You know those movies about wacky families that really love reach other under all the craziness? Well, Julia Louis Dreyfuss may not be cooking your High Holiday brisket, and Jane Lynch may not be sorting the sweet potato casserole recipes that will end up on your Thanksgiving table, but the sweet families on the silver screen aren’t that different from yours.
Here’s how I know. One of the men who invented the entertainment industry as we know it, Louis B. Mayer, was the son of a scrap metal dealer who became the most powerful man in Hollywood. Mayer would tell people his birthday was the Fourth of July because he was fiercely patriotic. He wanted America to be all marching bands, fireworks and apple pie. So that’s what he put in the movies. He created the images we all associate with our culture and our country.
These days, filmmakers continue to put their dreams and ideals on screen, but in a more modern way. We see their crazy families, but with softer edges, a lot of humor and a sympathetic eye. And there’s frequently a happy ending. With some good dialogue, could that be your Aunt Phyllis instead of Shirley MacLaine? Can you soften the lens this holiday season to see your family more as human beings who love you and less like a clown car full of confused commuters? I bet you can. Remember, Louis B. Mayer created his own reality. Think more apple pie, less fireworks.