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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Movies with a Theme of Thanks

When it comes to holiday movies, Christmas may have other holidays beat. But if you’re looking for a Thanksgiving movie to put you in the proper frame of mind for your holiday gathering, here are a few to consider. Some of these films feature the actual holiday; others provide a theme of “being thankful.”

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving—Charlie Brown and the gang learn the true meaning of Thanksgiving after Peppermint Patty boldly arranges for everyone to celebrate the holiday at Charlie's house

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles—Caution** f-bombs at the rental car counter unless you get the sanitized version. En route to Chicago to spend Thanksgiving with his family, easily annoyed businessman Neal Page
finds his first-class plane ticket has been demoted to coach, and he must share his flight with obnoxious salesman Del Griffith. A sudden snowstorm in Chicago forces the plane to land in Wichita. Unable to find a room in any of the four-star hotels, Neal is compelled to accept Del's invitation to share his accommodations in a cheapo-sleazo motel. Driven to distraction by Del's annoying personal habits, the ungrateful Neal lets forth with a stream of verbal abuse. That's when Del delivers the anticipated (but always welcome) "I don't judge, why should you?"-type speech so common to John Hughes flicks. The shamefaced Neal tries to make up to Del, but there's a bumpy time ahead as the mismatched pair make their way back to Chicago, first in a balky train, then by way of a refrigerator truck. We know from the outset that the oil-and-water Neal and Del will be bosom companions by the end of Planes, Trains and Automobiles, but it's still a fun ride.

Pieces of April—Family outcast April Burns
lives in a beat-up apartment in New York's Lower East Side with her boyfriend, Bobby. In order to spend some time with her dying mother, Joy, April invites her conservative suburban family to her place for a Thanksgiving feast. She discovers that her oven is broken the morning of the big day, so she goes around her tenement building trying to find a sympathetic neighbor with a working oven. Though she doesn't know them, neighbors Eugene and Evette offer the use of their oven, but only for an hour. While she frantically tries to complete the meal, the family drives in from Pennsylvania sharing less-than-pleasant opinions about April's lifestyle. Dad Jim tries to think positively, while daughter Beth flaunts her good-girl status and son Timmy captures it all on film.

Pay It Forward--Pay It Forward movingly conveys a simple yet profound message: We all share responsibility for making the world a better place. That's the lesson young Trevor McKinney
of gleans from the social-studies class taught by Eugene Simonet. So he comes up with an ingenious concept: When someone does you a favor, don't pay it back, pay it forward -- in other words, do a favor for someone else. Trevor's enthusiastically implemented idea yields remarkable results, but not all of them are beneficial.

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving movie?



At 3:32 PM, Blogger Karen said...

I've been wracking my brain all day to think of a movie and I can't come up with anything! I did love Pay it Forward, though. Such a strong message. The book was wonderful, too.

At 4:19 PM, Blogger CatherineG said...

You know ,the only movie we watch every Thanksgiving is Miracle on 34nd Street. Does that count? I just love that movie.

At 6:58 PM, Blogger Terry McLaughlin said...

I haven't seen any of the movies you mentioned, Mo (I know, I know--I've got to get out more!). And at first I was stumped when I tried to list of movies with a theme of thanks.

But then I thought of another movie I haven't seen: Mr. Holland's Opus. I checked the summary online, and sure enough, this film is about students thanking their music teacher.

I'll bet there are lots of other movies with similar thanking-an-individual story lines...and I'll bet I haven't seen any of those movies, either :-).

At 8:58 AM, Blogger Mo H said...

Catherine G,
Of course it counts!! The movie starts with Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade!

At 8:59 AM, Blogger Mo H said...

I loved Mr. Holland's Opus. You really should see it!


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