The House of Yes (1997)

8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

Fun story

Acting and script maintains a play-like style, flawed but fun

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The House of Yes

Studio:  Miramax Films

Genre(s):  Comedy/Drama

Release Date(s):  October 10, 1997

MPAA Rating:  R


Ready for the world’s worst Thanksgiving, Lesly?

It is Thanksgiving, and Marty Pascal (Josh Hamilton) is bringing his fiancée Lesly (Tori Spelling) home to meet his family.  Marty’s family is odd.  His mother (Geneviève Bujold) is over-possessive, his brother Anthony (Freddie Prinze, Jr.) might be gay, and his sister Jacqueline “Jackie-O” (Parker Posey) is obsessed with the Kennedys and the day that JFK was shot.  As events begin to bubble over, Lesly is about to learn the secrets that Pascals are hiding in their McLean home.

Directed by Mark Waters, The House of Yes adapts the 1990 play by Wendy MacLeod.  The movie was met with mixed reviews and a Razzie nomination for Tori Spelling for Worst New Star.


A family that plays “piano” together, stays together…

I saw The House of Yes when it was rather new and enjoyed it.  At the time, Parker Posey was the darling of the independent film and this movie really shows off the reason.  While Posey is a revelation, the movie is a bit unbalanced.

The problem with this movie is that it is a stage play and often feels like it.  The dialogue mixes with the acting style and it feels like you are watching a stage play put to film.  This hurts the movie in that the dialogue sometimes feels stunted and unrealistic.  It is a shame because the plot is rather devilish and clever.


Have gun, will travel!

Parker Posey steals the show as the manic Jackie-O.  She’s just fun to watch and owns every scene she is in.  Josh Hamilton is bland as the male lead and I think Freddie Prinze, Jr. is a little out of his league as the younger brother.  Geneviève Bujold also feels like she’s in a stage play but her cold nature does overcome this.  There was much criticism of Tori Spelling who at the time was starring on 90210.  She’s bad, but fortunately her character isn’t that bright so it works for her.

The movie does some great imagery involving the JFK assassination.   It is combined with clever editing which livens up the film which obviously is very minimal due to the set-based story.

The House of Yes is an entertaining but flawed film.  It was at the height of the indie-film boom and demonstrated some of the clever writing and style that you would not see in a mainstream film.  The flaws almost ruin the film, but overall, I do find The House of Yes enjoyable.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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