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Top 5 Thanksgiving Movies of All Time

By Shawn McKenzie 11/25/2002

It’s Thanksgiving time, and there are many entertainment choices you can make to enjoy the holiday after the turkey and stuffing are gone.  While there are tons of Christmas movies out there, there are barely any Thanksgiving movies…but, believe it or not, there are a few.  Here is the top five I recommend renting or buying to put you in the Thanksgiving spirit.


5.     A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” (1973)-Though not technically a movie, it is available for sale or rent.  Charlie Brown is preparing to go to his Grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving when Peppermint Patty invites herself and a bunch of other people over to Chuck’s house for turkey dinner.  Since he didn’t have the time or knowledge to make a proper dinner, he enlists Snoopy and Woodstock to cater it.  They decide popcorn, toast, and jellybeans are a good dinner.  Hilarity ensues.


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4.     Dutch (1991)- Volunteering to drive his girlfriend's (JoBeth Williams) son home for Thanksgiving to Chicago from his boarding school in Georgia, Dutch (Ed O’Neil) takes to the road with an unbearable twelve-year-old snob (Ethan Embry, who went by Ethan Randall) who doesn't like him in the least or that he is dating his mom.  They go through a long road trip and get to know each other.  Not the best John Hughes movie, but a fun one for the holiday.


3.     Home for the Holidays (1995)-After losing her job, making out with her soon to be ex-boss, and finding out that her daughter (Claire Danes) plans to spend Thanksgiving with her boyfriend, Claudia Larson (Holly Hunter) has to face spending the holiday with her family.  She wonders if she can survive their crazy antics.  Directed by Jodie Foster, this is a very funny movie with great performances by Hunter and Robert Downey Jr. as her wacky gay brother Tommy.


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2.     The Ice Storm (1997)-In the weekend after Thanksgiving 1973, the lives of the Hoods are spiraling out of control.  Benjamin Hood (Kevin Kline) drinks to try not to think about his trouble at the office.  His wife, Elena (Joan Allen), is reading self help books and losing patience with her husband's lies.  Their son, Paul (Tobey Maguire), home for the holidays, escapes to the city to pursue an attractive rich girl from his prep school.  Finally, young nymphomaniac Wendy (Christina Ricci) roams the neighborhood, innocently exploring liquor cabinets and lingerie drawers of her friends' parents, looking for something new.  Then an ice storm hits, the worst in a century.  Tragedy ensues.  Directed by Ang Lee, long before he become famous with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, this movie was one of his best before he became an “action” director.  There are great performances around, including those mentioned above and other performances by Sigourney Weaver, Elijah Wood, and a pre-“Dawson’s Creek” Katie Holmes.


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1.     Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)-All that Neal Page (Steve Martin) wants to do is to get home for Thanksgiving.  His flight has been cancelled due to bad weather, so he decides on other means of transport.  As well as bad luck, Neal is blessed with the presence of Del Griffith (John Candy), Shower Curtain Ring Salesman and all-around blabbermouth, who is never short of advice, conversation, bad jokes, or company.  When Del decides that he is going the same direction as Neal, trouble happens at every turn.  One of The funniest movies for everyone involved, including Martin, Candy, and director John Hughes.  This movie is so timeless that it is great to watch all year long…not just on Thanksgiving.


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I hope these suggestions help you have an already fun time on your holiday.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Disagree with my choices?  Do you have a few suggestions of your own for the best Thanksgiving movie of all time?  Please go to the Home Page and post your opinion on the Entertain Your Brain Message Board!

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