From Spike Lee to Jodie Foster: The 10 best Thanksgiving films on Netflix
(Credit: Netflix)


From Spike Lee to Jodie Foster: The 10 best Thanksgiving films on Netflix

“What is that? What am I supposed to be thankful for, exactly? Who am I meant to be thanking, right? I’ve had to scratch and claw for everything I’ve got. If anything, I should be thanking myself.”It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia 

Thanksgivings are usually filled with family, laughter, parades, football and sumptuous meals, the highlight of which is always the juicy turkey and cranberry sauce. As we go around the table, mentioning the things we are thankful for, we feel closer to our friends and families despite the differences we may have had in the past. 

However, the world is plagued by the pandemic that has forced us to stay locked within our homes. Thanksgiving dinners will not be the same over Zoom meetings and, for one, we cannot smell the delicious aroma of the spread via their laptop screens. We feel like Chandler Bing from Friends, who hated Thanksgiving, and rightfully so. Do we have anything to be thankful for this year?

Well, besides being thankful for being alive, we should also be thankful for streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu for being ever-so-gracious and keeping us company amidst these trying times. Without their loving company, we would have been driven to the point of insanity. We may not be able to watch the parade together this year, but why not stream some amazing films on Netflix to set in the holiday mood?

We tried compiling certain films that you can watch with your family all across the world by streaming it on NetflixParty. These films have an inherent feel-good factor and celebrate love, family, life and the spirit of the holidays in general. So, get your comfiest blanket and tuck in to watch the 10 best thanksgiving films streaming on Netflix. 

Happy Thanksgiving, folks!

10  best Thanksgiving films on Netflix:

10. Holidate (John Whitesell, 2020)

Pressurised by her family to find a date, Sloane ends up ‘fake-dating’ the handsome Jackson, as they pretend to be each other’s “holidates”, they gradually find themselves getting entangled in romantic attraction. Over the course of a year, with the onset of every holiday, their relationship evolves till it finally reaches its threshold where they are forced to make an ultimate decision. 

Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey have great on-screen chemistry. With better well-timed jokes and humour, the film could have been given an extra edge. Nevertheless, it is a good watch for some light-hearted fun and cliched and sappy love tropes. After all, who wouldn’t want a date just for the holidays, minus the commitment and effort?

“Human beings aren’t meant to be alone on the holidays. We actually need warmth, companionship and someone to drunk mock strangers with at parties.”

9. Son in Law (Steve Rash, 1993) 

South Dakota farm girl, Rebecca ‘Becca’ Warner moves to the fictional University of Los Angeles where the difference of culture makes her almost want to quit. She is stopped by Crawl, the resident advisor of her coed dormitory. Soon, Becca begins to adapt to the Californian style; she invites Crawl to her farm for the Thanksgiving break, where the latter pretends to be her fiance. 

The film is both hilarious and endearing. A perfect family flick, the flamboyant Crawl finds himself in a bit of a soup in Becca’s town. One of Pauly Shore’s best performances, this film will crack you up. 

Chickens You guys have chickens? I love chickens. Are they extra crispy or original recipe?”

8. Addams Family Values (Barry Sonnenfield, 1993)

The Addams Family is back with their macabre appearance and outlandish ways, but this time the uncle, Fester is attracted to Pubert’s nanny, a sinister gold-digger, Debbie, who seduces rich men and kills them to bequeath their inheritance. When Wednesday gets a whiff of the, she is sent to a summer camp with her brother Pugsley. However, a string of events leads the family to reunite and get rid of Debbie for good and free Fester of her clutches. 

With an exceptional cast playing the horde of eccentric characters, the film is darkly riotous. Better than the first film, Addams Family Values is a fun watch to help you laugh after a sumptuous Thanksgiving dinner.

“Justice is served.” 

7. The Prince and Me (Martha Coolidge, 2004)

What happens when a chirpy and ambitious pre-med student befriends a handsome prince trying to steer away from unwanted media attention? They help each other grow and eventually fall in love. But what stands in between them? Traditions, family values and royal snobbery. That is The Prince and Me for you.

Edvard and Paige are in love with each other but have responsibilities to shoulder. For once, it is refreshing to see Paige pursuing her dreams instead of giving up her career goals to be with Eddie. Eddie is nothing like a prince; he is down-to-earth, understanding and supportive. This film, with its “good-humoured acting” will surely set in the romantic mood for the holiday season.

“The sun itself sees not until heaven clears. I guess it means that love blinds you. And when you’re in love, you can’t think reasonably.”

6. The Princess Switch (Mike Rohl, 2018)

When the Duchess of Montenaro, Lady Margaret Delacourt, meets the talented young baker, Stacy DeNevo, they realise they look exactly alike. The former convinces the latter to perform a switch where they shall exchange lives for two days to be able to breathe. However, the switch leads to further complications when Stacy falls in love with Margaret’s fiance, who in turn falls in love with Stacy’s best friend and pastry shop co-owner. 

Just when we thought we could not get enough of one gorgeous Vanessa Hudgens, the other one arrived. Though this plot has been explored in various ways by other films, The Princess Switch brings in a refreshing outlook with the ongoing baking competition and the stunning visuals. For all the hopeless romantics out there, it a good, light-hearted watch that is accentuated by the delightful premise. 

I’m supposed to marry Prince Edward on New Year’s Day. I hate being in the spotlight. I want to get to know what it’s like to be a normal girl. I want to switch places with you.”

5. Home for the Holidays (Jodie Foster, 1995)

The film focuses on Claudia Larson, a single mother, plagued by problems like unemployment, kissing her boss and her daughter Kitt announcing to sleep with her boyfriend while her mother is gone, travels to Baltimore to spend Thanksgiving at her parents’ home. Her brother Tommy arrives as do the other family members; the misadventures expose the dysfunctionalities in the family, at the core of which lies love, respect and the spirit of Thanksgiving. 

A pleasurable watch, actress-turned-director Jodie Foster’s take on a family trying to get along with each other to tune in with the spirit of holidays is endearing to watch. It is a fond yet bumpy ride through fun and frolic, laughter and love, tears and reconciliation. As Jay Carr said, the film is “filled with juicy performances that expand resourcefully beyond what we think are going to be their boundaries, the film carries us beyond our expectations. That’s what makes it so pleasurable.”

“Enough. You’re a pain in my ass. You have bad hair. But I like you a lot.”

4. She’s Gotta Have It (Spike Lee, 1986)

The gorgeous Nora Darling does not believe in monogamous relationships and ends up dating three men; the narcissistic Greer Childs, polite Jamie Overstreet and the meek Mars Blackmon. The men meet up to compare notes on Nora, who is soon faced with a difficult decision of having to choose between them.

Spike Lee’s iconic independent debut feature is revolutionary; it depicts the struggles of being an African American woman in a typically white patriarchal society and the taboos associated with sexuality and polygamy. Lee later shot a reboot of this film as a Netflix series in 2017. The fraught Thanksgiving dinner-from-hell scene, besides the liberating ending, is one of the highlights of the film.

“It’s really about control, my body, my mind. Who was going to own it? Them? Or me? I’m not a one-man woman. Bottom line.”

3. Dutch (Peter Faiman, 1991)

Dutch Dooley dates an aristocratic woman, the divorced Natalie Standish, who shares a volatile relationship with her son, Doyle, who blames her for the divorce. After her snobbish ex-husband, Reed lies about having business plans in London for Thanksgiving, Natalie decides to bring Doyle home for the holidays to which the latter refuses. Dutch sets out to bring back the stubborn, elitist and arrogant Doyle and they embark on an epic journey while trying to make it back in time for Thanksgiving. 

Hilarious and wild, frenemies Dutch and Doyle make an iconic duo with their strange antics and competitive spirit. The journey they undertake will make your sides ache with laughter. Doyle’s change of heart towards his mother is endearing; the scenes at the homeless shelter, where Doyle finally learns about the love of a family, is perhaps one of the biggest highlights of the film.

“You gonna stay here? Watch the football game on TV? Make a turkey sandwich and hang yourself in the toilet?”

2. Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Andrew Adamson, 2005)

Based on C.S. Lewis’ second chronological novel in The Chronicles of Narnia, the film follows the four Pevensie children, Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy, as they are evacuated from London during the Second World War and sent to the countryside at Professor Digory Kirke’s home. They discover a wardrobe that leads them to the fantasy realm of Narnia with talking beavers, centaurs, Aslan the powerful and kind-hearted lion; the children must help save Narnia from the evil White Witch and her curse that will bring eternal winter to Narnia. 

A wonderful family film, it comprises elements like sibling rivalry, ego, pride and greed with effortless ease. It is heartwarming to see the set aside their differences and unite as a family against the greater evil. The Pevensies become an indispensable part of you and you keep wondering what happens next. Is the book better than the film? Well, one simply cannot compare for the book is a magical world of its own, while the visuals in the film make you relive your childhood dreams over and over again. Watch out for James McAvoy as Lucy’s favourite Faun and try to fight your urge to hug Aslan while watching the film. 

“For Narnia, and for Aslan!”

1. Scent of a Woman (Martin Brest, 1992)

A student at an elite New England prep school, Charlie Simms finds it difficult to fit in due to the lack of similarity with his schoolmates who are way wealthier than he is. To be able to afford a plane ticket to his Oregon home, Simms takes up a temporary job to look over the blind and retired, alcoholic and notorious Army Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade over the Thanksgiving weekend. As Charlie tries to prevent Frank from engaging in reckless behaviour, the two bond and Charlie is able to finally recognise his priorities. 

No matter how much you loathe Frank’s antics, you cannot help but love Al Pacino’s smooth-talking, flirtatious and insolent characterisation of Frank. Blind and bold, as he engages in the tango, you cannot help but wish it were you swaying with him. Interestingly, this film helped Pacino bring home his very first Oscar, and rightfully so, as he shoulders the film forward on his own. An amazing Thanksgiving flick, you will find yourself pitying Charlie’s predicament while rooting for the duo as they encounter a series of mishaps. 

“If you get all tangled up, just tango on.”