Now, I’ve never actually celebrated American Thanksgiving before, but from what I hear, it’s a pretty festive, joyful holiday. Happy families sitting around giant Turkey feasts – laughing and singing and sharing stories. I just can just see it now – little Billy asks his mum for a slice of delicious, All-American Apple Pie: “Why, thank you mummy!” He says with a smile. His mother laughs with glee. She turns to her brother-in-law, I dunno – let’s call him Gary – and says, “Well Gary, what a year! I am so thankful to be eating this turkey with you.” And Gary says –
Wait, hold on, I just got a text from my boss. Oh – that’s…apparently that’s not what American Thanksgiving is all about. Huh…What’s that? Families get in screaming matches? They throw plates?? They get so worked up in their fighting that they FORGET to even EAT THE TURKEY???
Well. Excuse me. I did not realize that in America, Thanksgiving was all about being ungrateful. Although now that I say that out loud it does seem kind of obvious…I mean, I was going to make a video about the 10 things Americans are most thankful for on Thanksgiving, but…you know what, scratch that.
How about we talk about the best Thanksgiving movies. That way, you can spend hours of the holiday avoiding your families altogether. Right, then. These are the top 10 movies that SAVED Thanksgiving. If you’re thankful for this list – which you will be – don’t forget to click those “like” and “subscribe” buttons. If not, well, you’re wrong.
10. Addams Family Values
Did you know that The Addams Family had a Thanksgiving movie? If you didn’t, you do now! The perfect movie for anyone who wishes it was still Halloween, this Addams Family sequel stars Joan Cusack as the family’s new nanny, who plans to marry Uncle Fester for his money and then kill him. When Cusack discovers that Pugsley and Wednesday are suspicious of her evil plan, she ships them off to summer camp. There, they are forced to participate in a fantastically bizarre musical version of the first Thanksgiving. While at first you might not understand why a summer camp is performing a Thanksgiving play in the first place, you’ll soon be so absorbed in the creepy music and outrageous dancing, that you won’t even care anymore. This movie is as fun as it is strange, and on a day such as Thanksgiving, it’s always nice to be reminded that the Addams family is more functional than your own.
9. For Your Consideration
If you’re a fan of Schitt’s Creek, you don’t want to miss Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara in For Your Consideration. That’s right, Mr. and Mrs. Rose graced the screen together long before they became the world’s favorite neglectful TV parents. This outrageous mockumentary follows the production of a low-budget family drama called Home for Purim, about an American Jewish family during World War II. The movie’s producer is a wealthy heiress of a diaper company, who knows nothing about filmmaking. Still, just as the film begins to generate Oscar buzz, the studio decides to rename it “Home for Thanksgiving,” a title that they deem “less Jewish” and therefore more marketable. This ridiculously strange, borderline offensive mockumentary is the perfect late-night watch for anyone suffering a Thanksgiving Dinner food coma.
8. Chicken Run
Okay, so maybe this movie is about chickens and not about turkeys. Doesn’t. Matter. It will still remind you of just how guilty you should feel shoveling fork-fulls of flesh into your mouth at Thanksgiving Dinner. Delicious fork-fulls of flesh, but fork-fulls of flesh nonetheless. Man, try saying that 5 times fast. In Chicken Run a group of terrified chickens attempt to escape from their farm before they are turned into chicken pies. Pretty horrifying plot, yeah, but the chickens are downright hilarious. And the stop motion animation somehow adds to the morbidity of it all. Also, this movie is a great ice breaker if you happen to have any vegetarians in the family. You can tell them how moved you were by the bravery of the terrified chickens – as you stuff another fork-full of flesh into your mouth.
7. Funny People
Director Judd Apatow brought us some our all-time favorite comedies, from Knocked Up to The 40-Year-Old Virgin. But did you know he also made a dramatic comedy that takes place during Thanksgiving? Funny People, which is a little bit funny and a little bit sad, stars Adam Sandler and Seth Rogan, stand-up comedians touring the country together. Adam Sandler’s character, George Simmons, has just been diagnosed with leukemia. Luckily for him, he’s got a dark sense of humor that promises to get him through. Or at least help him bury his pain. This movie features a moving Thanksgiving scene in which Simmons toasts to his friends – who are more like family. If you want to interchangeably laugh and cry between bites of turkey and mashed potatoes – Funny People is the movie for you.
6. Free Birds
With a star-studded cast and a grotesquely funny storyline, Free Birds is another film sure to stack on the guilt. I mean, did you really have to digest that entire turkey? (Yes, yes, you did. It was so, so worth it). Starring Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson, Amy Poehler, and George Takei, Free Birds follows Reggie the turkey, who has just been pardoned on Thanksgiving by the president of the United States. Side note, really weird tradition, America. Pardoning birds? I mean, how does the President even choose? Whichever one smells the least like a barn? Anyway, Reggie’s all happy that he’s not going to be anyone’s dinner, but before he knows it, he’s kidnapped by another turkey who plans to lead a guerrilla group on a life-saving mission (for turkeys that is): to end Thanksgiving for good. Disclaimer: no turkeys were harmed in the making of this film.
5. You’ve Got Mail
This classic, set right around the holiday and featuring a doozy of a Thanksgiving dinner scene, stars every romcom fan’s favorite duo: Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Only this time, instead of being Sleepless in Seattle, they’re wide awake in New York – glued to their computer screens like a couple of love zombies. Complete with a steamy online chatroom that is just so 90’s (no swiping right for these two) and the gorgeous backdrop of fall in New York, this movie will have you feeling all kinds of ways. Not to mention there’s a side story about chain bookstores killing local bookstores, and it’s cringey to watch knowing that Amazon is about to come in and kill ‘em both. Regardless, the sweet combination of nostalgia and romance make You’ve Got Mail the perfect film for anyone hoping to enjoy a nice Thanksgiving swoon-fest.
4. Knives Out
What better way to ring in Thanksgiving than with a murder mystery about a family that might be even more dysfunctional than yours? This spectacularly wild thriller originally premiered on Thanksgiving Weekend, so it’s literally meant to be viewed while you get your own knives out – y’know, to carve the turkey and such. You’ll be on the edge of your seat as you try to solve the mysterious death of acclaimed novelist Harlan Thrombey – and get sucked into the crazy family drama of his selfish and greedy relatives. Complete with plot twists and hilarity, this movie is so good it was one of the top movies of all of 2019. It’s a must see for anyone who hasn’t had the chance yet. Plus, as a bonus to this delectable film, you can watch Daniel Craig carve a Thanksgiving turkey for his Knives Out castmates during a roundtable hosted by Entertainment Weekly. And trust me, you haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen Daniel Craig dig a knife into a dead bird.
3. Home for the Holidays
Another movie about a dysfunctional family coming together for Thanksgiving, this 90’s classic stars Holly Hunter and Robert Downey Jr. Home for the Holidays is the perfect recipe for a fantastic holiday film: a hellish family reunion with a whole lotta heart. Holly Hunter is forced to go home for Thanksgiving after losing her job. It’s been a long time since she’s been home and she’s pretty much dreading it. Still, by the end of the film, she finally resigns to loving her terrible family (for whatever reason). This movie is so good it just might bring your family together on a holiday that is meant to tear it apart.
2. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
A John Hugh’s classic starring legends Steve Martin and John Candy, this movie will not disappoint. Steve Martin is on a quest to get from New York to Chicago in time for Thanksgiving – and after a series of obstacles is forced to travel alongside John Candy – a way too chipper and optimistic shower-ring salesman. This movie’s worth watching just to see the vein pop out of Steve Martin’s head as he suffers through hours on the road with his cheery sidekick. If you’ve never seen this classic, you have some catching up to do. Ring in Turkey Day with Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.
Before we reveal our number one choice, the movie that we believe could actually save your holiday from turmoil, go ahead and hit that subscribe button. While you’re at it, head to the comment section to let us know your own favorite Thanksgiving classics. Who knows, we just might give them a watch.
Now, time to feast on our number one favorite Thanksgiving film.
1. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
You might be surprised to see a children’s movie in the number one spot, but what better way to chill out your whiney family than with a movie meant to bring people together? Let’s be honest. No one can bring us comfort and joy quite like our friends The Peanuts can. This movie will bring you back to a simpler time: one of Saturday morning cartoons and trips to the candy shop – when Thanksgiving dinner meant special time with family, not throwing a plate across the room at Grandma because of who she voted for. Watch as Charlie Brown scrambles to put together the perfect holiday feast – in spite of Peppermint Patty’s villainous efforts to ruin it. Good grief, this movie will have you craving peanuts with your cranberry sauce (gross), and it just might remind you of why you celebrate Thanksgiving in the first place.
To celebrate your gratitude, that is, not to uh – reminisce about all that deadly colonization your history books are always bragging about.
Did we forget any Turkey Day classics? What are your favorite movies to dig into on the holiday? Let us know in the comments below. And hey – for what it’s worth – we’re grateful for you this Thanksgiving. Now, go catch a turkey and get to celebrating. That’s how that works, right? You guys catch turkeys?
Anyway, thanks for watching!
Writer: Laura Townsend
Editor: AB Scarlett
Voice: Scott Tunnix
Video: Angel Gustanski
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Scarlett.Media productions are for commentary, criticism and parody. All media samples are for transformative and fair use.
See Hosseinzadeh v. Klein, 276 F.Supp.3d 34 (S.D.N.Y. 2017); Equals Three, LLC v. Jukin Media, Inc., 139 F. Supp. 3d 1094 (C.D. Cal. 2015).