Monday, November 20, 2006

Monologue Monday: Thanksgiving!

Who better to kick off this short work week than Christina Ricci, who my friends and I long ago dubbed "Queen of Thanksgiving Trickery." Her career seems strangely off the track but it was delicious all throughout the 1990s, the decade in which she delivered, not one, but two eviscerating cinematic speeches skewering this week's classic American holiday.

We'll kick it off with the hilarious Addams Family Values "White Meat! And Dark Meat! Take it awaaaayyyy..."
Wait, we can not break bread with you.

You have taken the land which is rightfully ours. Years from now my people will be forced to live in mobile homes on reservations. Your people will wear cardigans, and drink highballs. We will sell our bracelets by the road sides, and you will play golf, and eat hot h'ors d'ourves. My people will have pain and degradation. Your people will have stick shifts.

The gods of my tribe have spoken. They said do not trust the pilgrims ... especially Sarah Miller. And for all of these reasons I have decided to scalp you and burn your village to the ground.
~Christina Ricci as "Wednesday Addams" in Addams Family Values (1993). Screenplay by Paul Rudnick.
If that scene alone didn't earn Ricci as a Thanksgiving hall of fame, than consider its companion piece four years later in The Ice Storm in which Ms. Ricci drop kicks the festivities again:
Dear Lord, thank you for this Thanksgiving holiday. And for all the material possessions we have and enjoy. And for letting us white people kill all the Indians and steal their tribal lands. And stuff ourselves like pigs, even though children in Asia are being napalmed.
~Christina Ricci as "Wendy Hood" in The Ice Storm (1997). Written by James Schamus from the book by Rick Moody.
Jesus. Didn't Joan Allen and Kevin Kline (her screen parents) watch Addams Family Values? This is not a young woman who you trust with a family prayer at Thanksgiving.

FWIW, let me just add this: Christina Ricci deserved Oscar nominations for both of those performances, her two greatest. That's my opinion and I've stuck with it ever since I first laid eyes on both the wickedly funny former and the wicked but subtly wounded latter. Fine stuff from a gifted actor.

Tags: actors, cinema, Academy Awards, Christina Ricci, Addams Family, film, movies, film, Thanksgiving

21 comments:

DL said...

I donno, I think her greatest performance was in The Opposite of Sex. But The Ice Storm is a strong runner-up.

steve said...

Oh man I love Addams Family Values. So hilarious.

Kamikaze Camel said...

My fave perf of hers is definitely Addams Family Values then The Opposite of Sex. Watching her crack a smile! Genius. Strange that in that year the best supporting female performances were Christina Ricci and then Anna Paquin (The Piano).

But, yes, truly memorable speeches.

dusty said...

The Ice Storm. Excellent movie. Still Ang Lee's best, to my mind, with Crouching Tiger inching close behind. I know now what I'll watch Wednesday, my first day off ... ever.

Beau said...

Rudnick's script gave her those great words, as well as everyone else (Joan Cusack!!!!. In my humble opinion, it is, was and will continue to be a greatly underrated work of comedy but then, humor is subjective. *shrugs*

And she kicked ASS in 'The Opposite of Sex'.

JA said...

She breaks my heart every time I watch The Ice Storm. That scene where Kevin Kline carries her through the slush, and she allows herself to be his little girl for a minute... amazing.

Beau said...

Also, props on noting her denied Oscar nomination. I've not seen a great deal from '93 (seeing as how I was only six years old at the time) but from what I have seen of it in terms of supporting, most pale in comparison to her brilliant deadpan humor and wit. Bravo.

Stephen G said...

*sigh*, the Ice Storm. Whatta genius movie, the best I saw in 1997. Definitely time to revisit it, methinks. How could all those awards groups have all but ignored it?

adam k. said...

Nat, can we see some retro FB awards from 93 and 97? If you thought Ricci deserved a nom in 97, did you think any others in her film, like Joan Allen and Sigourney Weaver, deserved them too?

I need to see that film again. And The Opposite of Sex too.

Sean Carter said...

Well Thanksgiving is a time when we all can sit together and catch a movie...and feels great to gather round the couch after a delicoius dinner...and hey for some suggestions on movies and other stufs as well you can visit my Thanksgiving Blog sometime and find out all that's there...have a great Thanksgiving!!!!

Kamikaze Camel said...

Allen was lead, Weaver was supporting, i believe. That's what I have em marked down as on my little word document anyway.

Nick Davis said...

I'm not an Ice Storm fan, but I thought Allen and Ricci both deserved Oscar nods.

I've never seen Addams Family Values—I know, I know, you'd think I was hiding in some kind of straight-acting Witness Protection program—but if Ricci had cut into Paquin's kiddie-actor vote and allowed any of those other wack nominees to win, I don't care to imagine what I might have done.

Tram said...

Rofl. Gotta love Paul "Libby Gelman-Waxner" Rudnick.

Anonymous said...

I LOVED that scene in AFV, I laugh every time.

Anonymous said...

Ricci is genius, to be sure, and a rarity among child actors in that her acting always seemed to be effortless and refreshingly natural. Gold star!

'Addams Family Values' is indeed very underrated, but that's no surprise since it's populated by a bunch of solid, underappreciated character actors (e.g. Joan Cusack, Dana Ivey, Christine Baranski, etc.).

A favorite moment in AFV is when Thing jumps up on Debbie's shoulder, and she so cooly and nonchalantly sticks its finger in her mouth. Hee...

Marco

Anonymous said...

I loooove Addams Family Values... one of my favorite comedies ever.

There are so many moments that make me laugh, some for no reason, like when Becky tells Joel "Oh you're allergic? To sunshine? and archery? and crafts?" - I love his voice in his deadpan reply: "yes."

or "Your work is puerile and under-dramatized. You lack any sense of structure, character, and the three Aristotelian unities."

and the classic...
"Pastels?"

Woodstock said...

Wow! I thought I was the only one who considered Ricci more than amazing in Addams Family Values! She's so sarchastic and bitter but still lovely and appealing. I completely LOVE the Pocahontas speech; as an ugly duckling in high school the scene that followed that speech for me was orgasmic.

Goran said...

She was a delight in both Addams Family Values and Ice Storm, but few performances in the 1990s were more perfectly pitched than her Deedee Truitt in Opposite of Sex (or for that matter Lisa Kudrow's Lucia's in the same film)

NATHANIEL R said...

oh all of this reminiscing has me missing my Christina.

what happened to her talent? she seems so not into it anymore when i see her onscreen.

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jbnyc said...

Loved that scene in the Ice Storm. One of many great one from probably what I think is the most hauntingly beautiful films I've ever seen.

I never saw AFV...better put that on my list...I did just see Rudnick's new play Regrets Only last night. He's great with the zingers.