Carolyn Kruse

Carolyn Kruse

Ahh, home for the holidays with the entire family. What could possibly go wrong? We have come to expect certain things at these special times. Things like the weirdness and dysfunctionality will always fly in these situations. All we can do is accept and embrace. Oh…and of course find an escape. Here’s your escape route. These are 7 of the best Thanksgiving movies to watch after your big meal, and help quiet things down or enliven them, if that’s what your family needs.

Sure, it’s a holiday about giving thanks. It’s also a holiday to reflect, reminisce and be grateful. Sometimes, it’s just about sitting together in the same room, no words necessary. Movie watching is the perfect activity for everyone. Of course, not everyone will agree on one movie. However,  if you present this list of 7 of the best Thanksgiving movies to watch after your big meal, there will likely be at least one you can agree on.

Options, We Need Thanksgiving Movie Options

With some assistance from Rotten Tomatoes and Wikipedia I’ve compiled a list that presents options for everyone. And the options range from quintessential sentimental flicks to very non-traditional options. In the end, they are all movies about families, friends and our connections. With families comes plenty of drama, comedy. love and dislike.

Here, you will find films that focus on the positive, like Planes, Trains and Automobiles. There’s a family-friendly classic Peanuts favorite included, as well as one that steers off the Thanksgiving path some, but is definitely family focused, in the movie Knives-Out.

I’ve seen most of these great pieces of entertainment, and a little of some of them. But, I am definitely going to revisit a few of these over my visit back home to see my parents. I love turning my kids on to some of the older ones, like The Big Chill. Take a look at the list, revisit for yourself and throw the names out at your holiday get-together. What other Thanksgiving related movies would you add to this list?

 

  • 1. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

    1973

    You are never too old to enjoy Peanuts.

    This Thanksgiving nugget features our favorite Peanuts, like Charlie Brown to Linus, Snoopy, Lucy, Peppermint Patty, and the rest of the gangIn case you forgot the scenario, Peppermint Patty invites everyone to Charlie Brown’s for Thanksgiving, Charlie can barely make cereal, so his trusty old pal Snoopy steps in to save the day and enlists the help of his friends to save Thanksgiving for Charlie and his buddies.

  • 2. Home For the Holidays

    1995

    Starring: Holly Hunter, Robert Downey Jr., Anne Bancroft, Charles Durning, Dylan McDermott, Geraldine Chaplin, Steve Guttenberg, Cynthia Stevenson, Claire Danes, Austin Pendleton, and David Strathairn.

    Jodie Foster directed this stellar ensemble cast for a movie about single mother who has just been fired from her job. She heads  to her parents house to spend Thanksgiving, while her teenage daughter stays home with her boyfriend. The parents are a little whack, there’s a loony aunt and plenty of family drama at the Thanksgiving table.

  • 3. Friendsgiving

    2020

    Starring: Malin Akerman, Kat Dennings, Aisha Tyler, Jack Donnelly, Deon Cole, Jane Seymour, Chelsea Peretti, Ryan Hansen, Christine Taylor

    All the dysfunctional family vibes in this ensemble comedy Thanksgiving gem about 2 lifelong friends and their holiday plans to drown their sorrows in pie, together. But with long list unwanted guests arriving, it turns into much more.

  • 4. Planes, Trains and Automobiles

    1987

    Starring: Steve MartinJohn CandyLaila RobinsMichael McKean

    This is the story of uptight marketing exec, Neal, and Del,  who is a sweet natured but annoying shower curtain ring salesman. They end up becoming travel partners, when their flight is diverted. The next three days have the two recent strangers traversing their way through mayhem and mishaps to get to Neal’s house in time for Thanksgiving.

     

  • 5. Knives Out

    2019

    Starring: Daniel Craig, Christopher Plummer, Chris Evans, Michael Shannon, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette and Don Johnson

    According to MovieWeb, the film, although not specifically a Thanksgiving movie, has all the dysfunctional family and fall vibes. They said: “Not many films really embrace the fall aesthetic as thoroughly as Knives Out does. While the script doesn’t call specific attention to it very often, there’s no arguing that the seasonal weather does a lot to add to the overall atmosphere of the film. This weather, in combination with all the aforementioned family antics and the fact that the film was literally released over the Thanksgiving weekend in 2019, results in Knives Out inarguably being a Thanksgiving movie, despite it never actually referencing the holiday.” And hey, lots of knives are up all over America this holiday, preparing to carve the turkey. 

     

  • 6. Pieces Of April

    2003

    Starring: Katie HolmesPatricia ClarksonOliver PlattDerek Luke

    Pieces of April  is a touching holiday treat with some impressive performances and an endearing story. Katie Holmes stars as the estranged oldest daughter of a Patricia Clarkson’s character. The broken family comes together for Thanksgiving in Holmes’ tiny New York apartment. She wants to reconcile with her mom who is dying from terminal breast cancer.

     

  • 7. The Big Chill

    1983

    Starring:  Tom BerengerGlenn CloseJeff GoldblumWilliam HurtKevin KlineMary Kay PlaceMeg Tilly, and JoBeth Williams

    15 years after  their University of Michigan graduation, a group of friends reunite, following the death of their friend Alex, by suicide. Doesn’t sound like a warm, fuzzy holiday film, right? But the friends reminisce, reveal and reflect much together. It does include an iconic Thanksgiving feast scene, a game of football in the yard, and a fantastic Motown inspired soundtrack. 

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