survive for one week. Three days after the first failed transplant, however, a second pair of lungs came through. That operation, also performed at CHOP, was risky: The pair of lungs she received were infected with pneumonia. It seems to have gone well, though, and she is now awake and communicating. [NBC 10]
In 2002, a Lancaster County woman named Brenda Heist dropped her two kids off at school and then went to a park, where she sat down on a bench and cried. Distraught over financial troubles resulting from a pending divorce, she accepted an offer from three complete strangers to hitchhike to South Florida. And that’s where she stayed for the past eleven years, living under bridges, in shelters, and with a man in his Key West camper. Yesterday she resurfaced, three years after being declared legally dead.
Brenda Heist: Before and After
Lititz Borough Detective John Schofield said she turned herself into Key Largo police in Florida on Friday, prompting him to meet with her earlier this week. “She said she was at the end of her rope, she was tired of running,” Schofield said. Whether her ex-husband and children are ready to accept her back into their lives is another question. “There were people in the neighborhood who would not allow their children to play with my children” said Lee Heist, who was once suspected of having killed Brenda. Their 19-year-old daughter is a sophomore at West Chester University and her son, 23, who’s seeking a carrer in law enforcement, graduated from there too. [6 ABC]