It’s not Thanksgiving. It’s not Christmas. It’s not Hannukah. It’s not Kwanza. It’s not even Festivus. What the weekend upon us is, in fact, is the final moment to enjoy any sense of non-holiday-madness for the next five weeks. Make it count.
The final full weekend of regular season NFL play features, among the usual onslaught, high-stakes showdowns with the Redskins at the 49ers, the Patriots at the Lions, and the Dolphins at the Broncos. College football is also gearing up for Thursday’s big game day, but don’t miss the Boston College Eagles at Florida State Seminoles on Saturday.
With snow and single-digit temperatures making a too-early appearance in too much of the country this year, indoor entertainment includes the new The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 soundtrack, season three of Lilyhammer on Netflix, a couple of Stephen King classic cult films on Blu-ray, and the American Music Awards on ABC Sunday night.
Of special note: World Hello Day on Friday is followed on Saturday by HBO’s Hello Ladies: The Movie.
Here are 16 Reasons Why This Weekend Won’t Suck.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 soundtrack
According to hipster music outpost Pitchfork, “There are few safe choices on Mockingjay, one of the most thrilling soundtracks for a blockbuster film series in recent memory.” The album certainly provides a ready-to-spin playlist of super-contemporary alterna-pop, with Charlie XXC, Tove Lo, Chvrches, Bat for Lashes, and Lord (two times). There’s also a wildcard number from ’80s club icon and Bond girl Grace Jones. If you don’t know already, Google what Grace Jones looks like: do you think those Hunger Games kids would stand a chance against her?
Lilyhammer: Season 3 on Netflix
Steven Van Zandt, who famously played strip-club owner Silvio Dante on The Sopranos, heats up Norway again with his New Jersey gangster charm in season three of Lilyhammer. The very first Netflix original series is a riotously funny fish-out-of-toxic-waste story, and Van Zandt is perfect as a mobster in the land of the ice and snow and the midnight sun and unimaginably polite people.
Davis Cup Final
Swiss tennis monster Roger Federer aims to score a first-time Davis Cup victory over France in a best-of-five championship series being played on French clay all weekend long. Even with 17 grand slam singles wins and a 2008 Olympic gold medal under his belt, Federer still doesn’t have that Davis Cup title. By Sunday, that may (or may not) be history.
All Relative (Theaters and On Demand)
Harry hooks up with a hot cougar. Case closed, right? Harry then meets the woman of his dreams and is invited to meet her parents for a long weekend. Harry then learns the cougar he hooked up with is his new girlfriends’ mom. This is the story of what happens.
Monkey Shines and The Dark Half on Blu-Ray
Shout! Factory releases two Stephen King cult classics directed by zombie maestro George A. Romero on Blu-ray, each of which provides new chills in high definition. Monkey Shines (1988) chronicles a quadriplegic athlete whose helper monkey, Ella, becomes overly protective—as in, lethally so. The Dark Half (1993) stars Timothy Hutton as a writer whose evil persona on the page becomes so powerful that he comes to life, with an interest in bringing death to all those around him.
The third entry in the popular cult horror film series V/H/S opens Friday in theaters, while it also becomes available via Video on Demand. As with V/H/S (2012) and V/H/S 2 (2013), V/H/S Viral is an anthology of found footage terror shorts. The stories here include an evil magician, an unexpected portal to a horrific alternate dimension, and teenage skateboarders who run afoul of a Mexican death cult.
Islanders at Penguins
When last New York met Pittsburgh on the ice, the Penguins decisively beat the Islanders 3-1, and last year the birds won all three matchups. That’s a lot for the Islanders to face down tonight, making it all the more compelling to see if this is the moment where their bad pucking luck turns around.
World Hello Day
The idea for World Hello Day is that each of us should go out and, face to face, “greet ten people for peace,” and it’s been getting a lot of play on Facebook. Make it ten chicks and perhaps you’ll be greeting them for a piece….
Hello Ladies: The Movie on HBO
Cartoonishly long-limbed British funnyman Stephen Merchant is best known as the creative partner of Ricky Gervais and, unfortunately, not really known at all for starring solo in last year’s hilarious HBO series, Hello Ladies. The saga of a too-tall UK dork striking out with women repeatedly in Los Angeles was a masterwork of cringe comedy and, graciously, HBO is giving Merchant’s creation a proper send-off on Saturday night with the series-concluding Hello Ladies: The Movie.
Boston College Eagles at Florida State Seminoles
The Eagles host the undefeated Seminoles, so if hope for a Boston victory seems dim, that may be all the more reason we could possibly see an upset as Thanksgiving looms. Still, Florida State is favored by 20.5 points, so it may be all about beating the spread. Either way, prepare for a delightfully nerve-wracking game.
Harvard vs. Yale “The Game”
Because I know that a majority of our readers are Ivy League educated, most of you already know that this weekend is The Game. But for those of you unaware of how much of a great party this game is, look no further than the parking lot where ESPN’s GameDay trailer is parked because that’s where Chris Fowler, Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit will be this Saturday.
DC Craft Beer Festival: Winter Harvest
Our nation’s capitol flows with liquid cold this Saturday as 75 breweries bust out 150 hops-and-barley creations at the DC Craft Beer Festival: Winter Harvest. The event’s Grand Tasting goes down in two sessions, one beginning at 1pm, the other beginning at 6pm, wherein participants pick up a cup and get set loose among the taps. Three cheers for the red, white, and brew.
Heat at Magic
Florida hoops gets no hotter than when Miami battles Orlando, even when both teams are looking relatively limp at game time. The 6-6 Magic obviously has an edge on the 5-8 Heat, but the season is young and this could be the moment between rivals that ignites a hot streak—or two.
American Music Awards on ABC
The 42nd annual AMAs, hosted by Pitbull, will be rolling out a barrage of pop superstars, past and (overwhelmingly) present. Among those scheduled to perform are Taylor Swift, Lorde, Charlie XCX, T.I., Imagine Dragons, Iggy Azalea (twice) and, hang on to your ten-gallon hat, Garth Brooks.
Superstar New York DJ-producer duo the Chainsmokers, still riding high from the club smash “#Selfie”, will be spinning crowds into sheer ecstasy (get it?) at the MGM Grand’s Hakkasan in Las Vegas. Expect many, many selfies to be snapped—every single one of them out of focus.
Redskins at 49ers. Patriots at Lions. Dolphins at Broncos. These are the games (along with all the others being played on Sunday) that set up the high-stakes road to the Super Bowl that kicks off, for real, on Thanksgiving. No matter what your fantasy roster looks like at this point, the specter of post-season madness is coming down fast. Will you make it? Will any of us? Yeah, but it’s pretty fun to freak out in the process.