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A Five-Course Thanksgiving Movie Collection

By Steven Pate in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 23, 2010 6:40PM

Thanksgiving does not pull its weight when it comes to movies. Compared with Christmas, Halloween and even Valentine's Day, there just aren't many filmmakers tackling the subject of Turkey Day, or even using it as a backdrop. It's enough to make us think a holiday consisting of people sitting around, stuffing their faces and slipping into a tryptophan-induced food coma atop whatever piece of furniture is closest to a television is not inherently cinematic. In fact, there may be only five Thanksgiving movies worth watching.

1. That Planes, Trains & Automobiles is far and away the best movie about our national holiday is not up for debate. Like the holiday itself, this movie is about going home, and what we will put up with to do it. Add two comedic actors at the peak of their powers in Steve Martin and John Candy and throw in that John Hughes touch and you have the definitive statement on the subject.

2. Home For the Holidays. After gluttony and the agonies of travel, the most-often observed aspect of Thanksgiving is enduring the weirdness of our own families. Jodie Foster's last directorial effort (from 1995) has a good cast and a lot of good moments with little holding it together except the Thanksgiving setting. Not a classic, but a sturdy attempt.

3. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. For everyone who thinks that toast, popcorn and pretzels can't make for a special meal, let this Peanuts special disabuse you. It might not tug quite so forcefully at the heart strings as the Christmas special, and it teaches some dangerous lessons about wishbone safety, but we'd never turn it off.

4. The House of Yes. Forget, Pocahontas. Parker Posey is a national treasure. We might entertain arguments that there exists a better Posey vehicle than this 1997 indie, where she plays a razor-sharp, overprotective (to say the least) 'Jackie-O' Pascal who doesn't handle her brother's introduction of his new fiancee particularly well. Not necessarily recommended watching with your family, unless your family is crazy.

5. Okay, so a youtube clip of the famous "Turkey Drop" from WKRP is not a movie. That doesn't mean it's not among the greatest Thanksgiving moments every captured via moving image.

Honorable Mention: The Ice Storm.