Thanksgiving is one of America’s great traditions. The perfect getaway consisting of food, family, football and movies. What’s not to like? For starters, the local grocery store is always out of cranberry sauce, families spend more time arguing than eating, the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys are perpetual losers, and a good Thanksgiving movie is usually hard to come by.
We couldn’t help with the first three issues, but we did some digging and found a few movies worth checking out over the holidays. Check out the list below!
Dutch, one of John Hughes’ lesser productions, finds Ed O’Neil transporting Ethan Randall from Georgia to Chicago over the Thanksgiving holiday. Predictably, the ride goes awry, leading to a series of crazy episodes that somehow bring the two together. While this film plays mostly like a John Hughes Greatest Hits album, full of BB Guns, groin kicks, and lots of goofy bullshit, Dutch still entertaining in spades. Enter after the main course.
Home for vacation
Jodie Foster directed this forgettable holiday drama from 1995 starring Holly Hunter, Robert Downey Jr., Anne Bancroft, Dylan McDermott, Claire Danes, and Guttenberg. Acting and well-directed, Home for the Holidays strays trying to fill both sides of the aisle, leaving us with comedy lacking laughs and drama lacking the necessary emotional payoff. Still, there are enough great moments to make this simple family drama worthwhile.
You know the choices are slim when this forgettable Ben Stiller comedy from 2011 hits the list. Unfortunately, this star-studded affair co-starring Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick, Casey Affleck, Alan Alda, Michael Peña, and Tea Leoni has enough laughs and action to hold someone’s attention for several hours. Unfortunately, there isn’t much in the way Thanksgiving is on display, but the image is centered around the Thanksgiving Day Parade and ends on a positive, hopeful note. Murphy alone is well worth the price of admission; expect nothing more than subpar entertainment, and you will have a great time.
This early Aughties drama from director Peter Hedges features Katie Holmes (at her best) as April, a poor girl who invites her estranged and dysfunctional family to Thanksgiving. As April struggles to prepare a meal with the help of the other tenants in her apartment building, the family travels to New York City and re-explores past family issues along the way. Sweet and funny, with a touching ending that will most likely make your throat choke.
Hana and her Sisters
Woody Allen Hana and her Sisters chronicles the lives of several people — namely, Hannah (Mia Farrow) and her sisters Holly (Dianne Wiest) and Lee (Barbara Hershey) — between three separate Thanksgiving parties. Like most of Allen’s projects, this film tackles some heavy issues – suicide, love affairs, regret, drug addiction – but also provides lighthearted humor and just enough holiday cheer for those seeking positivity over Thanksgiving weekend.
Michael Caine won a well-deserved Oscar for his efforts.
Planes, Trains and Cars
While the list above offers a solid mix of comedy and drama, all entries pale in comparison to the John Hughes classic Planes, Trains and Cars. Starring Steve Martin and John Candy, the film chronicles the tumultuous journey taken by uptight Neal Page (Martin) and big-hearted Del Griffith (Candy) to get home in time for Thanksgiving. Hughes, who wrote and directed, carefully elevates the hilarious mayhem but never forgets the intimate character relationships that elevate the film to extraordinary heights. One of the best holiday movies ever produced.
Other Thanksgiving Movie Recommendations:
Judd Apatow’s overly long and bloated drama isn’t necessarily about Thanksgiving but features an extraordinary scene during the holiday where the entire cast — Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann, and Jonah Hill, among them — come together to discuss the importance of cherishing the time we have. have on this little blue planet.
Ang Lee’s strong drama takes place over Thanksgiving weekend, but it’s definitely not the kind of movie to watch with the family. However, if you are looking for a very well acted, dark, and moody drama, this is for you!
And in Real Life
And in Real Life feels like a Thanksgiving movie, even though it’s not a Thanksgiving movie. Maybe it’s family gatherings, warm desserts, all meals, or maybe we really like Steve Carrell, but we’re not going to judge whether you tuck this one in during your second slice of pumpkin pie.
Addams Family Values
Those seeking dark humor should enjoy Barry Sonnenfeld’s work Addams Family Values, which features a sequence in which Wednesday Addams (Christina Ricci) recreates the first Thanksgiving at summer camp. That scene alone makes the film worthwhile.
You Have Letters
Another not-really-Thanksgiving movie that feels like a Thanksgiving movie, You Have Letters starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan as rival bookstore owners who unknowingly become involved in an online relationship. The result is trite and simple but fun.