Thursday, November 27, 2014

This 'n That Thursdays: Thanksgiving Movies

Julianna Margulies and Kyra Sedgwick in "What's Cooking?" (2000)

I may be in the minority, but I have absolutely no interest in watching football on Thanksgiving Day (or any other day for that matter).  After the cooking and the eating are done, I prefer to watch a good movie instead, one with at least a hint of a Thanksgiving theme and definitely a film with a feel-good ending (I am rarely a fan of depressing movies).  Here are a few of my personal favorites:

From Future Shop

1) "Miracle on 34th Street" (1947)

Watching this classic movie for the holidays has been a long-standing tradition of mine.  While it is really more of a Christmas movie, the opening sequence features the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, followed by a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for the characters portrayed by Maureen O'Hara (one of my favorite actors), John Payne, and a very young Natalie Wood.  The humorous and heart-warming story just keeps getting better, and who could resist Edmund Gwenn as Kris Kringle?  I have been watching this movie since I was a child (which was a very long time ago) and I continue to watch it every year.


2) "What's Cooking?" (2000)

Four families in an ethnically diverse neighborhood of Los Angeles celebrate Thanksgiving in their own unique ways, full of good food and a roller-coaster ride of emotions and interpersonal interactions that seem to be inevitable at any large family gathering.  I somehow missed this movie when it was first released, but when I discovered it on video and saw it for the first time, it immediately became my absolute favorite Thanksgiving movie.  The excellent ensemble cast includes Maury Chaykin, Joan Chen, Dennis Haysbert, Lainie Kazan, Mercedes Ruehl, and Alfre Woodard.  If you have not yet seen this movie, I urge you to find it and watch it -- you just may see your own family in one of the four in this movie (or be thankful that you do not!).

From BlogHer

3) "Addams Family Values" (1993)

If I am in a darkly humorous mood, this is my movie of choice for Thanksgiving.  Most of the movie is not about the holiday, but one of the most hilarious scenes is the one in which Wednesday (Christina Ricci) and Pugsley (Jimmy Workman) bring their own sinister twist to the story of the first Thanksgiving in a play organized by their annoyingly overzealous summer camp leaders (Peter MacNicol and Christine Baranski).  In fact, the whole summer camp subplot is so funny it almost overshadows the main plot of Uncle Fester's disastrous marriage and its effect on the delightfully dysfunctional family.  This sequel to "The Addams Family" (1991) retains most of the original cast, including Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia, and Christopher Lloyd (Carol Kane replaces Judith Malina as Granny Addams).

Whether you decide to watch football or a favorite movie, or just have an old-fashioned argument conversation with your nearest and dearest, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Pugsley as the Thanksgiving turkey (from Paste)

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