If you want to take a break from eating and shopping why not watch some Thanksgiving –themed movies? There should be something for everyone and most of these films might give you a new appreciation for your own (crazy) family. Oh and leftovers are a good way to barter for the best spot on the couch.
Most Thanksgiving movies follow the same recipe: Take chaotic preparations of the Thanksgiving dinner, season it with a dysfunctional family, and serve on a big table. It’s just like real life, isn’t it?
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973)
Charlie Brown not only balances two Thanksgiving dinners but also all of his friends. It’s a classic and one of those Thanksgiving traditions that won’t fade away slowly. There is no cuter way to tell us that in the end, it doesn’t matter if you eat buttered toast, popcorn and jelly beans or a real Thanksgiving feast – as long as you are surrounded by the people you care about. And Snoopy.
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987)
Traveling over the holidays is usually intense and stressful. Now imagine this annoying stress, the tension and the feeling of listening to fingernails on a chalkboard for three days and by various means of transportation. Luckily we get to watch Steve Martin and John Candy’s hilarious horror road trip on a comfortable couch but I think we’ll all be able to relate to their suffering. (Including that one scene where the f-word is dropped 19 times in one minute.)
Home for the Holidays (1995)
Claudia (Holly Hunter) is a single mom who just got fired. Her teenage daughter wants to spend the holidays with her boyfriend and Claudia is forced to celebrate Thanksgiving with her parents and her siblings. Yes, there will be a lot of arguing.
During the filming of the actual dinner scenes, the crew apparently used 64 turkeys and 44 pies – that makes for an intense Thanksgiving dinner – and a lot of fighting.
Hannah and her Sisters (1986)
If you think your family is slightly crazy, Hannah and her Sisters might put things into perspective. It’s one of Woody Allen’s most successful movies and features a critically acclaimed all-star cast. It follows a large and rather theatrical family over the course of several Thanksgiving Dinners – so you basically just multiply the mayhem and solve a lot of the big questions of life in between.
Pieces of April (2003)
This Indie Comedy-Drama perfectly combines the usually “hectic preparations” with the dysfunctional family. April (Katie Holmes) wants to cook a Thanksgiving dinner but her oven breaks down, her boyfriend tries to make a good first impression with her family – and her family, is… interesting. Pieces of April makes you laugh and cry – and appreciate the importance of family and neighbors with a working stove.
If you don’t want to hear or smell any more food, have shopped way too much and are suffering from a family overdose: Eli Roth directed a little fake trailer for “Grindhouse” (2007). It’s called “Thanksgiving” and it will provide the necessary distraction.
Isabelle Mitchell is from Switzerland (not Sweden). She loves coffee and chocolate and she can talk about movies and the weather for a very long time. Isabelle went to Film School in Denmark and Canada and is a Sound Designer, but she’s currently working on getting her BS in Advertising at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh (Online Division). She’s planning on slowly taking over the advertising world one tagline at a time. When she’s not doing homework or studying, she works as a Marketing Assistant. You can find her on Twitter @isabellesagt or if you have a longer attention span, her blog.