Watch List Weekly Recap 11/27/21

Just in time for the holidays: Thanksgiving family-dysfunction movies, a long steep in the Beatles' final days, and a tribute to a titan of American theater.

Watch List Weekly Recap 11/27/21

This is the Friday recap of Ty Burr’s Watch List postings for the week. If you’d like to receive this weekly email ONLY, please go to your account page and under “Email notifications” uncheck every box except “Weekly Digest.” If you’d prefer to not receive it at all, uncheck just “Weekly Digest.”

In the run-up to Turkey Murder Day, I took a look at Thanksgiving movies from “Avalon” (1990, below) to “The Humans” (2021) and wondered why they’re such dark, dark meat. Featuring an appearance by my cousin Bill and his annual holiday reminder that I was wrong about “Pieces of April” (2003).

Elijah Wood and Armin Mueller-Stahl in “Avalon”
The Curse of the Thanksgiving Movie
The Nut Graf: You think holiday movies are full of good cheer? Those are Christmas movies. Thanksgiving movies are all about the families that drive us crazy, from “Pieces of April” (available on demand, **1/2 stars out of ****) to “The Humans” (premiering on Showtime, *** stars out of ****).

Friday I was still digesting Thanksgiving dinner and still digesting “The Beatles: Get Back,” Peter Jackson’s nearly eight-hour documentary reassessment of the famously acrimonious “Let It Be” sessions. It’s like having John, Paul, George, and Ringo over for the weekend.

The Long and Winding Film
The Nut Graf: “The Beatles: Get Back” (Disney+) is Peter Jackson’s nearly eight-hour dive down the rabbit hole of film footage from the 1970 “Let It Be” sessions. Is it too long? Of course it is. Do you love the Beatles? Of course you do. (**** stars out of ****)

I wasn’t expecting to write anything for the rest of the week, but then Stephen Sondheim died, and I was moved to appreciate his enormous talents and consider the ways in which he transformed musical theater from top to bottom.

Stephen Sondheim 1930-2021
In 1979, when I was still in college, I took a date to see a Broadway musical I’d been hearing about. We went in cold, as one did in the days before social media, and our seats were about as far back as you could get without being in the lobby. But I remember as clearly as I remember anything the gala…

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