Three Insane Films That Kind of Count as Thanksgiving Movies

Stephanie Weber
10 min readNov 24, 2020
THE Thanksgiving film you all know and love. Amateurs.

I’ve always thought it was weird that there aren’t that many Thanksgiving movies. It’s one of the few ubiquitous American holidays — every American celebrates it no matter what race, religion, gender, sexuality, occupation or star sign they are. So then why don’t we have the same wealth of Thanksgiving media that we do for a religious holiday like Christmas?

Yes, Thanksgiving whitewashes the very real and horrendous Native American genocide that European settlers brought with them to America and we do not do much (or anything, really) as a culture to reckon with that. We barely learned about the many atrocities committed against Native American people in the public school I went to in an area originally settled by the Potawatomi and Miami tribes which WE NEVER EVEN ONCE LEARNED. I HAD TO LOOK THAT UP LATER IN LIFE! This is all to say, I get those reasons for a lack of light-hearted celebration surrounding Thanksgiving. But, by that same token, Christians brought the world the crusades, countless wars, and Joel Osteen and yet we all love Elf.

Maybe another reason for the lack of Thanksgiving movies is that they all feel the same — which is a lazy excuse. Yes, the holiday itself is about cooking and eating dinner with a big group of people. It’s not like there are other traditions to mine from. We don’t sing Thanksgiving carols or give each other wrapped giblets. But think about the many iterations of people that are at any given Thanksgiving gathering. There could be anything from family and friends to coworkers to the stranger being invited to a friend’s family’s Thanksgiving to not having anyone to celebrate with at all. There are a thousand different relationships in those few examples I provided. TV shows get this. There is a Thanksgiving episode in almost every American sitcom and drama. But movies and plays? Not so much.

Katie Holmes being a revelation as a very troubled woman who invites her family to her NYC apartment for T-Givs for the very first time in Pieces of April. You will cry if you have a heart at all.

I have done my scholarly research (remembering movies I have seen) and I am ready to suggest three Thanksgiving-ish movies that are not Planes, Trains, and Automobiles or Pieces of April or even Addam’s Family Values which definitely counts. Are all of these movies “Thanksgiving…

--

--

Stephanie Weber

Stephanie is a writer and comedian whose work has been featured on Reductress, Slate, The Weekly Humorist, The AV Club, Mental Floss, Atlas Obscura and more.