5. Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead (2006)
Have a happy Troma Thanksgiving with Lloyd Kaufman’s “Poultrygeist!” A clever, entertaining, and extremely offensive commentary on the processed food industry, “Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead” tells an absurd story about “The American Chicken Bunker,” a military themed restaurant that builds a new chain diner on top of the Native American burial ground of the “Tromahawk Tribe. The awakened spirits possess the restaurant’s dinners, transforming into chicken zombies hungry for revenge. A dumb counterboy, his lesbian ex-girlfriend, and a muslim cook must band together to save the day before becoming white meat!
Baked in gross out gore and over the top musical numbers, “Poultrygeist” is so masterfully offensive, childish and juvenile, anyone watching has to bust a gut (literally and metaphorically). Watch this Troma magnum opus with friends and family while feasting on Thanksgiving! Even more politically incorrect than the holiday itself, this flick is sure to push all the great holiday dinner conversation buttons!
4. Krisha (2015)
Trey Edward Schults’s directorial debut, “Krisha” (played by Krisha Fairchild, Shults’s own aunt) joins her distant family for a nice Thanksgiving dinner, but tensions heighten as her inner demons surface. We experience every one of Krisha’s moments with her. Shults makes expert use of lighting, framing, and varying aspect ratios to reflect Krisha’s inner conflict, despair, and desperation.
One of A24’s best distributions, “Krisha” perfectly captures how it feels to be the black sheep of the family, and contains resonating themes of redemption. This would be a depressing movie to force yourself to watch during Thanksgiving- don’t do it. Watch it on Black Friday.
3. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987)
It’s impossible to talk about Thanksgiving movies and not include this Steve Martin and John Candy classic! “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” is an odd coming of age story about Neal Page (Steve Martin), a controlling, strung-up man who wants to spend Thanksgiving with his family, but instead gets stuck in a snowstorm with annoying and talkative shower ring salesman Del Griffith (John Candy). Together they must learn to combat the frantic nature of the holidays to reach their final destinations! Will Neal make it home, or will he go insane?
“Planes, Train, and Automobiles” is one of the most moving and hilarious holiday comedies to ever exist, and is John Hughes’s funniest directorial effort, cementing Steve Martin’s place as a comedy master. Most of all, this movie expertly encapsulates the darker sides of the holiday season: not being home to see your family. The holidays may be a time of thanks and giving, but they’re also a time of rushing and crying. This movie is an hour and thirty three minutes of comedy gold that results in an immensely satisfying ending.
2. Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
Based on the iconic Roald Dahl book and directed by the king of quirk himself, Wes Anderson, “Fantastic Mr. Fox” tells the fantastic story of Mr. Fox, a father, husband, and former thief who reforms from his conniving ways, moving to an upper end neighborhood where the Fox family lives the good life. Still unsatisfied, he recruits the clueless possum Kylie in pulling off the one last, big heist of his career on neighboring human farmers Boggis, Bunce, and Bean. Mr. Fox endangers his whole community as Wes Anderson’s talking animal movie morphs into an epic, eccentric spaghetti western of animals vs humans. Mr. Fox must make a decision between being a father or animal.
“Fantastic Mr. Fox” was not made to be a Thanksgiving movie, but is perfect for the holiday and was practically made for it! There are family arguments, talking animals feasting, and an exuberant fall setting. Alexandre Desplat’s offbeat soundtrack gives one hopeful, bright feelings of better days ahead, and the charming, janky stop-motion animation brings to life cinema’s wildest eating scenes.
1. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973)
Charlie Brown tries to cobble together a good Thanksgiving dinner with Linus, Snoopy, and Woodstock after Peppermint Patty and the gang invite themselves over to feast. Charlie and Chef Snoopy struggle in accommodating the overpopulated Thanksgiving party.
Wholesome, touching, and pure – this Charlie Brown special is a masterpiece. The definitive Thanksgiving movie. You start watching it at school in second grade and you watch it ever since. Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz was a genius. The Peanuts gang’s actual food and feast is meager, but is made rich with love. And that’s what makes the Peanut Gang’s meal so delicious.