Dysfunctional Fun for the Holidays


Family love is messy, clinging and of an annoying and repetitive pattern… like bad wallpaper. -Friedrich Nietzsche

This year, for the first time in many years, I am heading home for the holidays. Most of my family live in Oregon, and as much as I’d like to see them every year for the holiday season, I don’t like dealing with airports. Rare circumstances are bringing me home this year though, and I’m really looking forward to it — despite having to deal with air travel and lengthy flights.


I’m pretty fortunate in that my family is fairly low-key and drama free during the holidays. Sure, we have our political squabbles, but we mostly hang out and eat, watch movies and plays cards. [Side note: If I win at cards my dad will say it is “luck,” and if he wins it is inevitably due to “skill.”]


If you too are visiting loved ones this holiday season, take a moment to ponder how lucky you are that you don’t belong to the following families.


A Christmas Tale

A bone marrow transplant, mental illness, self-injury, alienation, general family dysfunction and Catherine Deneuve. It’s a very French holiday film!


City Island

The Rizzo family is sent into turmoil when the patriarch of the family brings home an ex-con to stay with them. Everyone in this family has a secret, but no one’s sharing, and the consequences could be incredibly uncomfortable.


The Family Stone

The Stone family presents a united front when eldest son Everett brings home his fiancé, Meredith, whom they all despise. Feeling out of place, Meredith begs her sister to join her in the Stone household, setting off a series of further complications.


The Family That Preys

Two families are torn apart by ambition, secrets and infidelity — in the end, will they come back stronger than ever?


The Kids Are All Right

Two moms, two kids … and one sperm donor interloping with family affairs. This is a sweet comedy where the kids of the title may have it more together than the adults.


Little Miss Sunshine

A dysfunctional and emotionally bankrupt family is brought together when the youngest member of the clan is accepted into a beauty pageant. Despite complications due to drugs, Nietzsche and a recent suicide attempt, the family ultimately triumphs.


Our Idiot Brother

When idealistic and sweet-natured Ned is kicked out by his hippy girlfriend, he decides to visit each of his three sisters, quickly sending each of their lives into disaster.


The Royal Tenenbaums

Cancer, resentment, secrets, depression, attempted suicide, unrequited love — it’s all here.


Step Brothers

Two stunted man-children (Will Ferrell & John C. Reilly) must learn to get along after their mother and father  marry.


Sixteen Candles

Poor Samantha. All she wants is for someone in her family to remember that it’s her sweet 16th birthday — unfortunately the only person who seems to take an interest in her is a nerdy boy named Ted.


This is Where I Leave You

When their father passes away, four grown but stunted siblings return to their childhood home to sit Shiva with their free-speaking mother.



Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins

Successful talk-show host RJ Stevens was bullied and put upon by his family as a child. When he visits home he’s determined to show everyone how much he’s changed. Unfortunately, RJ’s Southern relatives have other plans.


Am I missing any of your favorites? Feel free to share in the comments below!

Happy Upcoming Holidays,


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One response to “Dysfunctional Fun for the Holidays

  1. Pingback: November 2015 Recap | Eleventh Stack

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