1. Planes Trains Automobiles
This one stands out as the go-to Thanksgiving classic. Steve Martin, back when he was funny and allowed to use foul language + John Candy being his normal amount of awesome together in a buddy road comedy = best math ever. There’s literally nothing wrong with this movie (yes, I said “literally” cause I mean it!) and literally no better way to kick off the holiday season then stuffing yourself with turkey and dressing to a comatose level before pouring onto your sofa and watching this bad boy on repeat till gravity takes hold and you pass out.
- In lieu of a trailer, here’s one of my very favorite scenes from the film … mainly cause in my limited YouTube search I couldn’t find a trailer. Enjoy!
Big dog, Thanksgiving, family fun – perhaps not quite Oscar worthy, but this one is actually much better than it’s given credit for. Produced by Ivan Reitman (the man directed Ghostbusters) and written by none other than Mr. John Hughes (though he’s credited under the pseudonym Edmond Dantès) this movie highlights some pretty hilarious early performances from Oliver Platt, Stanley Tucci, and even Joesph Gorden Levitt as Student #1. It’s also worth noting that this film warranted five sequels, not sure where the story goes after 2, but some screenwriter found a way.
- All in all, not the best movie ever made but a solid Thanksgiving family watch.
3. Miracle of 34th Street
The presence of Santa here is highly misleading, as most people deem this a Christmas movie. But, it’s not. It’s about the Thanksgiving day parade, which culminates in the first yearly glimpse of Santa – not Christmas. Or, maybe, it’s the miracle part – you know, with the birth of Jesus and all that miracle stuff. Anyway, point is, it’s not a Christmas movie! So, watch it tomorrow on the appropriate holiday and school your friends with your wealth of Miracle on 34th street knowledge.
I feel I should also point out there are two significant versions of this film, the original 1947 George Seaton classic starring Edmund Gwenn as Santa is a timeless master piece – however, the version I remember is the 1994 Les Mayfield directed version, which was co-written by a guy you may know from my #2 and #4 pick – John Hughes. This one has Richard Attenborough as Santa Clause and Mara Wilson fresh off Matilda as the little girl – both performances are pretty spectacular for a kids Thanksgiving day movie.
- And while, for my money, the 1992 version is a funnier watch – the film snob in me requires embedding the trailer for the ’47 classic to try and mis-lead you into thinking that’s the one I actually watch … but it’s not … here’s the trailer!
Apparently John Hughes loves Thanksgiving! This is the third film on this list that Hughes added his voice to – and the result is a dark anti-holiday comedy that was panned by critics and a massive box office failure. But, with all that being said, I actually love this film and perhaps it was my pre-adolescent rebellion that lead me to favor this film during the Thanksgiving season, or maybe it’s actually just a mis-understood undiscovered gem.
The story follows Ed O’Neill as Dutch, a screw up that never found time to grow up. That is until his girlfriend’s son comes home for Thanksgiving. Comedy ensues as Dutch and Doyle (a young Ethan Embry) fight, forgive, and in the end become friends. Pretty typical, but fun as it makes its way through the standard comedy beats – and it ends with Thanksgiving dinner, so there’s that.
I lied. This list is actually the top 4 Thanksgiving movies, and the 1 worst Thanksgiving movie of all time. But, that’s just too long of a title. Thankskilling is a real movie, Netflix it – it’s the story of a homicidal turkey on Thanksgiving. Seriously. He uses a shotgun at one point.
- I could type words here, and wax poetic about … something, but nothing I could possibly write would say as much as this trailer, which I should point out is extremely NSFW (even with the bad words beeped out). While you watch this though, keep in mind: (1) someone spent time and wrote a script (probably) for this, and that was after coming up with this idea and fleshing it out to a script ready level (2) people woke up early, arrived at set and shot this movie (3) actors were probably cast and didn’t pull out of this thing after seeing the script – all these facts added together are amazing, and unbelievable and resulted in this:
Well, there you have it! Hope this fills your holiday with the best/worst viewing experience possible. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!