7 new and classic movies to watch this Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is a time when people gather together, eat a lot of food, and reflect on the blessings in their lives. At least that’s the supposed spirit of the holiday. For most, it’s just a Christmas pregame. After all the food is consumed and people are sacked out on various surfaces trying to digest, the real question remains: what to watch?
For many, the answer is whatever football game is on. If you’re not a football person, it’s the perfect time to throw on a movie. If you don’t want to start your Christmas celebrations while you’re still digesting your turkey and pumpkin pie, then we have some classic films for you to check out this Turkey Day.
Addams Family Values (1993)
Traditionally, Addams Family Values pops up around Halloween. Since there’s a Thanksgiving play that is a large part of the movie and one of its funniest moments, it counts. We follow the creepy, kooky, mysterious, and spooky Addams clan as they deal with the arrival of new baby Pubert and Fester’s (Christopher Lloyd) whirlwind marriage to the psychotically greedy Debbie (Joan Cusack).
When Wednesday (Christina Ricci) and Pugsley (Jimmy Workman) are shipped off to a summer camp, they’re forced to take part in a Thanksgiving pageant – that is, until Wednesday leads a revolt with her fellow “loser” campers against the counselors and the popular campers. She also gets real about the true, dark history of Thanksgiving.
Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)
If you want to go for a more straightforward crowdpleaser, then Planes, Trains and Automobiles is sure to have first-time viewers enraptured and old fans in stitches. This late 80s classic follows two mismatched men (Steve Martin, John Candy) who are stuck together as they try to get back home for Thanksgiving.
Planes, Trains and Automobiles is a classic road trip buddy comedy with two of the funniest talents of the 80s. The downside is that it’s R-rated, mainly for language.
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973)
Want to keep the kiddos distracted with holiday content while either cooking or cleaning your Thanksgiving meal? Your only option is A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. Generations of children have been raised on this classic Peanuts holiday special.
We follow everyone’s favorite bald fourth-grader as he prepares for his Thanksgiving with his friends and ever faithful dog, Snoopy. It’s a sweet and homey sort of special that leaves you feeling warmer than the mulled cider or pumpkin pie.
Home for the Holidays (1995)
This underrated gem captures the real-life awkwardness of family holidays. Single mom Claudia (Holly Hunter) has lost her job and her daughter (Claire Danes) tells her she plans on having sex with her boyfriend (weird thing to tell your mom, but okay).
Claudia has to cope with all of that knowledge while heading back home. Meanwhile, her openly gay brother Tommy (Robert Downey Jr.) has a secret regarding him and his boyfriend Jack.
There are conservative relatives, family secrets, and adults dealing with their own issues in this very real and down to earth movie from Jodie Foster. While everything can come off a little contrived, the cast excels, making you feel for each and every member of the Larson family.
The Oath (2018)
If you want to get back at one family member for getting drunk and starting uncomfortable political talk at the table, this dark comedy is perfect.
Released in 2018, The Oath follows a young couple (Ike Barinholtz, Tiffany Haddish) attempting to get through Thanksgiving without political talk. The issue at hand in this alternate universe is that Americans are expected – but not required – to sign a legal document swearing allegiance to the United States by Black Friday. Everyone has a divisive opinion on this issue.
Talk about your awkward family dinners, huh? Haddish is pitch-perfect in the film, which has spawned mixed reviews. (You can’t please everyone.) Maybe The Oath will make your drunk family member think twice before making forced family time more awkward than it already is.
Into the Dark (2018 -present)
If you prefer horror with your holidays, then Hulu’s anthology series Into the Dark has not one, but two Thanksgiving specials. The series, now into its second season, consists of one new 90-minute episode each month centered around that month’s holiday. Naturally for November, it’s Thanksgiving.
2018’s “Flesh & Blood” follows agoraphobic teenager Kimberly (Diana Silvers), who is traumatized by the murder of her mother. When she becomes suspicious that her father (Dermot Mulroney) is a serial killer, Kimberly engages in a deadly cat-and-mouse game with her sole surviving parent. All the while, she wavers about whether or not to turn him over to the authorities.
If 2018 doesn’t have enough Thanksgiving content for you, then 2019’s “Pilgrim” may be more up your alley. Suburban mom Anna (Courtney Henggeler) decides to invite Pilgrim impersonators to the house so her family can experience a “true” Thanksgiving experience sans those pesky electronic communication devices.
Unfortunately, her good intentions lead to bloody consequences. (Apparently the episode is based on actual events. Whether or not you believe that is up to you.)