Eating Couch Potato

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The Potato Man is well aware that Thanksgiving is a busy time. A house teeming with relatives, steaming seven-course feasts (followed by cold turkey sandwiches all weekend), and football, football, football on the tube and, if your family be spry enough, a game of touch on the lawn during halftime. But if all those TBS marathons fail to fill your movie stomach, or if you're going it alone this year, here's a few to top it all off.

Dieting? Wing it with a very vegan Hitchcock classic: The Birds (1963). The quiet coastal town of Bodega Bay goes gull-crazy when our long-oppressed feathered friends rise up against us, never once thinking that without human garbage, they'd all starve. Lots of pecking, and the best phone booth scene since "Superman." Pass the soy substitute, please.

But that's not to ignore the true meaning of Turkey Day. It's about Indians or something, right? (If you want pilgrims, see a John Wayne movie). But for Indians, there's only one era: back when it was only just occurring to Hollywood that winning the West was just one big slaughter.

For your consumption: Two Jimmy Stewart westerns. Two Indian chiefs. And both played by white guys. Broken Arrow (1950) was the very first Hollywood movie to side with the Indians. U.S. Scout Stewart saves the life on an Apache child and starts to wonder about the whole "savage" label. A landmark film, enlightenment-wise, though Cochise is still played by a tan-in-a-bottle Jeff Chandler.

Winchester '73 (1950). On the side of the paleface, but intelligent about it, and movie-wise, a far better film. In fact a great film; one of CP's favorites. Sets brother against brother, white man against Indian, man-to-man over a woman, whatever you could want. One of the first of Stewart's dark phase and a gem of the Stewart-Michael Mann partnership. And as Indian warrior Young Bull, complete with prosthetic nose? Rock Hudson.

Potato knows you're probably booked solid; he is too. But a weekend just ain't a weekend without a movie or two. Happy Thanksgiving, and no six-guns at the table.