clarionledger.com – ‘The New World’ (2005)
“The New World” tells the story of the establishment of Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607 and the subsequent clash of worlds between the English and the Algonquian Native American tribes. The film centers all of this around Pocahontas and her multiple (fictionalized) romances.
The film is one of the most heavily praised portrayals of pre-Colonial Native Americans, and it is set only 13 years before the arrival of the pilgrims. It delivers a realistic vision of life for both the English and the Americans in the 17th century.
‘Addams Family Values’ (1993)
The sequel to the 1991 re-launch of the 1960s television show of the same name, this movie’s most iconic scene is the summer camp play reenacting the first Thanksgiving (merging Plymouth and Jamestown in the play, with Wednesday Addams portraying Pocahontas).
The Addams children go off-script during the play; Wednesday delivers a deadpan speech about the true history of the treatment of Native Americans by Europeans; and the children playing the Native Americans light the set on fire and tie up the Pilgrims.
It is a modern American fable about a washed-up boxer who gets his shot at the world heavyweight championship and the American dream, and it is secretly a Thanksgiving movie.
On Thanksgiving, Paulie plucks the turkey from the oven and tosses it into the back alley. Following Paulie’s turkey-day tirade, Rocky and Adrian go on a bittersweet first date at the ice skating rink.
“Dutch” is about a middle-aged man who volunteers to go pick up his girlfriend’s son from private school in Georgia and bring him home for Thanksgiving in Chicago. The road trip turns into a nightmare: The car gets totaled, Dutch’s wallet gets stolen and his would-be stepson is a self-absorbed, spoiled rich kid who thinks Dutch is trash.
The comedy is dark and often physical like Laurel and Hardy. The two main characters wage war against each other on their long journey, but they eventually bond in their commitment to make it home without calling for help (primal male stubbornness).
‘A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving’ (1973)
Peppermint Patty calls Charlie Brown and invites herself and two more friends over to Charlie’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. Chuck is too passive to call Patty back, and he helplessly accepts that he must prepare a meal for his friends, though he confesses that he only knows how to make toast.
Snoopy seems to come to the rescue with popcorn and jelly beans, but the Chuckster is destined for a roasting from Patty.
‘You’ve Got Mail’ (1998)
It was the late ’90s and the internet was new; AOL was on top of the world; and the computer spoke to you when you logged onto the internet: “You’ve got mail.” It was such a cultural force that Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan starred in a romantic comedy written around AOL Instant Messenger.
Set during the holidays, “You’ve Got Mail” is about two strangers who become romantically involved via AOL Instant Messenger but unknowingly live their real-world lives as business adversaries.
Oh, and you probably forgot this movie is set around Thanksgiving.
‘Miracle on 34th Street’ (1947)
Often considered a Christmas classic, it is forgotten that “Miracle on 34th Street” begins at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.
When the man hired to play Santa in the parade is discovered to be intoxicated, the woman in charge invites an elderly, portly attendee with a white beard to step into the role. What she doesn’t know is that he is the real Kris Kringle.
Definitely a solid list, Charlie Brown is always a must.