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The 7 Best Thanksgiving Movies To Watch This Holiday

The 7 Best Thanksgiving Movies To Watch This Holiday

There’s a great South Park episode where Santa and Jesus are singing Christmas songs at a bar, each trading off verses from various well-known little ditties, and it quickly becomes apparent that Jesus has a lot more songs about him than Santa. Santa gets a bit jealous.

I think that’s a little bit how Thanksgiving must feel when it comes to pop culture, sitting in the long shadow cast by Christmas. There aren’t really Thanksgiving songs. Fall decor is shared with Halloween for the most part, but Halloween has a whole lot more. Thanksgiving is mostly about food and gatherings with friends and family and, of course, football. There aren’t even that many movies to commemorate the holiday.

But there are a few, and I have some suggestions down below for some stuff you can watch after stuffing your face with stuffing and getting your fill of the NFL. I know for a lot of people, it’s early to bed so you can get up bright and early and head out to our most holy of national holidays, Black Friday, but if you’d rather stay up with a good movie than get up at the buttcrack of dawn to stand in a shivery line outside Walmart, here’s a list.

We’ll kick things off with . . .

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

If you’re a fan of John Hughes—who wrote, directed and produced this film—and enjoy Steve Martin and John Candy, this one’s for you. And I mean, how could you not love that combination? This is, perhaps, the best and the most classic of all Thanksgiving movies.

The story follows Neal (Steve Martin) a high-strung, impatient marketing exec as he tries to make it home to Chicago in time for Thanksgiving. The weather is against him, and he ends up traveling with Del (John Candy) an extremely friendly, extremely irritating salesman. It’s awkward, hilarious and a nice change of pace for Hughes, who had largely made teen comedies in the past.

If by some miracle you haven’t seen this one yet, please watch it this Thanksgiving.

Watch on Amazon Prime Video

The Charlie Brown Christmas Special

While not as good or as beloved as The Charlie Brown Christmas Special, this is still a classic animated celebration of Thanksgiving and the important things it represents. It also turns 50 this year! That means it’s only 8 years older than me, which makes me feel old!

Scent Of A Woman

Al Pacino plays a blind Lt. Colonel named Frank, a curmudgeonly man who needs looking after over Thanksgiving. Chris O’Donnell plays Charlie, who he hires to look over him as they head to New York for the holiday. Pacino finally won an Academy Award for this one (Best Actor). Pacino really is terrific in the movie but it does run a bit too long at 156 minutes.

Addams Family Values

This counts as a Thanksgiving movie simply because Wednesday Addams (played wonderfully by Christina Ricci) re-enacts the Thanksgiving pageant—with a decidedly Addams Family twist. This is that rarest of sequels that’s actually, in many ways, even better than the first film. And as much as I did enjoy Netflix’s Wednesday, it really doesn’t hold a candle to these charming films.

Miracle on 34th Street

Sure, it’s a Christmas movie, but Miracle on 34th Street kicks off with the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade and a fake Santa with a very real drinking problem. So it’s kind of a perfect bridge between Thanksgiving and Christmas and, of course, one of the most heartwarming classics of all time.

Fantastic Mr. Fox

If you’re a Wes Anderson fan, there’s not a better autumnal movie out there than Fantastic Mr. Fox, the first (but far from the last) Anderson adaptation of a Roald Dahl story. While not exactly a Thanksgiving movie, it’s still the perfect time to watch this stop-motion animated caper flick.

The Ice Storm

An incredible cast makes Ang Lee’s adaptation of Ricky Moody’s novel of the same name. The story takes place in the 1970s over a messy Thanksgiving weekend between two families in an equally tumultuous time in America. A compelling character drama, though not for the whole family.

What Thanksgiving movies and specials do you watch this time of year? Let me know on Twitter or Facebook.

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