Have a Warped Thanksgiving with These 11 Movies


©2019 Kari Carlisle

Unless you’re holed up somewhere, the last few days’ conversations, no matter how long or short, have ended with “Have a happy Thanksgiving!” followed by a reciprocal wish.

What does that mean, “Happy Thanksgiving”? For me, the idea conjures images of the Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving dinner painting, the happy family anxiously waiting to tear into that golden roasted turkey with all the fixings. And I just know that afterward, they will settle into the living room for football and the National Dog Show, toggling back and forth to please everyone. Once there’s room enough to fit it in, out comes the pumpkin pie.

And then there’s the reality. All the elements are there – family, food, football, etc. But how happy is it? I say mix things up a bit, i.e. warp that T’giving, and now you’ve got a day to remember! Scratch the whole thing. Bring the gang together (the ones you get along with), fire up the grill for some turkey burgers, but definitely keep the pumpkin pie. Record the game and the dog show (how did they get wrapped up into Thanksgiving anyway?), and binge a few from my curated selection of movies:

The Scarlet Letter (1995). I hope they’re not still teaching the grossly inaccurate first Thanksgiving when pilgrims and Indians sat down for a nice big turkey feast. Forget those pilgrims and enjoy the Demi Moore version of The Scarlet Letter with Pilgrims Behaving Badly.

Smoke Signals (1998). And speaking of Indians, the ones in Smoke Signals are closer to reality with their own family problems. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. But it will be over their family issues instead of your own.

Anger Management (2003). Don’t get me wrong, I am all for the attitude of gratitude but NOT a fan of the “let’s go around the table and say what we’re grateful for” thing {shudder}. I think this movie does a much better job of expressing our inner goosfraba.

Now for dinner…

The Martian (2015). Stranded on Mars, astronaut Mark Watney finds a much better use for the Thanksgiving dinner the crew was saving. And to be honest, I love love love the disco soundtrack.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001). Boy leaves dysfunctional family and joins wizard school. Now, THAT’s a kid’s table for you!

ThanksKilling (2009). With a tagline of “Gobble, Gobble, MotherF#%@er!” this movie has to be so bad it’s good. You may want to turn this killer turkey loose on your dysfunctional family after it’s done killing college students.

And the after-dinner activities…

Jerry Maguire (1996). You can know absolutely NOTHING about football and still love this romance with Tom Cruise and Renée Zellweger. You had me at tight end.

Year of the Dog (2007). The exact opposite of the National Dog Show. Molly Shannon is brilliant as a dissatisfied office worker looking for meaning after her dog dies. This movie will require one full box of tissues and one garbage bin per person. Seriously, I started crying within 10 minutes and didn’t stop until about 2 hours after the movie ended. Do NOT say I didn’t warn you. Shit, I just started crying again… 3 years after seeing it. Seriously, this one sticks with you.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986). Unless you enjoy watching Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade participants and viewers freezing their butts off, you’ll have a much better time watching Ferris get away with ditching school. And he ends up in a parade, so there you go.

Citizen Kane (1941). If a post-dinner sledding party is your typical Thanksgiving ritual (not mine – I’m in Phoenix), instead of bundling up and hauling out Rosebud, get into your Snuggie and watch this classic Orson Wells drama and be thankful for your simple life.

Pumpkinhead (1988). While you are eating your pumpkin pie, turn out the lights and curl up under a blanket for this 80’s slasher movie.

I hope you enjoy my Thanksgiving movie selections and start a new and special tradition for your day! Have a warped Thanksgiving!

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