November Roundup: Feel Good Viewing to be Thankful For

November 2nd, 2021

In a few weeks, many Americans will gather to celebrate Thanksgiving,  one of our country’s more ethically problematic holidays, also rightly acknowledged as The National Day of Mourning. It’s an important topic for discussion, and there is much to be done to separate the notion of giving thanks with egregious events that shape our nation’s history and present, so we can pave the way for a more humane future.

That said, there is something very important for which we all need to be thankful that does warrant a celebration feast with love ones. We have a vaccine. Many of us our eligible for boosters. And unlike last year, many will be able to give thanks in the company of their families—biological or otherwise–and break bread together for the first time in way too long. For this we must be thankful. We should also use this time to bolster ourselves for the many challenges ahead.

As such, it is in the spirit of sharing gratitude for and company with loved ones that we recommend  the following feel-good viewing for entertainment and even enlightenment purposes…


THE BRAND NEW TESTAMENT (film, 2016, available to rent on Prime): I watched this with several family members and we were all oohing, aahing, laughing and cheering throughout. A whimsical, funny, inventive and yet extremely poignant dark comedy about the daughter of God, (Himself a petty tyrant), who with the help of her mother and brother JC (the best cinematic Jesus ever!) makes the world a better place with better people—not unlike what Jacinda Ardern’s accomplishing in New Zealand. One of the most fun, upbeat (despite the dark humor), therapeutic films you could hope to see in these dark times.

TED LASSO (series, AppleTV, ongoing): If you don’t have AppleTV, I urge you to find somebody who does, or subscribe for a month and binge the heck out of this series. Much cheaper than therapy, and probably more effective, this fun, funny show truly lives up to the hype. Though it centers around a British football (i.e. soccer) team, it’s not about sports. It’s about the human capacity for kindness and how effective it can be when we apply it. A lesson that would do us all well about now. This hate thing is not working out so well.

ONLY MURDERS IN THE BUILDING (series, Hulu, ongoing): A big Steve Martin fan, I’ll confess I wasn’t as bowled over by the first two episodes as I’d expected. Fun, but not earth shattering, a trifling tip of the toe in the pool. That changed by episode 3, however, and reintroduced our household to a fun phenomenon that’s become nearly obsolete in modern times—the anticipation of having to wait for new episodes each week. This show becomes positively addictive in the most delightful, quirky fun ways. Much like TED LASSO, it’s driven by compassion and full of laughs, but it’s also educational. In it we see two older White guys who are man enough (or is that “woman enough?”) to realize when they’re being the problem and make incredible strides to become part of the solution instead — with the help of a savvy but troubled young woman named Mabel, brilliantly brought to life by Selena Gomez. And while the first two episodes did not put me at the edge of my OMITB addiction seat, they, too, are fun, and contain one of the best lines of the series that literally made French 75 spray out of my nose (a surprise given I wasn’t even drinking one at the time)…

“I mean, a murderer probably lives in the building, but I guess old White guys are only afraid of colon cancer and societal change.”

Kudos to Steve Martin and Martin Short for making older, White gentlemen palatable again and for Selena Gomez for helping to pave the way.


MISTRESS AMERICA (Available on Amazon Prime, Apple iTunes, Vudu): An early collaboration between director Noah Baumbach and co-writer Greta Gerwig. This is a screwball comedy that features a goofball, laugh out loud funny performance from Gerwig who utters lines like, “There’s no cheating when you’re 18. You should all be touching each other, all the time.” Greta Gerwig has proven to be a force to be reckoned with as a writer and director, but she has the acting chops to be a great comedic thespian as well. This is a comedy that touches on the struggles of trying to forge a creative identity and life in the midst of a cold and indifferent world and ends poignantly with a very New York Thanksgiving meal.

THE THANKSGIVING TREASURE (Available on DVD and Turner Classic Movie): It’s not easy to find this television special from1973 but it’s worth viewing during the long Thanksgiving weekend. Based on a popular series from Gail Rock, it’s the story of a young girl growing up in Nebraska in the 1940s. Yes, the intended audience is young people, but spunky Addie Mills inspired legions of young girls who also craved adventure, independence and challenging experiences. A story that celebrates forgiveness, redemption and community is always welcome viewing during the start of the holiday season.

Thanks for reading!



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