(**previous post I’m thankful to repost)
“to live gratitude is to touch Heaven”…Poet Johannes Gaertner
November signifies the start of the heavenly holiday season, when soothing sand and sensational surf are the latest, coolest rage, and a time for family, feasts, and phenomenal films take center stage. There’s so much to be cinematically grateful for, from light family flicks to weighty, thought-provoking drama.
In no particular order (can gratefulness really be graded?), the ultimate, feel-good Thanksgiving films to be enjoyed with or without the assistance of sand and candied yams…
Holiday Inn (1942) was based on a concept by Irving Berlin about an inn that would only be opened during the holidays with our leading men (Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire) vying for the love of their leading lady.
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973) finds Charlie Brown halfheartedly serving an unexpected dinner for his friends who are in due course served the true meaning of Thanksgiving.
Oscar winner Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) spans a 12-month period beginning and ending with Thanksgiving dinner for an extended family including three New York sisters who bring secrets and scandals to the table.
John Hughes’ Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987) eventually reaches the heart when an impatient-to-get-home family man (Steve Martin) reluctantly lands a holiday travel buddy in an annoying but lonely guy (John Candy).
Macauley Culkin is the forgotten child who’s left Home Alone (1990) and makes the holidays unforgettable for the crooks who try to invade his family’s home.
Scent of a Woman (1992) scored Al Pacino a well-deserved Oscar as a bitter, blind retired army man who is left in the care of a troubled teenager (Chris O’Connell) during the long Thanksgiving weekend.
John Hughes’ Dutch (1991) is a cranky construction worker (Ed O’Neill) who volunteers to pick up his girlfriend’s difficult son (Ethan Embry) from boarding school for Thanksgiving, unaware of the chaos that accompanies the car ride.
Your typical dysfunctional family comes Home for the Holidays (1995) with their own distinct set of problems that they unfortunately feel inclined to share with their “loved ones.”
Paul Newman is Nobody’s Fool (1994) as an unlikeable but lovable small town man who’d rather spend the holidays alone than with his neglected family.
Katie Holmes tries to hold together the Pieces of April (2003) portraying a young woman being pulled in many directions as she struggles to plan a unique Thanksgiving dinner for her equally unique family and boyfriend .
Between the cocktail hour and the casserole dishes, there’s plenty of time for quality films, as the Thanksgiving holiday calls to mind the words of the great Roman philosopher Seneca, who once said, “Nothing is more honorable than a grateful heart.”
In honor of all movies, great and small, Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!