Gimme Five!: Dysfunctional Families

Join us every other Sunday as we treat you to a handful of the best and worst movies, characters, scenes, lines and or other significant cinematic moments. At least in our opinion.

With family day right around the corner, what better way to celebrate than by being thankful that we aren't a part of some of the most dysfunctional families we've seen in comedies. Although we love to watch and laugh at misfortune, drama and sheer insanity, we're grateful that we're not one of them.


Thanks to a remake of the well-loved British dark comedy Death at Funeral, we've been introduced to the Barnes family. What begins a solemn reunion after the death of the family patriarch turns into a mess of blackmail, murder (or so they think), a Valium high, a revealed affair and more, all unravelled through sometimes inappropriate, sometimes childish and always hilarious humour.


Three sibling child prodigies grow up and fall into a slump, as their father tries to win back their and his separated wife's affections, faking cancer after he's kicked out of the hotel he's been living out of. Meanwhile, one son falls in love with his adopted sister, fighting for her affections with his best friend and her much older husband, plus a wreck of other problems. Though it works itself out in the end. Sort of.


The McCallister's are one of my favourite movie families of all time, with some of the best one-liners I've ever heard (and not nearly enough screen time as they deserve). "Look what you did, you little jerk." "You're such a disease." "You're what the French call les incompetents." Of course, all directed at eight-year-old Kevin, who they leave home alone when they go on a family vacation to Paris, unintentionally. No really, it was unintentional.


In 2006, Little Miss Sunshine was the little indie flick that works its way into everyone's hearts, winning awards, critical praise and box office success. But what made this a movie that everyone could fall in love with was just as much its ridiculous scenarios as it was its quirky characters: a teenager taking a vow of silence, a suicidal uncle, a foul-mouthed grumpy grandfather and an aspirational, naive seven-year-old and her parents. The family treks across states to the Little Miss Sunshine beauty contest in a VW bus that always needs a push start so that Olive can win the judges over (or not) with the routine her grandpa taught her to Rick James' Super Freak.


When it comes to dysfunctional families, the Griswolds are a classic. In a road trip from Chicago to LA's Walley World, the nutty, ridiculous family comes across robbery, death, getting lost and utter chaos. And even when they've had enough, despite pleas, their father Clark is determined to make it to Walley World, "America's Favourite Family Fun Park." But that just leads to more insanity.

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