There’s nothing better than queuing up a good film after a long day of feasting on Thanksgiving. From family dramas and unlikely romances to silly gatherings among old friends, these films all have something we can relate to this holiday season, so grab a warm beverage, tuck yourself underneath a blanket and enjoy to the fullest.
- Grumpy Old Men (1993)
Acting greats Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau shine in this 1993 holiday comedy about feuding friends who both become romantically interested in their new neighbor, played by Ann-Margret. Things only get worse when their love interest spends Thanksgiving with another man, and the other two men take rivalry to new heights as they try to impress the neighbor. The film was a surprise hit, with total earnings of more than $70 million, and generated a sequel, “Grumpier Old Men,” in 1995.
- The Big Chill (1983)
When an old friend dies by suicide, a group of former college pals gathers over Thanksgiving weekend to reminisce about who they were and who they have become. While the story centers around the death of a loved one, it is also a heartwarming reminder about how sometimes the family we have is the one we create. The film was nominated for multiple Oscars, a Golden Globe, and a British Academy of Film and Television Arts award (BAFTA), and won the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival in 1983.
- Scent of a Woman (1992)
When student Charlie Simms (Chris O’Donnell) takes a job over Thanksgiving weekend to help care for a woman’s blind uncle (Al Pacino) he finds it to be a much bigger task than he had imagined. Pacino’s portrayal of retired Army ranger Frank Slade garnered huge accolades, and Pacino won both an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Best Actor. A film of the highest quality.
- The Blind Side (2009)
When a boy from a poor neighborhood is taken in by a wealthy Tennessee woman, life changes for both of them. Thanks to Leigh Anne Touhy (Sandra Bullock) and her family, Michael “Big Mike” Oher (Quinton Aaron) is given an opportunity to put his athleticism and protective instincts to use on the football field, eventually becoming a first-round NFL draft pick. The movie plays hard and fast with the truth and leans a bit heavily into the white-savior tropes, but a Thanksgiving Day scene when Big Mike causes the family to pause and appreciate their meal and one another is particularly touching.
- Avalon (1990)
Avalon explores a Jewish family’s integration into American culture. The family can’t seem to connect, which culminates on Thanksgiving when their Uncle Gabriel, played by Lou Jacobi, arrives late for dinner to find they’ve started without him. His outrage—” You cut the turkey without me?”—leads to more drama, estrangement, and loss. “Avalon” was critically acclaimed and was nominated for Oscars in several categories, as well as for Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture, Best Screenplay, and Best Original Score.