I always think of the week of Thanksgiving as a sort of fake-week. If you’re in school, pretty much nothing gets done in the three days before the holiday. If you’re working, it’s nearly impossible to concentrate as you wait for a long weekend (if you’re lucky enough to get the weekend off). Because I’m all about the procrastination (despite the fact that this research paper isn’t going to write itself), here’s a list of 5 of my favorite Thanksgiving-themed movies.
1. Home for the Holidays (1995)
Claudia: You know, maybe next year will be better for you.
Russell: Hey, yeah – or worse.
After losing her job, making out with her ex-boss, and finding out that her sixteen-year-old daughter plans to spend the holiday with her boyfriend, Claudia reluctantly goes home alone to have Thanksgiving with her crazy, passive-aggressive family.
Directed by Jody Foster and boasting an impressive cast, including Holly Hunter, Anne Bancroft, Robert Downey, Jr., Claire Danes, and Steve Gutenberg, this movie is full of quirky character and the universal theme of crazy families. Cute, clever, and well-done all around.
In all honesty, this might be one of my favorite holiday-themed movies of all time. I love this movie hardcore. If you haven’t seen it, you should rectify that this week. It’s worth it.
2. Pieces of April (2003)
Joy: I only have one nice April memory. Only one. She was about three or four, and she was sitting at the window. And she turned to me and said, “Oh mother, don’t you just love every day?”
When black-sheep April invites her entire family to her apartment for Thanksgiving, she doesn’t realize what a trial the entire thing will be. As her boyfriend tries to find a suit to borrow, April grapples with the fact that her oven is broken–which means she can’t cook the turkey. As her family travels from their affluent Pennsylvania suburb to Aprils dingy NYC apartment, the families issues are laid out to be dealt with.
This quiet little independent film boasts a pretty decent cast, too: Patricia Clarkson (who is my secret girlfriend), Oliver Platt, and Katie Holmes before she became a Scientologist.
Pretty much the only thing I can watch Katie Holmes in, if we’re being honest.
3. Son In Law (1993)
Becca: What are you wearing?
Crawl: Cheek-chillers, you likes?
Becca: I hates.
A quiet farm girl gets a total makeover during her first semester of college. When it comes time for her to go home for Thanksgiving, she freaks out and ends up taking her eccentric RA with her. The two make waves in her small farm town.
Yes, this is a Pauly Shore movie. I’m sorry about that. I really am. But this movie is part of my childhood, and I kind of love it for that. It’s fun to watch actors who were relevant in the 90s (I’m looking at you, Tiffany Amber-Theissen) and gawk at the terrible 90s clothes I thought were so awesome almost 20 years ago (ugh. I’m getting old).
4. A Rugrats Thanksgiving (1997)
It’s a pretty basic premise: the rugrats experience their first Thanksgiving. Shenanigans ensue.
Okay, so this one is a little bit of a cheat, as it’s more of a Thanksgiving special than a movie. But it’s The Rugrats! I loved them as a child! How could you not?
5. The Ice Storm (1997)
Janey : Ben, you’re boring me. I have a husband. I don’t have a need for another one.
It’s 1973, and for one suburban Connecticut neighborhood, all is not well. As parents and children alike experiment with drugs, sex, and general debauchery, things go horribly awry with lasting consequences.
This is not going to be a feel-good Thanksgiving movie. I feel like I should get that out there right away. But really, what Thanksgiving holiday is ever really feel-good? Yours? Mine definitely isn’t. Might as well spice things up with some key parties! Besides, everyone in this movie is so deeply, profoundly unhappy that it’s pretty much guaranteed to make you feel better about your own life.
That’s it for now, readers. I hope you have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.