“There is no doubt that it is around the family and the home that all the greatest virtues, the most dominating virtues of human society, are created, strengthened and maintained.”
– Winston Churchill
“A dog reflects the family life. Whoever saw a frisky dog in a gloomy family, or a sad dog in a happy one? Snarling people have snarling dogs, dangerous people have dangerous ones.”
– Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure of the Creeping Man by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.”
– From the play A Woman of No Importance by Oscar Wilde
Good movies that deal with family and Thanksgiving are slim in my opinion. Among many looking for a Thanksgiving themed holiday film, Planes, trains and Automobiles (1987) tends to be a favorite. Two lesser known movies that I enjoy are Home for the Holidays (1996) and What’s Cooking? (2000). Both rated PG-13 for mature themes. What I like about them is the focus on family relationships.
There are a lot of movies tied to specific holidays that I tend to watch repeatedly almost every year: It’s a Wonderful Life (Christmas), Jaws (4th of July), Groundhog Day (ditto). The movies I prefer to watch around Thanksgiving focus simply on family. Besides the previously mentioned Thanksgiving themed movies, here are some favorites of mine:
My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002) starring Nia Vardalos, John Corbett and Michael Constantine
Frank Capra’s You Can’t Take It with You (1938) starring James Stewart, Jean Arthur and Lionel Barrymore
Woody Allen’s Radio Days (1987) starring Mia Farrow, Dianne Wiest and Seth Green
These are terrific films that the whole family can enjoy.
Two additional films aimed at more mature audiences are:
Little Miss Sunshine (2006) Starring Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear, and Alan Arkin
Ron Howard’s Parenthood (1989) starring Steve Martin, Mary Steenburgen, Rick Moranis, Dianne Wiest, Jason Robards and Tom Hulce
As the weather outside is sometimes “frightful,” gathering together to watch a movie has become a shared experience for the modern family. Laughing together, and sometimes sharing a good cry, is a satisfying time of family bonding. Or you can always be a little more traditional and gather folks together around a table to put together a puzzle, play Mexican Train dominoes, board games, or play a game of Uno (I’ll discuss the rules for my version of Cut-throat Uno in a later post).
Our families aren’t perfect, but as George Bernard Shaw said, “If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.” – What ever you do I hope you have a joyous Thanksgiving.
“It is not until much later, as the skin sags and the heart weakens, that children understand; their stories, and all their accomplishments, sit atop the stories of their mothers and fathers, stones upon stones, beneath the waters of their lives.”
– Mitch Albom
Toula Portokalos – “Ma, Dad is so stubborn. What he says goes. ‘Ah, the man is the head of the house!’”
Maria Portokalos – “Let me tell you something, Toula. The man is the head, but the woman is the neck. And she can turn the head any way she wants.”
– My Big Fat Greek Wedding