10 movies and specials to watch this Thanksgiving

A scene from the movie 'Free Birds.'. YouTube

TORONTO — Canadians are celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend — a month before our neighbours to the south — with family, festivities and feasts.

To get into the spirit of the holiday, we’ve cooked up a list of 10 movies and TV specials set during Thanksgiving. They’re not all great movies (you mean some are turkeys? – ed.) but they’re bound to resonate with anyone spending time with relatives and pumpkin pies.

We’ve stuffed the list with comedies and dramas that may serve to remind you that your family isn’t as dysfunctional as you thought.

So, make a pilgrimage to the family room and gobble up these Thanksgiving flicks.

Free Birds – 2013

This computer-animated feature comedy is about turkeys named Reggie (Owen Wilson) and Jake (Woody Harrelson) who go back to the first Thanksgiving to get turkeys taken off the menu for good. The movie also stars the voices of Amy Poehler and George Takei.

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Planes, Trains and Automobiles – 1987

Written and directed by John Hughes, this heartwarming comedy stars Steve Martin as a stressed-out business executive trying to get home to Chicago for Thanksgiving with his family. He embarks on a three-day journey with an awkward but cheerful salesman, played by Canada’s John Candy.

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Pieces of April – 2003

Katie Holmes is the titular April, a young woman estranged from her family who invites them to Thanksgiving dinner at her apartment in New York. The film follows the family members’ journeys to the city and April’s struggles to put together the holiday feast. Ontario-born Oliver Platt and Alison Pill also star, along with Patricia Clarkson and Sean Hayes.

Son in Law – 1993

In this comedy, a farm girl (Carla Gugino) brings her party-animal boyfriend (Shore) home for Thanksgiving. The small town conservative family is turned upside down. Anyone who has brought someone home from college for a holiday dinner can relate.

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Hannah and Her Sisters – 1986

This Woody Allen classic tells three stories that start and end with different Thanksgiving dinners. The ensemble cast includes Mia Farrow, Barbara Hershey, Dianne Wiest, Michael Caine and Carrie Fisher.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving – 1973

This Emmy-winning animated TV special follows the misadventures of Charlie Brown and his friends as they prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving.

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Home for the Holidays – 1995

Jodie Foster directed this comedy-drama based on a short story by Chris Radant about a woman (Holly Hunter) who loses her job and decides to fly home to spend Thanksgiving with her parents (Anne Bancroft and Charles Durning). Family drama ensues.

The Facts of Life Reunion – 2001

This TV movie, which was filmed in Toronto, follows Mrs. Garrett (Charlotte Rae) and “the girls” as they reunite in Peekskill, NY for the Thanksgiving holiday. The original series stars are back — except for Nancy McKeon.

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National Lampoon’s Thanksgiving Family Reunion – 2003

A pre-Breaking Bad Bryan Cranston cooked up laughs in this TV movie about the Snider family’s Thanksgiving celebrations. Judge Reinhold and Penelope Ann Miller also star.

The War at Home – 1996

Emilio Estevez directed himself in this drama (and box office flop) about a soldier returning from the Vietnam War who is dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder during his family’s Thanksgiving holiday.


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