Sunday, November 1, 2009

Are there any THANKSGIVING Movies?


You know I love to research stuff, movies especially. Here are some Thanksgiving themed movies I've found. Some I've seen, some I will see. If I have seen, you will see my comments in red. All descriptions from

What's Cooking?
109 min.
What happens when families come together for Thanksgiving? Almost anything! Sit back, relax and enjoy this "generous and charming" (The New York Times) tale of four very different families as they cook up some tasty holiday surprises: love, betrayal and even a few outrageous secrets! And, ultimately, discover the astonishing power love has to reconnect us all.
I think this is the best Thanksgiving movie I've ever seen. Not only does in integrate cultures, it has a touching story that will keep you involved right until the very end. Highly Recommend.

Who Made the Potatoe Salad?
90 min.
Michael, a young San Diego police officer, is so thankful that his beautiful girlfriend Ashley has accepted his marriage proposal that he decides to meet her family over Thanksgiving dinner. But nothing can prepare Michael for what Ashley's family is about to serve up: Her dad's a Black Panther, her brother's a thug, and her grandparents – well, they've got it goin' on...and on and on! By dessert time, Michael has to wonder whether his first meeting of the prospective in-laws should be his last in this delectable comedy that'll leave you begging for seconds!
This was cute, but average. A fun way to pass 90 min.

One Special Night

92 min.
Two strangers take refuge in a small cabin during a stormy winter night and, despite their differences, or because of them, they are undeniably drawn to one another in this holiday classic that demonstrates once again the charisma that has made them two of the world's most beloved stars.

Hannah and Her Sisters

103 min.

Hannah and Her Sisters spins a tale of three unforgettable women. The eldest daughter of show-biz parents, Hannah is a devoted wife, loving mother and successful actress. A loyal supporter of her two aimless sisters Lee and Holly, she's also the emotional backbone of a family that seems to resent her stability almost as much as they depend on it. But when Hannahs perfect world is quietly sabotaged by sibling rivalry, she finally begins to see that she's as lost as everyone else, and in order to find herself, she'll have to choose – between the independence her family can't live with...and the family she can't live without.

My second favorite Thanksgiving movie of all time. Family interaction at its finest. Woody Allen hit the mark with this one.


107 min.

Dutch Dooley, a working-class good guy who’s the new boyfriend of a wealthy big shot’s ex-wife. But when the woman’s spoiled son refuses to come home from his Southern prep school for Thanksgiving, Dutch volunteers to pick the bratty boy up for a road trip back to Chicago that quickly goes hilariously wrong. From fireworks fiascos to hitchhiking with hookers, can a man who’s really just a grown-up kid find a way to bring out the child in a little jerk?
I laughed and laughed. This was a delightful and funny movie. Kids will enjoy it too.

Planes, Trains & Automobiles

93 min.

Given the presence of both Steve Martin and John Candy, one would expect this John Hughes comedy to be much, much funnier than it is. Certainly it's not for lack of effort on the part of its stars. Martin is an uptight businessman trying to get home from New York for the holidays. But one thing after another gets in his way--most of it having to do with Candy, a boorish but well-meaning boob who takes a liking to him. Together they travel all over the map; no matter how hard Martin tries to shake him, he can't. But Hughes's writing is never as sharp as it should be and this film winds up being only intermittently humorous.

I thought it was funny enough to keep me entertained.

Son and Law

95 min.

An insouciant college student asked by a friend to pretend to be her fiancé over Thanksgiving break, thus discouraging a jerk back in her hometown from proposing. Shore's character agrees but is given a hard time by the girl's salt-of-the-earth family of farmers. The hero and the friend character have a crush on each other, and now that they have an opportunity to explore romance, their relationship is threatened by poor his tests of rural manhood.

Pauley Shore stars in this, and I'm not a Shore fan, however, I thought this was pretty funny. Shore does some dumb slapstick, but all in all, the story was fun, and romantic.

The Myth of Fingerprints

91 min.
A Sundance Festival special, this indie family comedy-drama was given unduly harsh treatment by critics when it was released. Starring as the long-estranged son of an emotionally distant father, Noah Wyle comes home to his family for Thanksgiving in hopes of reconnecting with his old girlfriend, and receives unexpected results. But he's not the only one coming back. There's the brother with a cute fiancée, who doesn't quite understand what all the tension is about. There's the glum sister who is down on love and everything else until she connects with a childhood acquaintance. And Mom is there to referee it all. But the central conflict involves Wyle and his father.

I couldn't finish this one. I sat through 30 min or so and turned it off. It was too slow, I was bored to tears. I will try again.

Home for the Holidays

103 min.

Holly Hunter plays a Chicago-based single mom who--on the day before Thanksgiving--loses her job and is informed by her daughter of the latter's intention to surrender her virginity while on a weekend-long affair. If that's not enough, Hunter's character then has to fly to Baltimore to join her fractious family for another difficult Thanksgiving. Robert Downey Jr. is terrifically charming as her prankish, gay brother, and Anne Bancroft and Charles Durning show plenty of comic resilience during the predictably interesting Thanksgiving dinner scene. The script by W.D. Richter (Brubaker) avoids the usual clichés in family dramas--the deepest, darkest secret revealed here involves the painfully sweet revelation of a 40-year-old crush. Jodie Foster, directing her second feature, focuses instead on the inevitable softening of old grudges and disappointments with time. This is a wise as well as wonderfully fun movie.

I tried to sit through this one, for Downey Jr., but I found I couldn't. I will try again this year. If I can't, I will give it up.

Pieces of April

80 min.

The plot of Pieces of April, a sweet independent film, couldn't be simpler: As a raffish young woman named April struggles to cook Thanksgiving dinner in her dingy, cramped New York apartment, her estranged family slowly drives toward the city, stopping now and then to question why they're going to a meal they expect to be not only bad to eat, but awkward and unhappy. The writing, acting, and directing of Pieces of April ranges from straightforward to clumsy--and yet the movie builds to a surprisingly potent emotional conclusion. Much of the credit goes to wily Patricia Clarkson, who plays April's cancer-ridden mother with a compelling mixture of sadness, rebellion, and wistful hope.

This wasn't a bad flick, I sat through it.

The House of Yes
85 min.

This film was the toughest of the bunch to embrace, based as it was on a self-consciously quirky off-Broadway play about Thanksgiving at the home of a particularly strange family. Oldest son Josh Hamilton comes home from college for the holidays, with fiancée Tori Spelling in tow. What he hasn't told her is that his twin sister, Jackie-O (played by Parker Posey), thinks she's Jackie Kennedy--or that he and Jackie-O have shared more than, shall we say, filial affection. Posey is wonderfully edgy and she and Hamilton spar with entertaining vigor, but you still have to cope with writer-director Mark Waters's pretentious script.

NO! I hated this film so much, I wanted to dig my eyeballs out with a spoon!

For Children

Stories of Thanksgiving
34 min.
This holiday collection includes these 2 titles: Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message The Pilgrims of Plymoth A comprehensive activity guide with exciting ways to enhance early language and literacy skills. K-4.

Molly's Pilgrim
24 min.
Based on the beautifully sensitive book by Barbara Cohen, this live-action film examines the plight of a young Russian-Jewish emigrant who has come to the United States to escape religious persecution. "Molly's Pilgrim" carries a message about religious tolerance and other American values, Thanksgiving, and growing up, and can be appreciated on many different levels. Winner of the 1985 Academy Award for best live-action short film.

I saw it, I loved it. My daughter loved it too. Great for children and adults. You learn about tolerance, which we all seem to forget.

An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving (2008)
90 min.
In this moving Hallmark Channel drama based on a short story by Louisa May Alcott, struggling widow Mary Bassett is trying to support three children, but money is so tight that they can't even afford a Thanksgiving turkey. An unexpected visit from her estranged -- and moneyed -- mother means Mary can prepare a proper holiday meal. However, it will take more than a feast to heal this family's emotional wounds.
I plan to watch this one in November. I see mixed reviews, some say it was decent, others say it was awful.

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