After you TRYP-TO-light-PHAN-tastic, there is really only one thing left to do to cap off the evening, that's to loosen our belts, sit back and watch a good holiday film or TV show, which celebrates all that is wonderful about the Thanksgiving holiday. Here are some of my favourites:
ADDAMS FAMILY AND ADDAMS FAMILY VALUES (1991 & 1993)
I'm not usually a big fan of remakes, but this beautifully assembled cast really honoured the original classic characters with their genius interpretations. These films were so good, I almost prefer these reboots. Although the story lines are not specifically about the Thanksgiving holiday, these movies have become holiday favourites. No matter how odd the Addams family may appear, their love for each other is so evident and endearing. We are thankful for family ties and the love that binds us.
PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES (1987)
This one is currently showing in our local movies theatres. Neal tries desperately to get home to Chicago, when due to a freak snowstorm, his plane gets rerouted to Kansas. There he meets affable salesman Del. Through many hilarious events that lead them to take a plane, a train and a car to get there, Neal's frustration grows as he tries desperately to make it home in time for his family Thanksgiving dinner. However, so much went wrong at every turn. In the end, Neal realises how lucky he is and his grumblings weren't really merited as his new friend Del (a widow), had no one waiting for him at home. Neal feels pity for Del, so is asked to join the family for Thanksgiving dinner. We are thankful for the kindness of strangers.
A CHARLIE BROWN THANKSGIVING (1973)
The holidays would not be the same without Charlie Brown in our house. This is the story about Peppermint Patty, who invites herself and the gang over to Charlie Brown's house for a big Thanksgiving dinner. But Charlie Brown already had plans to go his grandparents house for a family dinner. He was convinced anyway, encouraged by Linus, Snoopy and Woodstock, who all promised to help. But Charlie Brown could only make cold cereal and toast. What to do? In the end, they were all invited to the grandparents house, where they enjoyed a wonderful meal with all the trimmings. Crisis was averted. We are thankful for the generosity of others and that friends make the best family.
THE SIMPSONS: BART VS. THANKSGIVING (1990)
Bart has a fight with his family just as their big meal was to start. Being angry and immature, Bart runs away from home, only to discover the true meaning of gratitude and the value of family after helping to serve dinner to the homeless and realising how upset his family was. We are thankful for moments of clarity when we need them.
CHEERS: THANKSGIVING ORPHANS (1986)
It's the island of misfit toys at Thanksgiving! Carla ends up hosting for the gang who found themselves nowhere to go for the holidays. With frozen turkey and overdone peas, the hilarity makes this episode a classic. This memorable episode has it all, including a classic food fight. Pies go flying as well as the sides. Although appearing grumbling and unhappy, this motley group has more love for one another than anything else. We are thankful for having a sense of humour even when things look grim
FRIENDS: THE ONE WITH THE RUMOR (2001)
Friends was an amazing TV series. But hands down, this particular episode which featured a very handsome Brad Pitt, is my absolute favourite. The gang is about to tuck into Monica's Thanksgiving dinner. This year, Ross invited an old high school friend who ends up opening up a big can of worms. The writers hit all the right notes with this one, making it so funny with some of the best lines to come out of television. Husband and I are still quoting them: "You like Green Bay?" "Well it's only like my favourite Bay!" "My two greatest enemies Ross: Rachel Green and complex carbohydrates" "You were the hermaphrodite cheerleader from Long Island?!" "Here come the meat sweats!" We are thankful for the little secrets in life which make it really interesting.
SON IN LAW (1993) This classic fish out of water theme film was a surprise hit. Midwest university student Becca brings home a friend and professional student Crawl to her thanksgiving dinner on the farm. She makes this last minute decision in order to avoid inevitable awkward moments with her sort-of boyfriend back home. Crawl approaches his new surroundings with zeal and city slicker attitude. Husband's favourite scene is when Crawl decides to take the Combine out for a spin, while blasting John Denver's "Thank God I'm a Country Boy"! This was Pauly Shore at his best! We are thankful for help from unexpected sources and that love comes in mysterious ways.
GRUMPY OLD MEN (1993)
Two grumpy neighbours and childhood friends vie for the attention of a new neighbour across the street. John Gustafson and Max Goldman live in Wabasha, Wisconsin. They have had a lifetime of insulting each other, although deep inside they care very much for one another. But this friendship is tested when they meet Ariel, the new hottie. There is a health scare, worry about financial ruin and young love blossoming. In the end, Ariel makes her choice and the street settles down again...until its sequel! So many fantastic lines came from this film: "Good morning, dickhead." "Hello, moron." "Do me a favor. Put your lip over your head...and swallow." "When I had my ulcers, I was farting razor blades." "Kids: can't live with then, can't shoot them." We are thankful for old friends as they make the best friends.
THE PRINCE AND ME (2004)
In case you hadn't already realised, I am a total sucker for chick flicks. And what girl doesn't dream about marrying her prince? This made-for-TV-movie was a quiet hit as evidenced by its many sequels. A playboy heir to the Danish throne, Edward (Eddie), on a whim decides to study at a university in middle America (Wisconsin). There he meets a formidable young woman named Paige, fresh from the farm and ready to conquer the world as a premed student. Eddie manages to secure a job at the campus cafe, after he realises that his family has cut him off financially. There the two become friends and Paige invites Eddie to her family dinner. In the end, he needs to assume the obligations of his title and she has to make some big decisions about her life course. Another fish-out-of-water story, this time with a royal plot twist with a healthy sprinkling of girl power, makes for a fun watch for the Thanksgiving holidays. We are thankful for the strength of our convictions.
So here is my short list of films and TV shows for the Thanksgiving holiday. Enjoy them after you've had your fill of meeting, eating and greeting. But don't forget to shop! There is always time and energy to shop!