Q: Dear Amanda, I am a holiday purist. I watch Halloween movies all October long and don’t start my Christmas festivities until after Thanksgiving. What movies can I watch in November that stick with my holiday theme, but don’t rush me into Christmas? –Hiding from Christmas
A: Dear Hiding,
I am with you on keeping holidays in their designated months. Why rush into them? We have plenty of time to revel in each holiday’s prescribed traditions. That said, Hollywood doesn’t seem to feel the same way judging by the lack of great movies that take place around or on Thanksgiving. It’s a purely American holiday! You’d think they’d want to exploit it more than the giant box stores have. Maybe it has to do with the tradition of watching football instead of movies, who really knows? But I am here to help.
Despite our slim pickings, I’m giving you FIVE great movies you can watch this November to get you in the mood for Thanksgiving. (I only recommend movies I’ve seen, so trolls, do your job and fill us in on some other greats!)
Thankskilling – I love to watch this low-budget horror flick to get me off my scary movie high from Halloween and ease me into November. There’s nothing better than curling up your couch the first week of November with a bowl of popcorn, and watching a flick about a foul-mouthed, murderous turkey who is out to terrorize a bunch of college kids (who really must be college kids based on their acting). The perfect transitional movie.
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles – Perhaps the most well-known movie on my list, this buddy comedy starring Steve Martin and John Candy is like the full-length version of what Kevin McCallister’s mother goes through trying to get back to her son in Home Alone. Martin is a tightly-wound businessman and Candy is a blundering shower curtain ring salesman, who try to make it from Kansas to Chicago after their flight is diverted due to bad weather. Not only are both men hysterical, but the movie will bring back memories to anyone has tried to fly over the dreaded Thanksgiving weekend. I should warn you, this will bring back some major travel PTSD.
Prisoners – This is kind of like saying Die Hard is a Christmas movie (which I do), some people will agree with me and many probably will not. This movie is terrifying and impeccable. Two little girls go missing during the Thanksgiving celebration shared by their families. While Jake Gyllenhaal, as Detective Loki, tries to find the girls and solve the case, Hugh Jackman as a grief stricken father, takes matters into his own hands. Prisoners shows us how everyone, even your regular family man, can have a dark side if pushed far enough.
Grosse Pointe Blank – This is where my list wavers a little. Despite not being set on or anywhere near Thanksgiving, my next movies deal with what I consider to be, Thanksgiving’s main theme: coming home. John Cusack (still so underrated in my opinion) stars as a professional assassin returning home for the first time in years for a hit job…and subsequently for his ten year high school reunion. The rest of the cast is amazing– Alan Arkin, Dan Aykroyd, Minnie Driver, Hank Azaria, and Jeremy Piven. And I laugh every time Cusack tells someone he is a hitman and they brush it off as a joke. I love high school reunions and the idea of coming home again after changing your life drastically. This one nails it.
Garden State – Yes, I know. Zach Braff’s directorial debut is heavy-handed. Natalie Portman is the quintessential Manic Pixie Dream Girl. It screams, “I am Indie!” But it makes the list because we’re sticking with coming home stories here. Also, when I was 15, I thought this movie was everything because it made me feel feelings and that was important in high school. Andrew Largeman (Braff) comes from a medicated existence in LA back to his hometown after his mother’s death. It’s a story of confronting the ghosts you leave behind when you take off and how coming face-to-face with them can actually heal you. (It can also create an amazing soundtrack.)
Hiding, I hope these five movies will get you through the lull between Halloween and Christmas. Remember, there is always Charlie Brown and the gang if you’re feeling TV Special-y.
Want to know which movie is worth $16 this week? Confused by hockey? Desperate for the perfect sex playlist? Basically… Do you need some POP ADVICE? Stop Googling it and write Amanda at [email protected].