By Melissa Chapman
Warsaw Community Public Library
WARSAW — In the movies, as with American tradition, Thanksgiving is frequently overlooked. As soon as the jack-o’-lanterns get tossed out and the calendar flips to November, thoughts turn not to turkey but candy canes and twinkling lights. Turkey Day films are in short supply. But that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. These are movies about what it means to share a meal with the people you love, begrudgingly or not. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll have flashbacks to some of your unforgettable family dinners.
Thanksgiving is a day of eating, football and friends and/or family. In films, the holiday is often presented as a painful obligation, one where tensions frequently boil over at the dinner table.
It’s for this reason that “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” is one of the most watched around Thanksgiving. An uptight businessman faces disaster after disaster as he tries to get back home in time for his family’s Thanksgiving dinner. Along the way he’s joined by a quirky traveling salesman who won’t leave him alone.
There are stressful Thanksgiving dinners, then there’s the feast at the center of indie powerhouse “Krisha,” the story of a family gathering completely disrupted by the return of an estranged aunt. It is a gut-wrenching and semi-autobiographical film that frays the nerves with efficiency.
Who doesn’t remember watching “Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving” every year? Charlie Brown and his friends show us what the voyage of the Mayflower would have been like and how the colonists settled into their new land.
“Free birds” is an animated film about two turkeys from opposite sides of the tracks who must put aside their differences and team up to travel back in time to change the course of history, and get turkey off the holiday menu for good. This is a good distraction for the kids while you let the tryptophan set in.
Thanksgiving movies are about family dynamics, both good and bad. “Grumpy Old Men” is about two neighborhood curmudgeons who have a long-running dispute. It becomes an all-out rivalry when an attractive widow moves into the house across the street. “Instant Family” is the story of a husband and wife who stumble into the world of foster care adoption. After they learn their perfect foster child comes with two other siblings, they find themselves speeding from zero to three kids overnight.
Warsaw Community Public Library is a cornucopia of films to enjoy during Thanksgiving.