Thanksgiving is perfect for a lot of things: giving thanks (obviously!), football parties, stuffing yourself beyond comprehension and of course, spending time with your nearest and dearest. As we all come to find out eventually, you can’t choose your family and so there may be times when you either want to simply avoid them or instigate a distraction long enough to remind you just why you leave a whole 12 months between seeing your family.
What better way to get everybody singing from the same hymn sheet than by watching a certified classic of a Thanksgiving movie? America’s favorite holiday has been well served by Hollywood in the past, and so here are the pick of the best Turkey Day treats for your TV.
PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES
Perhaps the most revered and famous Thanksgiving movie of them all, this comic farce finds comedy legends Steve Martin and John Candy at their most ridiculous peak in this story of travel chaos, mismatched traveling buddies and demonstration of what some people will go through just to spend the holidays with their family.
The film is a great lesson in accepting people for who they are, looking to triumph through adversity, learning things about yourself and others and understanding that sometimes things happen in life that are totally out of your control. If that isn’t the best kind of message to promote over Thanksgiving then we really can’t think of a better one.
ADDAMS FAMILY VALUES
Sure, they’re creepy and they’re kooky, but we never really imagined this cobweb-covered group of related misfits getting into the spirit of things. But instead of sitting around the table and carving up a plump roast bird, it’s the Addams children, Wednesday and Pugsley, who cause carnage and mayhem for anyone standing in their way.
Sent away for the summer to a camp populated by horrible little preppy kids and counsellors determined to play favorites, the son and daughter of Gomez and Morticia cause havoc at the camp’s staged performance of the very first Thanksgiving. Instead of following orders, Wednesday leads a tribe of her fellow ‘Natives’ into battle to claim Thanksgiving back from the wimps once and for all.
PIECES OF APRIL
Featuring a pre-brainwash Katie Holmes, Pieces Of April is a more realistic look at the family divisions, memories and politics that can sometimes rear their head over the holiday season.
Sexy alt-chick April is determined to show her family that she is independent, assured and ready to approach life as an adult when she invites her semi-estranged family to stay for Thanksgiving. With a new boyfriend in tow, a somewhat relaxed attitude to life and the standards imposed by her family, there’s potential for everything to go wrong. It would be awful of us to tell you how it all ends, so why don’t you sit down with you and yours and watch it? Hell, you might even see some of yourselves in there!
The story of Pocahontas has been largely distorted, romanticized and had its lines between fact and fiction blurred somewhat over time. Immortalized in time, even Neil Young had written a song about her before Disney gave it their own treatment in 1995.
Inevitably, Disney chose to gloss over much of the reality of the situation, instead choosing to go for their usual brand of romantic feeling, soaring musical numbers and the message that love eventually triumphs over all.
While some may take offense at the fact that the real story of white colonization in the USA was a fraught and bloody process (which BaDoink will be covering more in-depth), sometimes you have to let go and suspend disbelief. Besides, when you’ve get a well fed and watered family around the TV, do you really want to start a discussion on the nation’s origins? Probably not, so sit back, relax and enjoy.
HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Perhaps the more sugary version of Planes, Trains and Automobiles, this 1995 Jodie Foster-directed holiday comedy-drama keeps things away from the slapstick and mugging of Martin and Candy, instead choosing to focus on familial tension. It even features the classic divided family trope of…*gasp*…a gay brother!
Sure enough, things reach an uncomfortable climax before the fractures and arguments are resolved to a certain extent. But then that’s the lesson here, isn’t it? You’ll do enough to patch things up before going through the whole rush again the following year. If that isn’t a testament to human adaptability and resolve that we all put ourselves through it?
Make sure you enjoy your own Thanksgiving, and raise a glass to you and yours…and to BaDoink!