Arts & Media

Movies to Watch on Thanksgiving

Scotland Carter ’24
Staff Writer

Figuring out what to do on Thanksgiving amid the coronavirus pandemic is tricky. With the rising number of coronavirus cases, it is hard to picture the conventional personal gathering-oriented Thanksgiving. Considering Thanksgiving doesn’t get as much hype as Christmas finding a good Thanksgiving movie to get you in the mood for the season is a little trickier. Luckily, after watching multiple holiday films, I chose the few that I think are worth watching.

1. Fantastic Mr. Fox
Throwback to 2009! Who couldn’t use a good laugh during a time like this? Fantastic Mr. Fox is a personal favorite of mine. It follows a simple plot with the perfect balance of comical reference that adults and children would find funny. Fantastic Mr. Fox is rated PG-13 — so it may be a good fit for those of us that have younger siblings — and the movie takes place during Thanksgiving! The film is about Mr. Fox’s adventure stealing from his human neighbors’ farms. He takes on this task with the help of his best friend, nephew, and later on, his son!

You can stream Fantastic Mr. Fox on Disney +.

2. The Nightmare Before Christmas
It is never too late to get into the Christmas Spirit. This movie is the bridge between the spookiness of Halloween and the joyousness of Christmas. Jack, a lonely Halloween spookster, is inspired by the world of Christmas — which he accidentally discovers during his lonely walk through a graveyard. Like the Grinch, he ends up trying to steal Christmas by becoming Santa Claus. In the midst of this, a love story develops between him and Sally — a humanoid ragdoll.

You can stream this on Disney +.

3. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
Despite protagonist Neal Page’s strategic planning, what started as a delayed flight turns into an unplanned road trip across the Midwest. He gets stuck on this road trip with Del Griffith, a guy who sat next to him on the plane. Neal Page is hostile toward Del considering their first encounter (I would tell you why, but I don’t want to give any spoilers — their first encounter is funny through). As his trips become more inconveniently elaborate — meaning his next few flights get delayed which forces him to undertake an untimely road trip — his friendship with Del grows, and he makes it home in time for Thanksgiving.

This movie is perfect for those looking for a lighthearted comedy focused on friendship, wanderlust, and the irony of traditional, Midwestern family values.

You can stream this on Sling with a premium subscription or buy/rent it on Amazon.

4. What’s Cooking?

What’s Cooking rounds up this list. The movie is about four ethnically diverse families that share one of the most intimate parts of their culture with one another — their food. The families generally focus on making the traditional turkey Thanksgiving dinner, but, as well know, the cultural twist to traditional recipes that happens in the kitchen is inevitable. By the time Thanksgiving arrives the dinner table has a mix of kugel’s, spring roll, and tamales with a hint of queer love and interracial romance.

My favorite thing about this movie is that they tied in progressive ideas while maintaining a comedic vibe throughout the film. What’s Cooking was produced in 2000, discourses about sexuality, love, and race were nowhere near as common as they are toda — which makes this movie pretty radical. I strongly recommended this movie for anyone trying to overcome that Thanksgiving political tension at the dinner table.

You can stream this for free on Tubi.

In the midst of a pandemic where sharing even the slightest amount of consumable objects is taboo, I too, am concerned about how to celebrate a Thanksgiving without giving. That said, I hope that these movies can help get in you the mood for the holiday season.

Image Source: AFI Movie Club

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