Well, Halloween has been over for quite awhile now. I've just finished all my candy that I got trick or tr...from legitimate purchases and I'm not about to let my blood sugar drop just yet. The big day of eating is soon upon us and I hope you've all been stretching your stomachs. We're officially hitting that long descent into madness that is the big ol' holiday season. However, you are truly lucky my friend; you've got heavymetalmage here to guide you through these holidays, starting with Thanksgiving. Now Thanksgiving is really an American holiday so I've prepared a bit for our international friends.
You thought I forgot aboot
(Sorry.) Your Thanksgiving is all the way back on the second Monday of October. That was before this series was even a thought in my mind this year. I wouldn't claim to be a master of holidays if I wasn't, so you should know that I celebrate Victoria Day, Canada Day, and Boxing Day like any good citizen of the world should. My advice found within should apply for the next time Thanksgiving rolls around, so maybe invite me over for some eats then.
Québec: Puisque vous les gars parlent français, il suffit d'utiliser Google Translate pour traduire mon article. Quelque part, je doute que cela va fonctionner correctement.
The rest of the world:
Wow! Who knew I was this popular?
Before I go too far in this downward spiral of digression, let's bring it back to the subject at hand. Thanksgiving is a day of eating, family, and being thankful or some shit. Whether you love it or hate it, I'm gonna make sure you have the best Thanksgiving possible with these selections of anime, video games, movies, TV shows, and internet entertainmenticals.
Nothing says "I'm avoiding my family" like staying in your room and watching anime. Thanksgiving, other than being decidedly not Japanese, is a holiday that's perfect for that. You may have to go to grandma's house and spend time with crazy cousin Ed or your creepy nieces, Cindy and Mindy, but that doesn't mean that you have to be social! I've selected some fine pieces of anime for those of us that want to enjoy the Thanksgiving experience but want to be hermetic at the same time.
1. Samurai Champloo
What happens when you take two unbeatable samurai and one tea house waitress, put them on an impossible quest, and make them starve from time to time? You get some of biggest displays of overeating since the Pilgrims gorged themselves that first Thanksgiving. Jin, Mugen, and Fuu are an intriguing trio on a quest to find a "samurai who smells of sunflowers". Along the way, they must contend with deadly assassins, fiercely competitive eaters, crazed baseball-playing foreigners, and even zombies. Set against the Edo period in Japan and heavily influenced by modern hip hop, Samurai Champloo
delivers on comedy, action, and straight up gluttony.
2. Fullmetal Alchemist
Speaking of Gluttony...we quickly segue to Fullmetal Alchemist
! This is the tale of Edward and Alphonse Elric and their adventures in alchemy. Of course, not all is well, as Ed and Al must battle against the seven deadly sins incarnate (including Gluttony) as well as finding the truth behind their own family, the government, and the nature of their world itself. Along the way, Ed and Al meet many great characters that truly flesh out this fantasy action series. I highly recommend spending this Thanksgiving with at least a few episodes because when you're reminded of how Al can't eat a lick of food, you might just be that much more thankful this holiday.
3. Fruits Basket
When I think of a fruit basket, my mind quickly turns to a cornucopia. This is one of the main symbols of Thanksgiving, what with the harvest and so on and...sorry, I'm trying, I swear. I mean Thanksgiving is not a Japanese holiday. Even Funimation isn't having any Thanksgiving promotions and they usually have promotions for every
holiday. Give me a break on this one. Fruits Basket
revolves around Tohru, an orphan who would rather live in a tent in the woods than let everyone know that she is on her own. She is invited to the home of Yuki, who, along with his two cousins, transform into animals of the Chinese Zodiac when hugged by a member of the opposite sex. UH OH. Nothing like a little shoujo romantic comedy with a slice of pumpkin pie to pass your Thanksgiving afternoon. I can guarantee that this one will be playing at decoy octopus' house this Thanksgiving.
4. Dead Leaves
Well you see, IT IS fall and the leaves are dying or dead. Yes, another title association only. However, this off-the-wall anime is gross and bizarre and great for a little shock value. Maybe you could use it to scare away those few family members that are still trying to either spend time with you, give you an intervention, or whatever families do. I'm not even gonna try to summarize the plot for you. Instead, I'm gonna hit you with some buzz words to intrigue you: Naked crime spree. Moon prison. Jailbreak. Pregnancy. Spies. Machine guns. Giant caterpillar. Production I.G. If that hasn't convinced you to watch this, nothing will.
One of my favorite holiday memories is getting to spend time with a certain cousin of mine who I only got see a few times a year. Even though we'd only see each other then, we'd somehow be playing the same video games at the same time and would spend the holidays hijacking one of my grandma's TVs. With no further ado, here are some games you and your family can bond over this Thanksgiving.
1. Kirby's Dreamland
When it comes to eating...well anything, food included, Kirby is the go-to guy. Although Kirby's Dreamland
is not necessarily my favorite in the Kirby universe, the plot is Thanksgiving related. Good ol' King Dedede has stolen all the food in Dreamland for some sort of a giant feast (Hmmmm...) and it is up to the Pink Vacuum to get that food back. The only downsides to this game are: A. You don't get all the nifty powers that you do in Kirby's other adventures (now his signature move) and B. this is a Gameboy game. Not a Gameboy Color, not a Gameboy Advance, not even a DS. Yep, that big gray brick that you are currently using as a paper weight, or maybe as a conversation piece, just might have another use. Maybe, just maybe, grabbing that Gameboy will remind you of Thanksgiving 1991 when your cousins gathered around you and marveled at your skills as you pounded enemies in your brand-new Battletoads
game. I suppose you could grab this game on the 3DS Virtual Console but, you know, *insert 3DS joke here.* Just grab 4 AA's and you'll be on your way to some high-flying, foodtastic, Kirby adventures!
2. Tecmo Cup Football Game
I guess Thanksgiving is about football too, for some people at least. Can't you just hear them (your family) yelling at the TV? "Hey *your name here*, why don't you come watch the game? The *football team* is beating the *football team*!" By picking up Tecmo Cup Football Game
, you can simply reply, "No thanks, I'm already playing a football game." When they rush over to see what you're doing, you can really stick it to them when they discover you are playing a soccer game. You can tell their misinformed asses that this is indeed a "football" game and they really should work on being more cultured. Another great reason to play this game is that it was never released. It was planned for a European release for the Mega Drive/Genesis and got cancelled but a poorly translated ROM exists on the interwebs. Between its RPG-style gameplay, 30 color-swapped playable characters...let's put it this way, this game is pretty much a standalone version of Blitzball from Final Fantasy X
, only on land, instead of in water. At least you won't have to put up with this
just to play the game.
3. Grand Slam Turkey Hunt/Various Hunting Games
Well Grandma went and put your hippy cousin Fern in charge of the turkey this year. Yep, you've got a tofu
turkey on your hands here. Get off that barstool and untie that necktie from the ceiling fixture; there is still hope! You can pretend that you killed your very own turkey in Grand Slam Turkey Hunt
! This game was released in 1999 for the PC (yep, it'll run on Windows 98!) and it simulates going out and shooting that tasty bird. There's also a veritable truckload of hunting games on the market these days. Let's say you didn't get invited on that big hunting trip this year (something about "the accident" that no one is allowed to talk about) and you still want that drunken, finger-numbing, backwoods experience. These fine games can simulate those very woods; the harsh cold and drunkenness is up to you. So why not quit hunting the deadliest game of all (man) in the latest Call of Duty
game and pick up a crappy late 90's PC hunting game for this Thanksgiving!
4. Age of Empires III: WarChiefs
Need an RTS fix? Need a historical RTS featuring Native Americans
fix? Sounds like Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs
is just what the medicine man ordered. Playing off the highly successful Age of Empires
formula, The WarChiefs
lets you play as three different tribes: the Iroquois (Thanksgiving related), the Sioux (semi-Thanksgiving related), and the Aztec (decidedly not Thanksgiving related.) You can also play as a European country that is looking to start a new colony, just like those snappily-dressed Pilgrims did so many years ago. All the classic RTS elements are here including building fortifications, harvesting supplies, and attacking your enemy. You can even revolt and start your own country. Whew! This is getting to be some pretty heavy stuff to be doing on such a full stomach. Really whether you're looking to dodge smallpox or escape religious persecution, this is the game for you.
Maybe a better place to spend this Thanksgiving would be at the movie theatre. Most of the holiday blockbusters open around now and are here to propel us into the next phase of this holiday season. But if you don't want to hang out with 50+ strangers this Thanksgiving, why not watch some of these fine films?
1. Pieces of April
If there was every a movie that captured what it was like to be the black sheep of your family, this is it. This independent comedy-drama features a pre-Tom-Cruise's-witchcraft Katie Holmes as April: the family reject who must host Thanksgiving for her kin. This movie also includes such acting talent as Oliver Platt, Patricia Clarkson, and Alison Pill, as well as family drama, ruined meals, and all the fixings for a crazy Thanksgiving. Pieces of April
is an excellent film for anyone who enjoys great actors doing what they do best, and just so happens to fit our Turkey Day theme.
Let's face it: Pilgrims at Thanksgiving are only half the story. The Native Americans really bailed their asses out, didn't they? Why not have a closer look at Native American/Colonist relations in Pocahontas
. On second thought, this Disney animation is rife with historical inaccuracies. Heck, you've got a twenty-something Pocahontas hanging with John Smith, (she was really a tween,) as well as some sort of pug hanging out a raccoon. Oh and then there's some kind of talking willow tree? All I ask is that if you watch this movie, please don't base your historical knowledge of Pocahontas on it. This movie should be viewed for entertainment purposes only and if you'd like to sing "Colors of the Wind" or something.
This movie is essentially the Home Alone
of Thanksgiving. And really, why shouldn't it be? It was written by John Hughes, writer of Home Alone
and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
and it came out in 1991, squarely between these two movies. On the same token, this movie is as much about Thanksgiving as the Home Alone
movies are about Christmas; even less maybe. However, what you do get is slapstick slips, some hits to the nuts, and other totally unrealistic pranks between a regular joe and his girlfriend's rich snob of a son. When the titular Dutch chooses to pick up his girlfriend's son from private school and bring him home for Thanksgiving break, he bites off a bit more than he can chew. The kid is a "high brown belt" and pretty much a piece of shit as far as people go. Along the way, their car gets wrecked, they get robbed by hookers and even stay in a homeless shelter while we all learn a valuable lesson about life. Go us!
4. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
John Hughes must have really liked Thanksgiving. In yet another film written by him, two of the biggest 1980's comedy titans (Steve Martin and John Candy) come together to star in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
. When missed cabs, blizzards, and burnt up rental cars keep Neal Page (Martin) from getting home to see his family for Thanksgiving, he's forced to team up with the obnoxious Del Griffith (Candy). It's been quite awhile since I've seen this movie but the "Those aren't pillows..." line is still with me today. Anyone who has seen the movie probably remembers it and if you haven't seen it yet, now you have an excuse to pop it and give it a watch.
While the rest of the fam watches the football game, there just might be some quality television airing this Thanksgiving. I'm sure that is exactly what Abraham Lincoln had in mind when he travelled throught time to battle that giant robotic turkey in order to save...nope, that was a dream I had.
1. Some Random Marathon
Every Thanksgiving, cable TV networks gear up the best of the best for a Thanksgiving Day Marathon! Back to back episodes of your favorite TV shows are aired on pretty much every network out there, probably for the same reason that an article like this is hard to write: there really isn't much out there that is Thanksgiving-themed. However, these marathons are great for throwing on as some background noise or at least to fall asleep to as the tryptophan kicks in. Who knows, you might even find a show you like! One of my personal favorites that seems to get shown every Thanksgiving would be Mythbusters
. So why not tune in, chill out, and relax while you let your pants size go back down.
2. Man vs Food
In this Travel Channel series, host Adam Richman travels to different cities around the U.S. in order to take on their "big" food. Typically, a challenge of competitive overeating or some sort of insane spiciness is involved, probably along with a shitton of indigestion. Apparently Richman exercises a lot and tries to stay healthy while on the road. I kinda wonder what his Thanksgiving is like. Perhaps, he'll visit a turkey farm and...well, you can guess the rest. I'm not a fan of the show, but who knows, watching it just might make you feel a little bit better about all that food you just packed away.
3. King of the Hill
King of the Hill
is an excellent cartoon that just happens to be one of the few cartoons, much less TV shows, to get Thanksgiving right. We all know that Hank Hill loves propane (and propane accessories) and he loves to use them on Thanksgiving. Two episodes come to mind in the King of the Hill
Thanksgiving tradition. In "Happy Hank's Giving", the Hill clan is headed off to Montana to celebrate Thanksgiving with Peggy's family. However, when a freak Texas snowstorm strikes, the Hills are stranded at the airport with no delicious deep-fried turkey in sight. In one of my all-time favorite episodes, "Spin the Choice" Bobby inadvertently learns the true meaning of Thanksgiving from John Redcorn while Peggy concocts either the greatest or perhaps worst game of all time. Once again, it's up to Hank to avert yet another family crisis.
4. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
Charlie Brown is a bit of a holiday whore. With the ever successful A Charlie Brown Christmas
, there has been a Charlie Brown special for just about every holiday out there. I am "thankful" for this because, once again, there's not a lot of Thanksgiving material out there for (soon-to-be) holiday fans. This special was the 10th prime-time Charlie Brown special produced. By this point in time, I think they were perhaps getting low on ideas but on the other hand, Peanuts
ran for nearly 50 years, so there you have it. Anyway, Charlie B and sister Sally are all set to have T-giving with their grandma and whatnot until Peppermint Polly...
err, Peppermint Patty rings up Chuck and invites herself, and others, over to his place for Turkey Day. Charlie Brown, being the worthless guy he is, doesn't know a thing about cooking and ends up making toast and some other various snacks for everyone. Peppermint Patty gets angry but grandma saves the day by having the whole gang over for a satisfying meal. Also Snoopy dresses up as a Pilgrim and accidently fires a musket. Very cool.
Typically the only melodies heard around my house on Thanksgiving involve abrupt emissions of gas. Gross. If you need something to cover up Uncle Roger's... expulsions, here are four Thanksgiving-themed melodies to help drown them out.
1. Eat It - Weird Al
If Michael Jackson is the King of Pop, then Weird Al is the King of Parody. My first concert was a Weird Al concert at the tender age of 9. Let's just say I haven't been right ever since. In "Eat it"
, we get some good advice for Thanksgiving. This year, just remember when you're carrying that overloaded plate of food to the dinner table, it's what Weird Al would have wanted.
2. Fat - Weird Al
Whoa! Another Weird Al/Michael Jackson parody? Back in Halloween I even recommended a certain MJ track but I assure you, I can't think of any other Michael Jackson songs for any other holidays; although, there is a Jackson 5 version of "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus". Before I get too far off track, this time around
, Weird Al lays on the lard with this parody of "Bad". There's something very satisfying about watching Weird Al perform Michael Jackson dance moves in fat suit. So if you "Eat it", you just might end up "Fat". Eh, who cares, it's Thanksgiving.
3. Thanks Anyway - Rudy + Blitz
This is a track from my own personal collection of miscellaneous music. Rudy + Blitz was a 1990s Philly-based band that, although signing with a major label, never got their album, Reverb on the Click
, released. Long story short, let's just say there was some shittiness on the label's side, a riot happened, and the album ended up back in the hands of the band. The guitarist went on to join one of my favorite bands and so on and so forth. Anyway, this song
is a bit funky and a bit rockin'. Also, it has "Thanks" in the title so that's really why it's here.
4. Home For The Holidays - Various Artists
I know what you're thinking, isn't this a Christmas song? I did check the lyrics and this song is ambiguous enough to pass as a Thanksgiving song. (The link I have provided should prove this point.)
There is not much out there so there ya have it. Plus, every retail store from Bethlehem to the North Pole is playing Christmas music by this time anyway so I might as well put Christmas songs on this list. Anyway, this song is about going home for Thanksgiving
and eating pumpkin pie and getting stuck in traffic. Sounds like my kind of holiday.
If there's one thing I'm thankful for this year, it's
family, food, shelter
the internet. Odds are that if you're reading this article, you love the internet too. You don't need Google to find internet entertainment this Thanksgiving! Read on to find four links to T-giving-ness.
1. Celebrity Bric-a-Brac First Thanksgiving
In possibly the greatest Thanksgiving-related piece of media in all existence, (well-impersonated) celebrities lend their voices to very knickknacks, as they act out an interesting version of what really happened at the first Thanksgiving.
2. Hilah Cooking
Got the fam coming over to your place for Thanksgiving this year? Got just about as much cooking prowess as a hunk of cardboard? Never fear, Hilah Cooking
is here! In these hilarious and informative videos, Hilah shows you how to make various dishes (including some traditional Thanksgiving fare) without sparing a single swear word.
3. The Addams Family Thanksgiving
A big Thanksgiving thanks to TraitorMagnus
on finding this one. The Addams Family might fit a bit better with a general Halloween theme but in this scene from Addams Family Values
, Wednesday takes it upon herself to reveal the true meaning of Thanksgiving.
4. heavymetalmage Really Phones it in
Thanksgiving is underappreciated in the digital realm. Therefore, I bring you the Wikipedia entry for Thanksgiving. You're welcome.
Well, by now you're probably heating up leftover turkey and stuffing. Black Friday will soon be here, along with Cyber Monday, Go-Into-Debt Saturday, and Sell-A-Kidney-On-The-Black-Market-So-You-Won't-Become-Homeless Wednesday. I'll see you in a few more weeks with a double-header of Christmas and New Year's!