Thanksgiving is here again, so why not spend the holiday with your family watching a few timely movies on Netflix? Here are nine that fit the bill…
1. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
Arguably, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is the best Thanksgiving movie. After starting his career with teen dramas and comedies, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles was John Hughes’ first movie that features adults in leading roles with Steve Martin as Neal Page and John Candy as his unwanted travel buddy Del Griffith. While I think it’s a fun film for the whole family, you might want to put some earmuffs on your kids during Martin’s hilarious rental car tirade where he drops 18 F-Bombs in one scene.
2. The House of Yes
The House of Yes shows off what Parker Posey can do in a strange and incestuous Thanksgiving movie. While the film isn’t recommended for family viewing, it is perfect if you’re into John F. Kennedy assassination role play. Oh, and if you like to eat a lot of pancakes.
We don’t often think of Rocky as a Thanksgiving movie, but it does take place around the National Holiday. It’s a lot like how Die Hard is kinda/sorta a Christmas movie. Anyway, Rocky is a movie that you can easily share with the whole family and learn a lot about determination, togetherness, and racing up steps in front of a museum. Rocky II also takes place during Thanksgiving.
4. American Son
Nick Cannon plays a young Marine, who spends time with his family and girlfriend before he’s about to be deployed to Iraq. While American Son was a darling at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008, it remained virtually ignored when it was released in theaters.
5. The Ice Storm
The Ice Storm is considered Ang Lee’s masterpiece. It follows two upper middle class families in Connecticut, as they struggle with their true identities and how they present themselves to others, all taking place during Thanksgiving break in 1973. Although The Ice Storm is not for families with very young children, it is full of drama and mature themes that might work for families with older teenagers.
6. Free Birds
There had to be a few family-friendly Thanksgiving films on this list, right? Free Birds was one of the biggest animated movies from 2013. It follows two turkeys, voiced by Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson, who stumble upon a time machine (yes, a time machine) and attempt to go back in history to get turkey off the first Thanksgiving menu. Free Birds also features the voices of Amy Poehler, Dan Fogler, Keith David, and George Takei.
7. The Nut Job
Although the children’s film is not directly tied to Thanksgiving, The Nut Job is a fun movie for the whole family to watch just before the winter season begins. When Surly, a purple squirrel voiced by Will Arnett, gets kicked out of his park for destroying his furry friends’ food supply, he pulls off one last heist at a local nut shop to stock up for the winter.
8. Addams Family Values
While we don’t usually think of Addams Family Values as a proper Thanksgiving movie, it does feature one of the best and most subversive looks at the National Holiday with Wednesday and Pugsley at summer camp. Although Addams Family Values is not as good as the original, it’s weirder, stranger, and highlights Wednesday Addams — played by Christina Ricci — more than the first film.
Ed O’Neill plays the titular Dutch, a man who tries to bond with his girlfriend’s son, played by a young Ethan Embry, on a road trip home during Thanksgiving break. It’s another subversive Thanksgiving movie from John Hughes (he was Dutch’s screenwriter) that teaches the values of family, road trips, and nude playing cards.