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Film: The House of Yes

"Jackie and Marty belong to each other. Jackie's hand was holding Marty's penis when they came out the womb."
Mrs. Pascal describing her twin children

The House of Yes is a witty Black Comedy about a rather interesting Thanksgiving dinner. It stars Parker Posey, Geneviève Bujold, Josh Hamilton, Tori Spelling, and Freddy Prinze Jr. It was originally a stage play by Wendy MacLeod that was adapted by Mark Waters.

The Pascal family is a well-to-do, upper class family in Washington, DC. Mrs. Pascal is an austere snob who cares for her family after her husband "mysteriously" left them behind. There is Anthony, the youngest, and the twins: Marty (Hamilton) and Jackie (Posey). Jackie, aka Jackie-O, is spoiled, stuck-up, and violently insane. She is obsessed with Jackie Onasis and the slaying of John F. Kennedy. She also has major hots for her twin brother, Marty. Marty is perhaps the Only Sane Man in the family. While he and Jackie did have a romantic relationship in the past, he is trying desperately to leave all of that behind and live a normal life. He visits the family during Thanksgiving and brings along a surprise... his fiancée, Leslie (Tori Spelling).

Leslie is a middle class bakery worker from a very humble background so the snobbish Pascal family has trouble accepting her. It doesn't help that Jackie probably wants to kill her. It also doesn't help that Anthony apparently wants to steal her away from his brother. Oh, and there's a hurricane outside, ensuring that everyone stays in the house. In the span of one night, dark secrets are revealed, a loaded gun goes missing, and Hilarity Ensues.


This film provides examples of:

  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Anthony.
  • Arc Words: You be him... and I'll be her.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil
  • Ax-Crazy: Jackie, although she seems to prefer a gun to an ax.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family
  • Black Widow: It's very likely that Mrs. Pascal fits this trope.
  • Blithe Spirit: Leslie.
  • Break the Cutie: Also happens to Leslie.
  • Brick Joke: Jackie laments that she lost her brush and refuses to use a comb for fashion reasons, resulting in a small, bitter tirade. Later, she meets Leslie and freaks out, prompting her to make a quick exit by mentioning that she has to find her hair brush. Leslie offers a comb, only for Jackie to spazz out worse before running off.
  • Brother-Sister Incest: Yeah, 'lil bit.
  • Building of Adventure: The entire movie takes place in the Pascal home.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In this case... an actual gun.
  • Dead Baby Comedy: The movie plays light on the death of JFK, murder in general, and other dark themes.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Jackie and to a lesser extent, Marty.
  • Double Entendre: Jackie makes a slew of these about Marty. It's forgivable if no one gets them, all things considered.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: An in-universe example. Jackie once went to a costume party as Jackie Onasis in the pink dress she wore when JFK was assassinated, complete with fake blood. Also, little bits of pasta. Don't forget the bits of pasta she glued on the dress. Because a Jackie Kennedy The Day Of The Assassination costume would not be complete without little bits of brain. This trope was the reaction she got from the rest of the guests at the party.
  • Evil Laugh: Jackie's reaction to Marty having a girlfriend is a little unnerving... and funny.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The movie takes place over the course of one night (and a little bit the following morning).
  • Family Disunion: One of the more dark examples.
  • Fish out of Water: Leslie
  • Going to the Store: Mr. Pascal did this to the family.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Parker Posey is the definitive "That Gal". We also have Buffy's husband and Donna.
    • At the beginning, we see an old home video of a young Jackie, played by Posey's Josie and the Pussycats co-star Rachael Leigh Cook.
  • Hot-Blooded: Jackie again.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Jackie and Marty go back and forth this way a lot. See the Crowning Moments of Funny.
  • If I Can't Have You: The words aren't spoken, but the trope is in full effect.
  • I Need to Go Iron My Dog: When Jackie meets Leslie and has her Evil Laugh moment, she quickly mentions that she has to comb her hair, setting up the Brick Joke above.
  • Large Ham: Jackie, very much so.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: This is what Leslie means to Marty.
  • Minimalist Cast: There are only five characters in the whole thing. There are barely even any extras.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Averted. Mostly. Jackie ends up simply killing Marty and leaves Leslie alive.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Marty and Jackie enjoyed role-playing as JFK and Jackie-O, reenacting the famous assassination of the president as foreplay. Incest while role-playing the JFK assassination with a live gun?... No thanks, Jackie.
  • Obfuscating Insanity: Leslie accuses Jackie of this. Again, see the Crowning Moments of Funny.
  • Slobs Versus Snobs
  • Spoiled Brat: This is what the title of the movie refers to. Jackie always got her way, so "yes" was always the answer.
  • Tempting Fate: Marty brings Leslie to Thanksgiving diner despite knowing that Jackie would be there. She had previously shot him when he left home and was more than likely still in love with him. It was never going to go well.
  • Thanksgiving Day Story: The movie takes place during Thanksgiving.
  • Twincest: Have you not been paying attention?
  • Twist Ending: Given Jackie's aggressive nature, we assume she initiated the "relationship" with Marty. At the end, a clip is shown from the home video which suggests it was actually Marty who started it.
  • The Ditz: Leslie.
  • Unnamed Parent: We actually never learn Mrs. Pascal's first name. The only other name she goes by is "Mom".
  • Working Class People Are Morons: Leslie could be seen this way, a sweet girl who is a bit lacking in the brains department. Could also be seen as an inversion of this trope, Leslie isn't necessarily stupid so much as being missing the appearance of education and the facade of sophistication and may simply be someone Marty clings to in order to get away from where he came from.
  • What Were You Thinking?: Anthony's reaction when he finds out Marty and Jackie had an affair.
  • Who Shot JFK?: Jackie got a little confused on this one.
  • Yandere: Jackie as evident by her murderous tendencies and thin facade of sweetness.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Two counts. Marty briefly goes back to Jackie at the end of the night. Leslie sees this and immediately goes upstairs and sleeps with Freddy Prinze Jr.

Hard EightFilms of the 1990sHercules

alternative title(s): The House Of Yes
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