A friend recently said, “Thanksgiving is the appetizer of the holidays.” I tend to agree, and these five films will definitely give you an appetite for the Thanksgiving holiday. I once asked for a Thanksgiving dinner for my birthday and it was not disappointing. Now, Thanksgiving isn’t just about the food, it’s also about family, tradition, being thankful and … the food. Hopefully you will agree that these films help give you the holiday feeling.
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973)
Short and sweet, this 30-minute TV movie is definitely a must-see for every Thanksgiving season. There’s a Charlie Brown movie for just about every holiday and like I said, tradition is one of the key elements of Thanksgiving. Charlie Brown has the dilemma that he has unexpected guests coming for an impromptu dinner. Of course, it’s Snoopy that brings the gang together by making a dinner that only a dog would enjoy. Since no one wants what Snoopy made, Charlie Brown feels a little defeated. However, Thanksgiving is saved when everyone piles in the car and goes to Charlie’s grandmothers for dinner. Just a little fun story to start out the Thanksgiving feeling.
The Addams Family Values (1993)
Not exactly a Thanksgiving film, since it takes place in the summer, but it’s the play done by the kids at summer camp that make me think of this movie each Thanksgiving season. The campers are recreating the first Thanksgiving, which is weird to do in the middle of the summer. Nothing really makes sense in the world of the Addams’ though. Wednesday Addams has the right idea with her speech and the domination over the counselors and other campers as the Native Americans. It really puts me in the Thanksgiving mood.
Free Birds (2013)
I really loved this movie. Time traveling turkeys going to stop the first Thanksgiving. It’s animated movies like this that I find amusing. Two turkeys steal a time machine from the government in order to stop the first Thanksgiving. The idea is just absurd, since today’s turkeys are apparently quite stupid, according to the movie. Despite the pilgrims trying to kill the turkeys the entire time, they come together in the end, proving that the spirit of Thanksgiving is truly meant to be shared with everyone.
Son in Law (1993)
Speaking of the spirit of Thanksgiving, this movie is filled with it. Thanksgiving is about the coming together of different cultures, and Pauly Shore in South Dakota is exactly that. Imagine a California-stoner-type on a ranch, it just doesn’t make any sense. In my Thanksgiving opinion, it is fate that brings “Crawl” to South Dakota in order to show that just about anyone can get along, and not just during the holidays. This movie comes to mind first and foremost when I want to watch a Thanksgiving film. I think it’s something the whole family can enjoy. Although, some people today might not get a lot of the cultural references from the early 90‘s.
Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)
An oldie, but a goodie. Nay, a greatie. A true classic for Thanksgiving, Planes, Trains & Automobiles is also about the coming together of different “cultures.” Steve Martin is known for his “asshole” characters, and this movie is no different. It’s kind of his own stereotype. John Candy is hilarious as always. Their two characters clash hysterically throughout the film, but of course with the spirit of the season, they form an unbreakable bond, a true friendship that might baffle anyone who didn’t know their journey. It’s older movies like this one that make me wish movies today could be more like back then. I’m sure people could argue that they’re better now than they were then, but I tend to disagree. Comedy has changed, in my opinion, but a duo such as Steve Martin and John Candy are as quintessential as they come. Not exactly family-friendly, with cursing and sexual insinuations, this is something to watch after the kids have passed out from eating too much turkey.