10. Son in Law (1993)
Is it “outrageously funny”? No. Is Pauly Shore’s Crawl character a bit grating? Yes. However, it does deal with coming home for Thanksgiving from the big city, and having changed as a person (into awful ’90s fashion). It’s the perfect example of a “movie to wash dishes by.”
8. Pieces of April (2003)
This is great little film. In its own way, it highlights the trials and tribulations of holiday gatherings, from trying to make a good impression on your SO’s parents, to making your first big dinner as a young adult. Oh, and smoking pot. Lots of smoking pot.
7. Grumpy Old Men (1993)
This movie, about, well, grumpy old men, was great on a couple of levels. One, it was super funny with wonderful performances by Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. Two, it introduced extremely impressionable 13-year-old me to Ann-Margret (and Sophia Loren in the sequel). I am forevermore a firm believer that women get better with age. So, thanks for that.
Best Scene: The failed suicide
3. Dutch (1991)
John Hughes was the master of the feels, no doubt about it. When Dutch (Ed O’Neill) volunteers to drive his girlfriend’s boarding school brat Doyle (Ethan Embry) home for Thanksgiving, it seems harmless enough. However, what ensues is a fireworks-blasting, prostitute-thieving road trip that ultimately proves to Doyle that not all adults are idiots or assholes like his father.
Best Scene: Dutch setting off fireworks
2. Home for the Holidays (1995)
A seriously underrated movie directed by Jodie Foster with terrific performances by Holly Hunter, Anne Bancroft, and a Polaroid-snapping Robert Downey Jr. If you haven’t seen it, I implore you to immediately.