Horror movies dominate October and cheesy Christmas movies are on loop all December long. But what about that forgotten month in-between? November is a worthy month of sweaters, early darkness, and the shift of winter beginning to set in. Also, let's not forget that Thanksgiving is a holiday deserving of attention that shouldn't just be a placeholder until we're more comfortable with going holiday crazy.
There are plenty of Thanksgiving-themed movies that will get you in the thankful spirit before the last Thursday of November rolls around. So cuddle up, eat some pie, gather your family and friends, and watch the following Thanksgiving-centric flicks.
This little-known animated movie has a really clever premise. Turkeys living on a turkey farm are raised simply to become Thanksgiving meals (almost too real). Reggie (Owen Wilson) tries to warn all of the other turkeys about their impending doom but they refuse to believe him. When they do finally understand they're going to be slaughtered, they try to sacrifice Reggie by throwing him over the fence. In a twist of fate, Reggie ends up being the nationally pardoned turkey and is taken to Camp David. There, he finds a time machine and travels to the first Thanksgiving in 1621, trying to get turkeys off of the annual Thanksgiving menu. What could go wrong with a time-traveling turkey?
Buena Vista Pictures
This '90s classic stars Pauly Shore doing his usual schtick of a California stoner. In this case, he is Crawl, an RA who helps a South Dakota farm girl named Rebecca adjust to college life and a big city. Rebecca invites Crawl home for Thanksgiving. There, he proposes to Rebecca in order to stop her actual hometown boyfriend from doing so himself. So now, city boy Crawl must earn the respect of a conservative family and work on the farm. Hilarity ensues. The film concludes with a big Thanksgiving dinner — natch.
Son-in-Law is currently on Netflix!
What's Cooking follows four families on Thanksgiving day cooking their own ethnically diverse food and dealing with their own familial issues. A Latino, Jewish, African-American and, Vietnamese family are represented and the families are unexpectedly intertwined. Watch this movie for a different kind of move that celebrates the diversity we have in America.
20th Century Fox
Starring Ed O'Neill and a young Ethan Embry, Dutch follows Dutch (O'Neill) as he drives his girlfriend's young son Doyle (Embry) home for Thanksgiving from boarding school. The two drive from Georgia to Chicago with a series of mishaps. Doyle doesn't like Dutch immediately and gives him a hard time. During their road trip, Doyle starts to warm up and the two bond in true Thanksgiving spirit.
Orion Pictures Corporation
This Woody Allen classic follows an extended family over the course of two years. The film both begins and ends with Thanksgiving dinner. The story is told in three arcs focusing on Hannah (Mia Farrow) and each of her two sisters. There are affairs, resentment, divorce, and romance. If you're not totally over Woody Allen already, then this film is a must-see for movie buffs and the impending turkey day festivities. >
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Taking place in the 1970s, The Ice Storm follows two upper class families throughout their Thanksgiving weekend. Both families consist of parents and their two adolescent children. Throughout the film, we witness in an affair between the parents, drinking, pill popping, and adolescents curious about sex. Makes your Thanksgivings seem tame, no?
Definitely a pretty dark movie to watch with the whole family, but it would be a good viewing for you with your siblings or cousins.
This film is seen as one of Al Pacino's best movies. He plays a blind, alcoholic man bordering on senility who hires a prep school student, Charlie, played by Chris O'Donnel. Charlie is earning money to fly home for Christmas by keeping an eye on Frank who is in a deep depression. Frank drags Charlie to New York City where they indulge... to say the least. It's really a great movie showcasing one of Al Pacino's talents in a critically acclaimed film that's both a coming of age tale and about the development of an unlikely friendship.
Warner Independent Pictures
This film-within-a-film follows a group of eccentric actors making a movie they hope will be Oscar-worthy. The movie they're making centers on a Jewish family in the 1940s celebrating the holiday. This movie is quirky, funny, and clever and the premise alone makes it a must-watch this TG-season.
How can you not watch the Charlie Brown movies every holiday? Obviously they have a Thanksgiving one! Here, Charlie Brown is conned by the pushy Peppermint Patty into not only inviting her over for a Thanksgiving meal, but also all of their friends. Really, Charlie Brown is supposed to go to his grandmother's house, so this is quite the problem for this poor kid. A classic! You can watch it on ABC.
Warner Bros. Pictures
Starring Hollywood legends Jack Lemmon and Walter Mathau, Grumpy Old Men is about, well, two grumpy old men. Shocker! We know. Childhood friends John and Max have had a decades-long rivalry still going strong in their 70s that's renewed when an attractive older neighbor moves in near them. And they both want to woo her. This is a holiday movie showcasing all of the winter holidays, including Thanksgiving.
Nelson (Keanu Reeves) meets Sara (Charlize Theron), a free spirit who Nelson falls for hard. They enjoy a whirlwind romance throughout the month of November and fall in love just in time for the Turkey-centric holiday. No spoilers here, but we will say it's not quite a feel-good holiday movie but they do celebrate a sweet Thanksgiving together.
15-year-old Oscar comes home for Thanksgiving pining after his much older stepmother, Eve (Sigourney Weaver). When she doesn't even notice his advances, Eve's best friend moves in and seduces him. They have a little fling while Oscar still deals with his feelings for his stepmom. So yeah...Thanksgiving gets weird. This unusual film is available on Netflix and was critically acclaimed, despite the strange premise, so give it a chance!
I know what you're thinking, "This isn't a Thanksgiving movie. The kids go to summer camp." Well yes, they do, but while there, they put on the most epic Thanksgiving play ever, so it counts. Addams Family Values finds our favorite spooky family adjusting to a new baby and hiring a nanny who isn't as innocent as she seems. Watch this feel good movie for free on Hulu.
Travelling home on Thanksgiving Day, Marty brings home his fiancée Lesly to meet the fam. Said family includes his parents and his Jackie-O obsessed sister, Jacqueline (Parker Posey). Jacqueline was just released from a psychiatric hospital and is diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. She also suffers from mood swings and hates change so... that's great around the holidays. Let's just say it makes for a disturbing and unusual Thanksgiving when Jacqueline learns her beloved brother is engaged.
College friends reunite over Thanksgiving when a member of their group commits suicide. After the funeral, they gather at a house to reminisce and learn about each other's lives now. This movie is sad, funny, emotional, and relatable. You see what happens after people grow up, move on, start their families, and live their own lives — for better or worse. Basically, it gets real. This film was an '80s classic and everyone should see it at least once in their lives. Watch for free with Amazon Prime.
Katie Holmes stars as April, a young woman who lives in a small apartment in New York City. She's estranged from her highly dysfunctional family but invites them over for Thanksgiving dinner since her mother has been diagnosed with breast cancer and this is most likely her last holiday. The comedy-drama follows April's struggles to make a perfect meal in her small kitchen, which becomes increasingly hard when her oven breaks. It also shows her family's struggled to even get to her apartment in the first place. A must-see for November, Pieces of April is available for free with your Hulu membership.
This buddy comedy stars the late, great John Candy and iconic funnyman Steve Martin. They play strangers with opposite personalities who end up traveling together in order to get Neal's (Martin) home for Thanksgiving with his family. Predictably, they take a plane, train, and a autombile to get Neal to Chicago with several mishaps along the way. A go-to Thanksgiving movie perfect for the whole family, if you haven't seen it yet, then this is your year to do it.
Adult siblings return home for a Thanksgiving dinner to remember. Robert Downey Jr. and Holly Hunter star as a brother and sister. While back home, they find themselves hiding life's failures from their parents, running into old classmates, and sibling rivalries. We know — relatable! This movie will make you laugh and cry and you can watch it on Amazon Prime. You won't regret it.
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