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Memorable Thanksgiving Gathering

November 5, 2019
Thanksgiving is a day for turkey, pumpkin pie, football, getting stuck on the interstate, dreading awkward conversations with family—at least that's what we've learned from the movies, which have long used the autumn festivities as the setting for comedies and dramas about stuffing one's face while trying not to strangle one's relatives. No doubt many will again reunite with loved ones (and not-so-loved-ones) this November and hope for the best.
 
But if you need a break from fighting about the midterms with your weird uncle or just need a reason to relax while you wait for the tryptophan to kick in and knock you out, consider one of these movies for a brighter (maybe more uproarious) spin on the American holiday. Raise a glass and a remote and celebrate with one of these 5 great Thanksgiving movies, which will either serve as a distraction or a reminder that it could be a lot worse.
 
Son in Law
Believe it or not, Pauly Shore was once a cinematic staple. As the essential '90s slack dimwit, the actor and comedian was every parent's worst nightmare—never more so in the fish-out-of-water comedy which features Shore as a dude named Crawl, the unlikely boyfriend to small-town-girl Becca (Carla Gugino). Becca brings Crawl back home for Thanksgiving, much to the shock and horror of her conservative farmer father. Tensions only rise when Crawl expresses his intent to propose to Becca over the holiday weekend.  
 
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
Steve Martin's marketing executive just wants to get home to New York for Thanksgiving in John Hughes's 1987 comedy Planes, Trains and Automobiles, but fate constantly stymies those plans–well, fate and John Candy's shower-ring salesman, a chipper and clumsy clown who becomes his unlikely traveling partner during this rollicking three-day odyssey. The pillow scene remains an all-time classic gag.  
 
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
Maybe it's not as iconic as A Charlie Brown Christmas or It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, but this Peanuts holiday special is a good holdover between Halloween and Christmas. This Emmy-winning classic sees Peppermint Patty infiltrating Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving holiday, which he naturally scrambles to put together with his trademark anxiety. (Where the heck are these kids' parents, btw?)  
 
Free Birds
Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson, Amy Poehler, and George Takei lend their voices to this animated comedy. Reggie is a turkey who was lucky enough to be pardoned on Thanksgiving by the President of the United States. Jake, on the other hand, is a wild turkey with a political agenda: he kidnaps Jake in an effort to promote the Turkey Freedom Front, a guerrilla group set to end Thanksgiving for good. Together, they maneuver a time machine, going back to the very first Thanksgiving to rid turkeys from the menu for good.  
 
Addams Family Values
This sequel to the big-screen adaptation of the classic TV sitcom finds the spooky-ooky Addams family once again up to their weird, gothic ways. But their family is thrown into turmoil when a new nanny, Debbie (a pitch-perfect Joan Cusack), has her sights on Uncle Fester—and plans on marrying him for his riches before killing him off. Wednesday and Pugsley know something's up, but Debbie convinces Gomez and Morticia to send them to summer camp—where they are forced to participate in a completely bonkers musical rendition of the first Thanksgiving.  
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