A Real Walton Reunion
It's 1963 and the entire Walton clan is heading back to Virginia and the old home on Walton's Mountain, even John Boy (Richard Thomas) is heading home having become a successful writer and TV reporter. The only doubt is Elizabeth (Kami Cotler) who is currently journeying around the world but even she makes it home as it will be the last at the old place as John (Ralph Waite) and Olivia (Michael Learned) are planning on selling the old home and building a new one come spring. But as everyone comes home various issues come to the surface from Ben (Eric Scott) feeling that his father doesn't share his ambition when it comes to the family lumber business to Jason's (Jon Walmsley) marriage being fragile as he spends so much time touring. But all their problems are put on hold when news breaks of President John F. Kennedy being assassinated in Dallas and John Boy is called back to report on it.
I should admit that I was a huge fan of The Walton's growing up but as it seems like many I kind of stopped watching them once Richard Thomas left the series. I should also admit that when it comes to the movie spin-offs I have ended up watching them out of order which whilst not perfect is not an issue. Part of the reason for that is just being back on Walton's mountain with all the family is likely catching up with a bunch of old friends.
Now that is what part of what "A Walton Thanksgiving Reunion" is all about as it is a classical reunion movie where we have John Boy considering settling down, Ben having issues with John Snr over the way the business is going, Erin finding things tough as a divorced mother of three trying to hold down a job whilst all the others have their issues and dilemmas to contend with. And it is exactly what you want because this is a genuine catch up movie especially with Richard Thomas returning to reprise his role as John-Boy.
But then "A Walton Thanksgiving Reunion" does something I don't like as it brings in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. I can understand why they did it and for someone like me who came long after the assassination of Kennedy witnessing the reaction of the Walton's to the assassination makes it very real. But for me the previous self contained nature of "The Waltons" is what I loved and the use of this piece of history altered the dynamics too much for me.
What this all boils down to is that "A Walton Thanksgiving Reunion" has some issues but for the most it works and for anyone who grew up watching "The Waltons" it delivers much of that same charms and as I mentioned is like catching up with some old friends.