November 15, 2007

Give Thanks for Thanksgiving Movies?

I started thinking about this with just one movie in mind, then did a little research to jog my memory. Plains, Trains, & Automobiles is, of course, considered the best Thanksgiving movie there is, and I would challenge anyone to argue otherwise. It's a perfect blend of family drama and odd couple-turned-buddy comedy, with underrated performances by Steve Martin and especially John Candy. The scene in which they argue at the first motel ("It's like going on a date with a Chatty Cathy doll...") is certifiably classic.

What did my research find? Well, it seems that there really aren't that many Thanksgiving movies to begin with. The number doesn't matter, but relative to Christmas, for example, it's not even close. You could probably name 10 animated Christmas movies if you had a few minutes to think about it. But Thanksgiving? There are a bunch of movies where a Thanksgiving dinner happens to occur (most recently American Gangster), but it's usually not a central piece of the plot. Here are some where it actually is:

Home for the Holidays (1995) - Starring Holly Hunter, Claire Danes, Robert Downey, Jr., directed by Jodie Foster (?!)

The House of Yes (1997) - Parker Posey, Freddie Prinze, Jr., Tori Spelling

Pieces of April (2003) - Katie Holmes, Oliver Platt, Patricia Clarkson

Tadpole (2002) - Aaron Stanford, John Ritter, Sigourney Weaver

Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) - Mia Farrow, Carrie Fisher, Michael Caine, written & directed by Woody Allen

The Ice Storm (1997) - Kevin Kline, Christina Ricci, Tobey Maguire, Elijah Wood, Sigourney Weaver, Joan Allen, directed by Ang Lee

What's Cooking? (2000) - Dennis Haysbert, Kyra Sedgwick, Julianna Margulies, Joan Chen

The answer is no, I haven't seen all of them. In fact, I haven't seen any of them (yes, I've missed Home for the Holidays on USA/TBS every year). It turns out that the only other Thanksgiving-themed movie I've seen is Garfield's Thanksgiving, which is not even a movie. What gives?

Maybe Thanksgiving is just a really boring subject to make a movie about. If it's going to be a family relationship drama/comedy/tragedy, you might as well just wait and make it about Christmas. Otherwise what happens on Thanksgiving - you eat until you're sick, watch football and fall asleep? Doesn't make for a very good movie. However, I wouldn't mind seeing a movie about the "first" Thanksgiving, as controversial as it might be. That's something worth exploring...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails