Tag Archives: Patrick Dempsey

Save Room for Pie


by Dustin Meadows

In 2007, Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s ambitious double feature homage to throwback genre pictures, Grindhouse, roared into cinemas. While the film was a commercial failure, it easily found a cult audience, thanks in no small part to the pedigree of the directors and the accompanying pitch perfect fake movie trailers contributed by Rodriguez (Machete), Edgar Wright (Don’t), Rob Zombie (Werewolf Women Of The SS), and Eli Roth (Thanksgiving). It’s taken sixteen years for the latter to be realized, but Roth’s holiday-inspired slasher has finally arrived to join the ranks of Thanksgiving horror flicks like Blood Rage and Thankskilling!

While the original Thanksgiving trailer had more in common with the sleaze and brutality of 80s slashers (like Maniac or Don’t Go In The House), Roth’s finished film falls more in line with contemporary slasher/whodunits, like the Scream films without the meta-deconstruction of horror films and tropes. The film opens with a darkly comic and brutal Black Friday massacre that mirrors the real life chaos of the annual consumer circus, and sets in motion the story that picks up one year later as a killer dressed as a pilgrim and wearing a John Carver mask begins a murderous spree of revenged slayings against the instigators of the deadly Black Friday incident.

Jessica (newcomer Nell Verlaque) is the heart of the film, leading the cast of potential young victims trying to learn who the killer is while avoiding being served up at the dinner table. A very game Patrick Dempsey (fully leaning into his native New England accent) is also along for the ride as the town sheriff working with the kids to put an end to John Carver’s deadly holiday plans. Roth and Jeff Rendell’s script offers up plenty of red herrings throughout the film, and while the killer’s identity will be fairly easy to deduce by most slasher fans, the inspired violence and set piece kills more than make up for the thin mystery of who John Carver really is. Fans of the original trailer will recognize several moments throughout the film (trampoline, anyone?), but Roth manages to shake things up enough to keep you guessing how each act of violence is gonna play out. Sprinkle in a little Rick Hoffman and just a pinch of Gina Gershon, and you’ve got a pretty good dinner!

Though the opening Black Friday scene alone makes this dish worthwhile, the bulk of the film may not measure up to the promise of the original trailer. But that will likely have more to do with the pressure of expectations of modern horror audiences and time passed, and less with the actual execution of the film itself.

Hungry for a new turkey day tradition that delivers on outlandish violence? Skip the Westminster Dog Show and enjoy a helping of Thanksgiving.

A Little Wicked


by Hope Madden

Amy Adams’s small part in Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can stood out, even in that pool of talent. Her role in Phil Morrison’s 2005 indie Junebug nabbed her the first of many Oscar nominations. But she wasn’t really a star until she donned that enormous, sparkly white dress and went searching for love’s first kiss in Disney’s unabashed 2007 mash note to Disney, Enchanted.

Between 2007 and today, Adams has earned an additional five Academy Award nominations and worked with many of the greatest directors and actors to live. The fact that she chose to reprise her role as wide-eyed innocent Giselle in Disney’s tardy sequel Disenchanted is reason enough to be intrigued.

And Maya Rudolph as the evil queen? I’m listening.

Giselle and her beloved Robert (Patrick Dempsey) leave New York City behind for the fairy tale world of suburbia, the now-teenaged Morgan (Gabriella Baldacchino) and their own toddler in tow. Things don’t go as magically as Giselle had hoped, not because suburbia is so terrible, but because having a teenager is.

Desperate for the happily that’s supposed to come ever after, Giselle wishes for a life like a fairy tale. What she forgot is that she’s a stepmother, and that’s never a good thing in a fairy tale. Soon, she’s battling it out with Rudolph’s Malvina to see who really deserves the title of evil.

There’s also a bit about Morgan finding her inner hero, Robert discovering his purpose, there’s a teen romance, dire consequences back in Andalasia, a lengthy animated preamble, and, of course, singing.

Lyricist Stephen Schwartz and composer Alan Menken return with songs less memorable than the three that earned them Oscar nominations in 2007. In fact, besides a couple of exceptional villainous costumes, very little about Disenchanted stays with you.

It’s overstuffed and feels it. Rather than making an interesting point about midlife crises or – better still, the ill effects of a lifetime of Disney nonsense on a female’s outlook and sense of self-worth – Disenchanted settles for a watered-down “everything’s fine” message.

And that’s what the film is. It’s fine. It doesn’t take advantage of its potential, doesn’t even take advantage of its impressive cast. It’s a pretty slog through missed opportunities and aging odes that reflects Giselle’s angst: wasn’t there supposed to be something better than this?