There are so many Halloween themed movies or millions of horror films to choose from, and Christmas movies are a dime a dozen, thanks to the Hallmark Channel, but there is one holiday that goes often ignored when it comes to film… Thanksgiving!
In the past, I’ve resorted to watching the many Thanksgiving episodes of Friends to get in the holiday spirit – which isn’t a bad alternative to a movie, but there are in fact several great Thanksgiving-themed movies for when you’re over Halloween and not quite in the Christmas spirit yet.
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
You can’t go wrong with John Hughes… or John Candy for that matter. Throw in Steve Martin and this 1987 classic comedy about a man struggling to travel home for Thanksgiving is the perfect recipe for some holiday laughs!
Sticking with both John Hughes and a Thanksgiving road trip theme, Dutch stars Ed O’Neill as a working-class good guy, who in an effort to get to know his girlfriend’s snobby son, played by a young Ethan Embry (credited as Ethan Randall) offers to pick him up from prep school. The trip turns into a battle of wits and mishaps.
Pieces of April
Katie Holmes stars in this comedy-drama, Pieces of April, about an estranged daughter who invites her dying mother for Thanksgiving dinner. The movie is not as depressing as it sounds, and is definitely my favorite Katie Holmes movie.
For those who love a good cheesy romance, Hallmark does have a handful of Thanksgiving-themed movies, like Harvest Love starring Jen Lilley and Ryan Paevey.
Addams Family Values
While Addams Family Values is not totally a Thanksgiving movie, there is a memorable scene where Wednesday and Pugsley are in a school play about the first Thanksgiving. The creepy siblings decide to show what really happened between the pilgrims and Native Americans.
Son In Law
While Pauly Shore isn’t for everyone, Son In Law is one of his better-received movies from the ’90s. Co-starring Carla Gugino, the movie is about a sheltered farm girl who goes away to college and meets the eccentric Crawl (Shore). When she brings him home for Thanksgiving break, her family is in shock to say the least.
Home For The Holidays - #1 Pick
Since I was a kid, I watched Home For The Holidays every year. The 1995 comedy/drama was directed by Jodie Foster and stars Holly Hunter, Robert Downey, Jr., Anne Bancroft, Dylan McDermott, Charles Durning, and Steve Guttenberg.
My sister never understood why I loved this movie about a dysfunctional family Thanksgiving, but for me, who was always
fascinated with in-depth characters, like the ones in a Tennessee Williams play, loved all of the quirks of these characters.
They were odd and real. They shared love and hate and so many memories. That is the epitome of family. The holidays certainly stir all of those good and bad feelings up. Plus, Robert Downey Jr. was always a crush of mine growing up, so that was probably why I initially wanted to watch Home For The Holidays at 12 years old.
Sandy Lo is an author, blogger, journalist, and digital strategist. Her personal story is inspiring. Sandy started StarShine Magazine, an online publication in 2001, at the age of 18. She wrote her first novel in 2009, “Lost In You,” followed by the “Dream Catchers” Series. She was the first person ever to professionally interview Taylor Swift and has received personal endorsements for her books from members of boy bands Backstreet Boys and 98 Degrees.