DVD of the Week – Three Films for Thanksgiving

by HELEN GEIB

Struggling to think of an appropriate movie to watch to celebrate Thanksgiving? Try one of these- very different from each other- three films with a Thanksgiving focus:

Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)

Ask someone to name the first Thanksgiving-themed movie that comes into her head and she’ll probably say Planes, Trains & Automobiles, John Hughes’ road movie comedy of the misadventures of a buttoned-down Chicago businessman trying- with the help and hindrance of an obnoxiously friendly traveling salesman- to make it home from New York in time for Thanksgiving dinner. Steve Martin and John Candy play the odd couple.

Pieces of April (2003)

If your family’s tastes run less to mainstream comedy and more to indie drama, writer-director Peter Hedges’ Pieces of April is your holiday movie of choice. Katie Holmes’ young New York City apartment-dweller has invited her semi-estranged parents (Oliver Platt and Patricia Clarkson) and brother to Thanksgiving dinner. Then her oven dies- on the morning of. A tribute to the power of the Thanksgiving meal to bring family and neighbors together, not to mention its all-around deliciousness and culinary variety, Pieces of April is also the best bet to please the cook.

The New World (2005)

And finally, for the cinematically adventurous there’s Terrence Malick’s transcendent biopic of Pocahontas, who leads her people in bringing food to the starving Jamestown colonists. Pocahontas is played by the luminous O’orianka Kilcher; Colin Farrell co-stars as John Smith and Christian Bale as John Rolfe. Watch it on the biggest screen you possibly can.

What are your Thanksgiving movie recommendations?

New releases this week: Charlie St. Cloud, Grown Ups, Ramona and Beezus, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

4 responses to “DVD of the Week – Three Films for Thanksgiving

  1. “The New World” is a phenomenal film and I cant wait for Terrence Malick’s latest film to be finished and presented!!! And “The Thin Red Line” was gypped at the Oscars for every nomination. The cinematography was far superior to that of “Saving Private Ryan”, and so was the direction, and adaptation.

    For a Thanksgiving treat: for those that had watched the Rodriguez/Tarantino film “Grindhouse” in the theatres and remember the fake trailer to “Thanksgiving”, one can watch it on Youtube in anticipation for the feature length version of it! It’s been announced by Eli Roth, its director, and I do hope that it’s going to really exist. It’s a ridiculously well made spoof and is currently Eli Roth’s only good film, so far, (even though it’s only 90 seconds long). 0_<

  2. The New World is a mesmerizingly beautiful movie but I’m not sure I would suggest it to someone in post-feast stupor or in a house full of restless/talkative types. It is a bold suggestion and thematically appropriate; any opportunity to recommend this sadly neglected film is good.

    I think something really silly and lively, e.g. What’s Up Doc, is the best choice for the sated and blended audience of a holiday gathering. Or something that is a particular old family favorite so everyone can talk about and over the movie and be companionable.

  3. Well, you have 2, the 1st two are traditional Thanksgiving movies in our family.

    • Would you believe I saw Planes Trains for the first time just last year? It was the movie selection at my film club’s Thanksgiving party. This year we’re watching Pieces of April (that one I caught when it was in theaters, and liked it very much).

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