Thanksgiving is a weird holiday.
Placed at the intermission act between the highly marketable Halloween and Christmas, and given no songs or particularly fun decorations, for many, the holiday is just a long term excuse to sit at a table with your family and stare at your room-temperature mashed potatoes while they once again argue over whether gay people should be given human rights.
Luckily for us, traditions can be changed. And I know precisely the vintage action thriller to do the job.
Imagine if the Godfather had strong homoerotic subtext. Imagine if Ocean’s Eleven had two lesbians fighting in a lavish mansion. Imagine if Die Hard had a guy braining another guy with an ice pick and then tossing him into a fish pond.
That is the magic of Martin Scorsese’s “Goncharov.”
Now, I can hear your distrust and hesitation from here, and I do have to be honest. “Goncharov” is a violent movie. If you’re spending Thanksgiving with your wee little cousins, you may want to opt for yet another run of “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” instead. Coincidentally, it came out in the same year. Perhaps it’s not coincidence — Peppermint Patty yelling at Charlie Brown about the insufficiency of his popcorn and jelly bean dinner has haunting narrative parallels to the scene in “Goncharov” where Andrey serves the eponymous main character eggplant parmesan.
Regardless, is there really something so shocking about this year’s holiday classic being a 1970s forgotten mafia classic? People say all the time that “Die Hard” is their favorite Christmas movie, and that is profoundly violent. (I assume, I’ve never seen “Die Hard” and I didn’t want to Google it for this review.) “Goncharov” is funny, it’s intriguing, it has long scenes about fish farming. If you think it has nothing to do with Thanksgiving, you’re wrong. I won’t spoil, but in a certain eleventh-hour brawl scene, a turkey is used briefly as a bulletproof vest.
So take my word for it — next Thanksgiving, when you’re sitting between your aunt Christie and your Pops and listening to them curse the existence of welfare, don’t just dissociate into your recently de-canned cranberry sauce. Put on a CD of “Goncharov,” and get lost in the pain.