The best Thanksgiving movies you should watch | Jobi Cool

Thanksgiving is one of the great American traditions. The perfect vacation that includes food, family, football and movies. What’s not to like? Well, for starters, the local grocery store always runs out of cranberry sauce, families spend more time bickering than eating, the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys are perennial losers, and great Thanksgiving movies are generally hard to come by.

We can’t help the first three issues, but we did some digging and found a few flicks worth checking out over the holidays. Check out the list below!


Dutch, one of John Hughes’ lesser productions, finds Ed O’Neill transporting Ethan Randall from Georgia to Chicago over the Thanksgiving holiday. Predictably, the trip goes awry, leading to a series of madcap episodes that somehow bring the pair together. While the film often plays like a John Hughes greatest hits album, complete with BB guns, crotch kicks, and an abundance of silly pratfalls, Dutch Still fun on the dog. Plop it on after the main course.

Home for the holidays

Jodie Foster directed this forgotten holiday dramedy in 1995 starring Holly Hunter, Robert Downey Jr., Anne Bancroft, Dylan McDermott, Claire Danes and Gutenberg. Well-acted and directed, Home for the Holidays gets lost in its attempts to stoke both sides of the aisle, leaving us with a drama lacking humor and missing the necessary emotional payoff. Still, there are enough gory moments to make this low-key family drama worthwhile.

Steal the tower

You know the pickings are slim when a forgettable Ben Stiller comedy of 2011 appears on the list. Alas, this star-studded affair, co-starring Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick, Casey Affleck, Alan Alda, Michael Pena and Tia Leoni, has enough laughs and action to hold attention for a few hours. Unfortunately, there isn’t much in the way of Thanksgiving on display, but the picture centers around a Thanksgiving parade and ends on an optimistic, positive note. Murphy alone is worth the price of admission; Don’t expect anything other than subpar entertainment, and you’ll have a great time.

Pieces of April

This early Aughties dramedy from director Peter Hedges features Katie Holmes (in her best role) as April, a poor girl who invites her isolated, dysfunctional family over for Thanksgiving. As April struggles to prepare meals with the help of other tenants in her apartment building, her family travels to New York City and re-explores past family issues along the way. Sweet and fun, with a touching ending that will probably cause a lump in your throat.

Hannah and her sisters

Woody Allen’s Hannah and her sisters The lives of several people—namely, Hannah (Mia Farrow) and her sisters Holly (Diane Wiest) and Lee (Barbara Hershey)—among three separate Thanksgiving dinners. Like most Allen projects, the film tackles some serious issues — suicide, love affairs, regret, drug addiction — but also offers light-hearted humor and enough holiday cheer for those looking for positivity over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Michael Caine won a well-deserved Oscar for his efforts.

Planes, trains and automobiles

While the list above offers a solid mix of comedy and drama, all of the entries pale in comparison to John Hughes’ classics. Planes, trains and automobiles. Starring Steve Martin and John Candy, the film chronicles the tumultuous journey undertaken by uptight Neil Page (Martin) and big-hearted Dale Griffiths (Candy) to get home in time for Thanksgiving. Hughes, who wrote and directed, carefully ratchets up the hilarious mayhem but never loses sight of the intimate character relationships that propel the film to extraordinary heights. One of the best holiday movies ever produced.


Other Thanksgiving movie recommendations:

funny man
Judd Apatow’s over-the-top, bloated dramedy isn’t necessarily about Thanksgiving but features a terrific scene set during the holiday in which the entire cast — Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann, and Jonah Hill, among them — gathers to discuss the importance of appreciation. We have time on this little blue planet.

The Ice Storm
Ang Lee’s powerful drama takes place over the Thanksgiving weekend but is definitely not the kind of flick to watch with the family. However, if you are looking for an incredibly well acted, dark, and moody drama, this is for you!

Dan in real life
Dan in real life It feels like a Thanksgiving movie, even if it’s not a Thanksgiving movie. Maybe it’s the family gathering, the warm-hearted finale, all the food, or maybe we just love Steve Carell, but we won’t judge you if you pop it during your second slice of pumpkin pie.

Addams Family Values
Those looking for crazy dark humor should enjoy Barry Sonnenfeld Addams Family Values, which features a sequence where Wednesday Addams (Christina Ricci) recreates the first Thanksgiving at summer camp. That scene alone makes the film worthwhile.

You got mail
Another thank you-really-thank you movie that sounds like a thank you movie, You got mail Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan star as rival bookstore owners who unwittingly become involved in an online relationship. The results are trite and simple but fun.

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