Sandwiched between Halloween and Christmas, Thanksgiving’s like the awkward middle child that’s always forgotten. This underrated American Holiday isn’t as flashy as the other two big ones, but Thanksgiving still manages to be an absolute blast- the perfect time to eat pie, chow down on turkey, visit relatives, and if you’re in Sweet Home Alabama, grab some booty. You’ll never know how much you truly love your cousin until the two of you play some smash! Yes, this is America- the land of the twee and the home of the strange.
Apparently many years ago some pilgrims were invited to the Wampanoag Tribe festivities to share in some feasting. This celebration is usually cited as “The First Thanksgiving.” This portrait is kind of looked at with rose tinted glasses, and is more revisionist history than anything else.
In most 21st century American households, the so-called origins of Thanksgiving have been long forgotten, becoming more or less a consumerist excuse for family gatherings and overeating. But these wholesome vices create frightening conflicts; the Thanksgiving table can be a hostile place. Differing political viewpoints, meeting a long lost family member, or settling age old generational disputes are all terrifying situations every Thanksgiving Celebrator finds themselves swept up in at some point in their lifetimes. To prepare yourself for Thanksgiving Dinner, here are the ten best Thanksgiving movies!
10. Thankskilling (2008)
A great garbage movie, “Thankskilling” follows a possessed demonic killer Turkey that terrorizes five college kids, a good girl, a jock, a ditz, a nerd, and a redneck during Thanksgiving. A man bangs a Turkey, a Turkey bangs a woman- really, I can’t spoil anymore of this film’s brilliance.
Truly a wonderful slice of trash cinema perfect for any Thanksgiving loving cinephile, and will certainly be remembered as a 21st century b-movie for the ages! “You just got stuffed!”
9. Knives Out (2019)
After revered crime novelist Harlan Thrombey is found dead at his estate, mystery is afoot, and the eccentric Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is hired to investigate Thrombey’s dysfunctional family and staff.
Rian Johnson’s best movie is pure, outrageous fun from beginning to end. This isn’t specifically set during Thanksgiving, but it has that nice, Thanksgiving feel – family, fall leaves, and sweaters straight out of Christian girl autumn! A clever whodunnit with a highly quotable script and dazzling ensemble cast, “Knives Out” plays like a mix of twitter, Agatha Christie, and “Clue.” Some absolute showstoppers include Chris Evans as a trust fund baby and Toni Collette as Gwyneth Paltrow.
8. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
A Woody Allen gem, “Hannah and Her Sisters” tracks the interconnected lives of Hannah (Mia Farrow) and her sisters, Lee (Barbara Hershey) and Holly (Dianne West), over the course of some scrumptious Thanksgiving dinners! We get to know the men in their lives, such as Elliot (Michael Caine), Hannah’s husband, who is cheating on her with Lee. Lee’s also trying to break up with a strange, older artist Frederick (Max von Syndow). Holly’s also mad about her career while dating a hypochondriac played by Woody Allen.
A drama comedy with sharp, realistic, and humorous dialogue, “Hannah and Her Sisters” is filled with complex, pretentious, but ultimately likeable characters that show off Woody Allen at the top of his game. With the film’s mature subjects, this movie probably shouldn’t be watched with the whole family. It’s official: Taste of Cinema is now Common Sense Media.
7. Alice’s Restaurant (1969)
“Alice’s Restaurant” is Director Arthur Penn’s hilarious adaptation of singer Arlo Guthrie’s folk song, “Alice’s Restaurant.” Arlo avoids the draft by going to college, and then quits school and hitchhikes back home. After he visits his friend Alice for Thanksgiving dinner for a celebration, he and his friends dump the trash at the bottom of a ditch. But he gets arrested for littering and goes on a strange adventure that finds him at the front of the draft board.
Partly based on Guthrie’s real life, “Alice’s Restaurant” tells a distinct, beserk, and bonkers countercultural tale rooted in a fear of the military draft; distinctly American and a perfect ‘60s comedy for Thanksgiving.
6. The Ice Storm (1997)
An underrated Ang Lee outing based on the excellent novel by Rick Moody, “The Ice Storm” depicts the turbulent, inner world of the American middle class. It’s 1973, Thanksgiving in the suburbs of Connecticut, and the Hoods and Carters are going crazy. Daddy Benjamin Hood is a cheating drunkard, his wife is sad, and two of his kids are doing drugs and sleeping around. But these problems are of little consequence when an ice storm tops it off.
Lee and screenwriter James Schamus tell a brutally realistic story about the corruption trickling amidst America’s overabundant harvest, the Watergate Scandal perfectly serving as the film’s backdrop. Every actor is outstanding here, especially the three main kids, a young pre-Frodo Elijah Wood as Mickey Carver, a cute pre-Spiderman Tobey Maguire as Paul Carver, and Christina Ricci as the edgy teenager Wendy. Joan Allen as Elena Carver owns the movie.
There’s deep problems in the American subconscious that really need fixing. If you hadn’t guessed it already, the literal ice storm is a metaphor. Maybe your family has a lot of problems that haven’t been dealt with yet. If you all gather round and watch “The Ice Storm” during Thanksgiving, perhaps you’ll be inspired to indulge in some reconciliation before an ice storm blows in to destroy you.