Three comedic films for a stay-at-home for the holidays Thanksgiving

by Nick Gonzales

Let’s face it. There’s less incentive to head home for Thanksgiving this year than any other year in recent memory.

Can you imagine sitting around a table, trying to enjoy a holiday meal with your worst relatives — the ones with bad takes on who won the election, the state of race relations in America, and whether or not the coronavirus is a liberal hoax? Us neither.

Almost 11 months into 2020, we can certainly think of a few things we’re thankful for, but ultimately we’re just too tired.

That’s why we’ve put together a list of Thanksgiving movies — comedies specifically — you can watch this year as you stay home. Sit back, relax, and dissociate.

“Planes, Trains and Automobiles”Remember traveling? Remember interacting with strangers while traveling? Being trapped with someone you just don’t mesh with may feel like a distant memory, but it’s still a ripe subject for comedy.

The highly acclaimed 1987 film directed by John Hughes was his first outside of the teen comedy genre, and it still holds up today. The movie stars Steve Martin as Neal Page, a marketing executive who encounters a series of misadventures while trying to travel home in time for Thanksgiving. Along the way, he is joined by Del Griffith, a kind but annoying salesman played by John Candy.

Martin and Candy have a lot of chemistry, and while hilarious, the movie doesn’t transform either character all the way into a caricature. As a result, it ends up feeling quite heartfelt as well.

“The House of Yes”Do your Thanksgiving day plans involve a reenactment of the assassination of John F. Kennedy and incest? If so … why would you admit that, you absolute psychopath? This movie, released in 1997, is proof positive that there’s always a family weirder than yours.

[image:2]Adapted from a play by Wendy MacLeod, the film follows Marty Pascal as he brings his fiancée Lesly (Tori Spelling) home to meet his family. Jackie-O (Parker Posey), his sister who has been recently released from a psychiatric hospital and is obsessed with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, conspires to break up the couple over the course of the holiday. Extremely dark comedy antics ensue.

One hundred percent of the reason to watch this film is Posey, who has made a long career out of playing people who have come unhinged. She’s at the height of insanity here. Sure, Siskel and Ebert gave it two thumbs down and it never made back its money, but the film won an award at the Sundance Film Festival.

So if dark indie comedies are your thing, consider watching this — just not with your family.

“Funny People”Adam Sandler is known for two things: his dramatic movies, the majority of which are great, and his comedic films, which vary wildly in quality. “Funny People” is a contender for the best of both categories. This 2009 film might also be Judd Apatow’s most understated, perhaps because it feels like Sandler is simply playing a version of himself.

[image:3]It follows Ira Wright (Seth Rogen), an aspiring comedian who is hired as a personal assistant to George Simmons (Sandler), a friendless, retired comedic actor. After Simmons is diagnosed with leukemia, the two travel around the country meeting other, sometimes real, comedians.

But things start to unravel when Simmons decides to try to win back his ex-fiancée Laura (Leslie Mann), who at the time is married to someone else.

An examination of the anger, loneliness, and pain that often go into trying to be funny, “Funny People” is a genuine movie, not just a comedic romp, and is definitely worth a watch.

Oh, and it has a Thanksgiving scene.

Nick Gonzales

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