I love Thanksgiving. Though few people would claim it to be their “favorite” holiday, it’s always nice to take a day off of work to sit around the dining table, stuffing your face and arguing politics and religion with your wacky Fox News-loving Uncle Joe who you only get to see, like, twice a year. What’s not to love about that? Once the turkey and the spirited lecture about why Obama‘s a “commie muslin” who’s ruining the country are done, you all crawl your overstuffed asses to the living room to watch some tube.
Most families do one of two things: they sit back and watch the Detroit Lions lose, or they watch some classic holiday films. If you fall into the latter group, here are five of the best Turkey Day flicks.
To prove to his girlfriend that he’s a great guy, Dutch Dooley volunteers to pick up her son from a prep school and drive him home for Thanksgiving. The kid turns out to be a dick, and road trip hijinx ensue. Sounds like a pretty stupid, unimaginative premise, and it is — but the film stars Ed O’Neill and Ethan Embry, so it’s worth watching.
Son In Law (1993)
There are two types of people in the world: those who can’t stand Pauly Shore, and those who don’t know who the hell that is. Regardless, this 1993 vehicle to exploit Shore’s fleeting popularity is good mindless fun. Shore plays “Crawl,” an obnoxious college douche who travels to a small town farm for Thanksgiving break, posing as the fiance of the farmer’s daughter (played by Carla Gugino, who had her hand eaten in Sin City). He annoys the shit out of everyone, but eventually they come around and learn to love the Weas’. The film also stars Lane Smith (the district attorney in My Cousin Vinny) and Patrick Renna (Ham in The Sandlot).
Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)
The quintessential Thanksgiving film, Planes, Trains & Automobiles is, like Dutch, a film written by John Hughes that pairs together two unlikely characters who must make it home for the holiday — all the while getting under each other’s skin and having wacky adventures. Like Uncle Buck, John Candy serves as the lovable antagonist; like The Great Outdoors, one of the two characters ends up homeless and destitute and relies on the protagonist for support and shelter. Hughes was formulaic, for sure, but thanks to great actors and hilarious scenarios, his films just work.
Grumpy Old Men (1993)
While not Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon’s greatest film (The Odd Couple), Grumpy Old Men is far from their worst (Out to Sea). Released on Christmas Day 1993, the film centers on Matthau’s Max Goldman and Lemmon’s John Gustafson battling for the affection of the beautiful and eccentric widow, Ariel Truax (Ann-Margret). Despite their mutual desire for the same woman, it is Chuck, owner of the bait shop, who enjoys her company on Thanksgiving – which only inflames the competition between Goldman and Gustafson.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Is it Christmas movie? Is it a Halloween movie? Let’s end the debate once and for all: The Nightmare Before Christmas is best enjoyed halfway between the two holidays, making it the perfect Thanksgiving flick.
What other films do you suggest for Thanksgiving Day viewing?