10 Movies to Watch On or Before Thanksgiving

Every year on Thanksgiving, we come together to celebrate alongside family and friends with a huge feast. Maybe you have a TV in the background playing the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade live from New York, football, or Thanksgiving movies. Whether you choose to watch it ahead of time or on the day of, these 10 movies will set the mood for Thanksgiving. From horror movies to comedies, there are many options to choose from.

1. “Friendsgiving” (2020)

Courtesy of Red Hour Productions.

The producer of “Tropic Thunder,” “Zoolander” and “Dodgeball” created this lovely yet hilarious movie, “Friendsgiving.” Molly (Malin Akerman) and Abby (Kat Dennings) host a Thanksgiving party with their friends. The Thanksgiving dinner is supposed to be quiet, but party crashers and unexpected moments create a chaotic dinner for all. I loved watching this movie as it is so messy and the scenes reminded me of my Thanksgiving with my friends. I could especially relate to the hostesses. “Friendsgiving” is a movie that should only be watched with friends or other adult family members. 

“Friendsgiving” is available to watch on Netflix.

2. “Jack and Jill” (2011)

Courtesy of Columbia Pictures.

One of my favorite Adam Sandler comedies, “Jack and Jill” is one of the most chaotic movies I saw as a teenager. “Jack and Jill” are fraternal twins who get together on Thanksgiving every year. Only Jack (Adam Sandler) always dreads it because he has to deal with his passive-aggressive and bold sister who will not leave. As Jill (Adam Sandler) stays with Jack, she turns his life upside down. I recommend getting together with your friends or family and watching the chaotic twins during their Thanksgiving holiday. 

“Jack and Jill” is available to stream on Netflix.

3. “Holidate” (2020)

Courtesy of Netflix.

“Holidate” is a year-round movie that can be watched on any holiday or at any other time. Sloane (Emma Roberts) and Jackson (Luke Bracey) are tired of having horrible holiday experiences with their dates and families, so the strangers decide to meet up each holiday to be each other’s date and fool Sloane’s family. While scoffing at romantic cliches, their relationship grows to something deeper. This romantic comedy deserves to be watched on any holiday, but especially on Thanksgiving or Christmas with family or friends. I have seen this movie too many times to count as I enjoy it every year when Thanksgiving or Christmas comes around.  Be prepared for the hilarious moments and Sloane’s family as they are a wild bunch. 

“Holidate” is available to watch on Netflix.

4. “Pilgrim” (2019)

Courtesy of Hulu.

If you’re looking for something different from the usual feel-good movies of the holiday season, how about a horror movie? “Pilgrim,” a Hulu original, lives up to its name. A woman (Reign Edwards) invites a group of actors dressed as pilgrims to re-enact the first Thanksgiving for her family and friends. The pilgrims do not break character, and the Thanksgiving dinner is one the family will never forget. When I first watched this film, I forgot how different the original Thanksgiving could be from the current holiday we all know and enjoy. 

“Pilgrim” is available to watch on Hulu.

5. “You’ve Got Mail” (1998)

Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Do you love books? How about romance? In this rom-com, two owners of competing bookstores, Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) and Joe Fox (Tom Hanks), are at each other’s throats. Joe even tries to overthrow Kathleen’s store. However, they meet each other online and fall in love, not knowing that they are each other’s worst enemies. I love rom-coms that involve any holidays, and this is one of them. Tom Hanks has been one of my favorite actors since seeing him in “Forrest Gump.” “You’ve Got Mail” may be old, but it is an amazing movie to watch with your partner or friends. 

The movie is available on HBO Max.

6. “The Blind Side” (2009)

Courtesy of Warner Bros.

This is not one of the traditional Thanksgiving movies, but it has a good lesson. Thanksgiving is about being thankful and appreciative of what you have in life. Based on a true story of a football player, “The Blind Side” shows this theme through a white family and an African American teenager. Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) brings in a new member of the family, Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron). Leigh Anne does her best to provide him with education, a learning experience and an excellent place to call home since Michael is a homeless teenager with little formal education and skills to get him through life. This movie is an emotional rollercoaster as it gives perspective on how people are fortunate and unfortunate. It is a good reminder that we must be thankful for our opportunities and reach out to people in need. 

“The Blind Side” is available to watch on HBO Max.

7. “Addams Family Values” (1993)

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures.

My number one favorite movie of all time is “Addams Family Values.” The Addams Family welcomes a new member into the family and must hire a nanny to help. When they find a new nanny, Uncle Fester (Christopher Llyod) falls in love. The family must rescue their Uncle Fester from his first love, Debbie (Joan Cusack). “Addams Family Values” may not have a Thanksgiving theme, but it does have a comical twist on a Thanksgiving story that only the Addams Family can pull off. I have watched this movie too many times, and it never fails to make me laugh. 

“Addams Family Values” is available to stream on Netflix.

8. “Black Friday” (2021)

Courtesy of MFW Productions.

The day after Thanksgiving is always the busiest day of the year; however, can you imagine defending yourself against an infested bunch of people? “Black Friday” is precisely that. A group of workers shows up at a toy store before midnight to open up for Black Friday. However, the shoppers are infected with something, so the workers, led by the store manager, Jonathan (Bruce Campbell), and longtime employee, Ken (Devon Sawa), have to defend themselves against the murderous shoppers. This movie is funny as they are forced to use anything to defeat the monsters inside the toy store. 

“Black Friday” is available to watch on Starz or rent on Amazon Prime. 

9. “Grumpy Old Men” (1993)

Courtesy of Warner Bros.

This is another old rom-com that will make you laugh and relate. Two “Grumpy Old Men” live next to each other for 50 years as they bicker and insult each other. John (Jack Lemmon) and Max (Walter Matthau) meet a new woman, Ariel (Ann-Margret), who moves in on their street, and their rivalry steps up a notch as they try to win her heart. I loved this movie as I found their bickering and rivalry hilarious as they tried to woo Ariel. 

“Grumpy Old Men” is available on Showtime or Amazon Prime.

10. “Derelicts” (2017)

Courtesy of Batchain Productions.

What could go wrong at a Thanksgiving dinner? In this case, a gang of deranged vagrants is crashing a family Thanksgiving dinner. The family has to face the gang and attempt to survive the deadly meal. The family’s relationships are already strained enough, and they have forgotten to be thankful for their lives. Barbara (Emily Ammon), the daughter, tries to survive the ordeal along with the rest of her family. However, things go awry as they don’t follow the intruders’ rules. This movie had me at a loss for words because it was so chaotic with different costumes and the ways in which the invaders behaved around the family.

 “Derelicts” is available on Tubi and can also be rented on Amazon Prime.

By Ayla Hooper

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