The Game Plan

Post-Meal Movies You Can Enjoy While in a Food Coma

Posted by Carten Cordell / Thursday, November 22nd, 2012


Fill in the gap between feasting and board game playing with a family movie. / Photo credit: Jane Rix /

After celebrating Thanksgiving dinner aka The Holiday For Which We Give Thanks aka aka An Annual Excuse to Consume Copious Amounts Of Solid Food, it’s usually time—some early birds (haha, get the pun?) and the older folk like to end around 5:30 p.m. while the middle-aged person probably checks out at about 7 p.m.—to lather the dishes in artificial-smelling lemon scent and pop them in the magic cleaning machine. Or not. There’s a certain part of society that prefers using paper plates and plasticware for Thanksgiving. That’s the great thing about America: the freedom of choice. Whether the table settings are enjoying their exfoliating jacuzzi or are conversing in hushed tones in the trash can, one tradition all holiday participants can partake in is the Viewing of the Family Movie. So heat up the popcorn. Set aside the recliner for the one uncle who falls asleep during the previews. And pick from one of these suggestions.



Thanksgiving-themed movies

“A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving”

Starring: Todd Barbee, Robin Kohn and Stephen Shea

Christmas has “A Christmas Story.” Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve have “Valentine’s Day” and “New Year’s Eve.” Heck, the Fourth of July even has Twilight Zone marathons. This is the official Thanksgiving movie. In its 30-minute runtime, which plays each year on ABC F.Y.I., Charlie Brown hosts a totes adorbz Thanksgiving dinner for Peppermint Patty and her friends with the help of Linus, Snoopy and Woodstock. 



“Planes, Trains and Automobiles”

Starring: Steve Martin, John Candy and Laila Robins

Everyone knows a Del Griffith (Candy). They’re overly talkative, clumsy to a fault and are just bad luck, period. In this family movie directed by John Hughes, Neal Page (Martin) is on his way home for Thanksgiving when his plans get sidelined and he’s suddenly “blessed” with the company of Griffith. What was once a two-hour flight turns into a three-day, aren’t-you-glad-you’re-not-him holiday adventure.



“Home For The Holidays”

Starring: Holly Hunter, Anne Bancroft and Robert Downey Jr.

The one film that makes it on every single holiday-themed must watch list, this Jodie Foster-directed comedy/drama revolves around a family that seems to be falling apart around Thanksgiving (side note: doesn’t everyone’s?). Single mother Claudia (Hunter) has just been fired. Kitt (Claire Danes) decides to celebrate the holiday instead with her boyfriend. It turns out Tommy (Downey Jr.) just married his partner. Through the trials and tribulations, they somehow make it through. Or do they?  



Now on DVD

“The Avengers”

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson

Average people would soil their pants at the thought of Iron Man (Downey Jr.), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Evans), Black Widow (Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) chasing after them. Loki isn’t the average human. He isn’t human at all. When he threatens to destroy the Earth with a team of alien Chitauri creatures, the Avengers step up to defend mankind. It’s like “Ocean’s Eleven” without casinos. Or George Clooney or smarmy montages (gotta love those smarmy montages!). Actually it isn’t like “Ocean’s Eleven” at all. The witty jokes are just as funny, only this time they’re delivered by RDJ.



“Moonrise Kingdom”

Starring: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward and Bruce Willis

Wes Anderson. Wes Anderson. Wes Anderson.  Bill Murray. Wes Anderson. Okay, that was it. Got it out of the system. This “romantic comedy-drama” (romantic dramedy? rom-drom?) is a tale of young love between two very precocious New England kids who run off together and go missing. Practically the entire town goes out to looks for them. All set to a brilliant soundtrack. 




Starring: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly and Emma Thompson

It’s about time Pixar decided to use a female protagonist in one of its films. Merida (Macdonald) is a princess in Scotland who’s a total master at archery. Total William Tell-level stuff. Anyway, she refuses to buy into that whole arranged marriage thing and instead turns her mom into a bear. Literally. You know how kids can be.



Now in theaters

“Wreck-It Ralph”

Starring: John C. Reilly, Jack McBrayer and Jane Lynch

It’s a family movie about video games. But not like that one song by Lana Del Rey. Because that’s definitely not appropriate for the whole family. And it’s not a movie. And it’s not even really about video games. This animated Disney movie—just checked and mind blown: not a Pixar film—features Dale Doback himself as an arcade villain with an identity crisis. Like that one Nice Guy who wants no more time in the friendzone and ventures out to become an A-Hole, except in the opposite direction, Ralph sets out to fulfill his dream of becoming a hero. More cameos and references from games such as Pac-Man, Frogger and Q*Bert than you can shake a joystick at and voiceover from Sarah Silverman make this a film for the entire family.




“Life of Pi”

Starring: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan and Adil Hussain

Sorry to break it to you, fans of famous mathematicians. This isn’t a biography. Well, it kind of is. But it’s not about circles or that weird symbol that looks a lot like a cursive “r.” It’s also not about pie. Go watch “Waitress” if that type of thing appeals to you. It’s about this one boy from India—apparently named after a swimming pool in France B.T.W.—who would probably major in religious studies if he went to college. He’s, like, really into spirituality. It’s his thing. But he doesn’t go to college. Instead, he survives when his ship capsizes and he’s left stranded in the middle of the Pacific Ocean—the figure of speech is meant here; he’s probably not stranded in the exact geographical “middle” of the Pacific Ocean. It would be pretty boring if that’s all that happened, right? Just him floating around and trying not to drink all the “water, water everywhere.” Better throw in some animals. Hmmm like a hyena. And a zebra and an orangutan. Even a tiger! Before you ask, they don’t talk. Find out how Pi survives for 227 days. That’s a lot more than 127 hours! Though he does have use of both arms.




“Pitch Perfect”

Starring: Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow and Rebel Wilson

The Gleeks of McKinley High graduate and continue their show choir pursuits at college. Just kidding! Except only a little bit. Beca (Kendrick) has a passion. And that passion is mixing mashups. Surprise, she also has an amazing voice. Like “why doesn’t she have a solo album out?” good. Oh wait, she was in a few musicals. In this Feel Good Movie Of The Year, she’s convinced to join the all-female Barden Belles a capella group and, on the road to finals, discovers various things about life, herself, et cetera. However, don’t watch if Ace of Base makes you gag. Speaking of, there were like … two and a half vomit scenes. In all seriousness though, (jazz) hands down one of the most entertaining movies of MMXII Anno Domini.

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