Addams Family Values

Kooky spooky etc etc.
"The Family Just Got A Little Stranger."

Hello and Happy Post-Thanksgiving Friday Consumer Nightmare! Maybe you've been out shopping, or maybe you're not mental and you stayed home, but either way, there's always good flicks on at the Tagline. As you all may or may not be aware, it's kind of tough to find Thanksgiving themed movies, because there frankly aren't that many of them (as opposed to say Christmas movies). For 2012's offering, check out this link, but I have a really good one this year. I guess you could debate whether or not it's actually a Thanksgiving movie, but I feel like there are some really great related moments, and also that there's a lot of thanks-giving going on. So without further ado, let's talk a bit about Addams Family Values, the 1993 sequel to the 1991 film based around the Addams Family characters created by Charles Addams in 1938. This movie sees the return of the original's cast (mostly, I think that the actress who portrayed Grandmama changed between movies). Raul Julia in what is perhaps his most remembered popular role, portrays Gomez Addams (okay maybe his most remembered role was as M. Bison, but I'm trying to draw attention away from that disaster), alongside Anjelica Huston as Morticia. Christopher Lloyd features as Uncle Fester, and a twelve year old Christina Ricci as Wednesday Addams. The family is rounded out by Wednesday's brother Pugsley, the Frankenstein's monster-esque caretaker of the house Lurch, the disembodied hand Thing, and in this movie we don't see too much of Cousin Itt, but he does show up briefly (and of course Morticia's weird witch-like mother Grandmama). This film opens with the family welcoming a new member, the recently born and grossly named Pubert. In typical child fashion, Wednesday and Pugsley are none too pleased with the new arrival, and set about trying to murder the kid, but fail because this isn't a movie about murdered babies (Not primarily at least).

Arm wrestle a hand without an arm. Then lose.
 The situation gets worse when, in an attempt to get some time to themselves and away from the baby, Gomez and Morticia hire a nanny. Most of the prospects wash out immediately, because the Addams children are possibly literal hellspawn. Finally a lady named Debbie (Joan Cusack) ends up being more than capable of coping with the Addams kids, because she is in fact a homicidal maniac, who has her own purposes for hanging around. Namely she's a black widow and plans to kill Fester after marrying him for his money (I mean if she did that I'd say she earned it). First she needs to get the kids out of her way though, and so she contrives a way to get them sent to summer camp, which is basically like hell (I mean they seem like they think it's like hell, and I would too, camp seems like some sort of nightmare). Things start to look pretty bad for the Addams clan, Debbie's plan starts to come together and Gomez falls into despair. IS THIS THE END FOR THIS FAMILY OF FUCKING WEIRDOS?

Later Mercedes McNab would feature as a vampire so
I guess everything comes full circle.
Well I mean if you want to know why not watch the movie, would that be such a terrible thing to do? I don't think so. For a comic and then television show that originated so long ago, the Addams Family remained entertaining and relevant for a lot longer than one might expect. Existing as inversions of the all-American family, and oblivious to their intense creepiness (or maybe they just don't care) the Addams' offer an entertaining foil to ideas of wholesome families, while still being seemingly devoted to the idea of family. I was never really into the show but I did really like both the movies, as they are extremely entertaining in a silly kind of way. Were the movies attempting to be serious, it would perhaps be a dark and kind of disturbing film, but fortunately it doesn't take ANYTHING seriously, so even the darkest allusions are amusing.

She took some liberties with the story I think.
Despite rehashing some fairly rote gags, the Addams Family Values was received with more generally positive reviews, despite the fact that it grossed far less than the first film (the first grossed over 100 million, whereas this film grossed about 48). I am personally not sure which of the two I prefer, but they're both pretty entertaining, and the second has some pretty classic moments. In particular one has to admire the committed performances of Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston, who manage a very serious delivery of two spectacularly absurd characters (Christopher Lloyd was no doubt used to it after Back to the Future). I can definitely recommend this as a fine Thanksgiving film. Watch the houses burn and hear the children scream. 

That's all for today! Join me next week when I review Mockingjay finally.

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