The eternal goal for Thanksgiving Day: find some neutral entertainment that won't set anyone off or put anyone to sleep before the night is over. Because now that you've cleared the path of dinner-time land mines, Hurdle Part II is maintaining the peace after the dishes have been cleared. Here, five non-snooze-worthy movies to schedule for that awkward span of time when everyone's trying to walk off their food babies and stave off the Tryptophan Nap.
1. Hannah and Her Sisters
Woody Allen's early critical success Hannah and Her Sisters charts the course of Hannah's (played by Mia Farrow) extended family over three successive Thanksgiving dinners. Intertwining narratives, existential crises, and broken marriages make this a more challenging, but ultimately more interesting (read: conversation!) movie to watch together. Plus, the supporting cast is A+.
2. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
*The* quintessential Thanksgiving film is a John Hughes (Ferris Bueller, The Breakfast Club) flick that's one of his best, even if there are no cool teens involved. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is a road story about two ill-matched travelers who are forced to band together to make their way cross-country to get home for Thanksgiving. In classic Hughes fashion, the screwball rapport between Steve Martin and John Candy drives the movie, and there's a lot of heart and (non-dad-joke) humor to go around.
3. The Addams Family Values
If you want to watch something that's not entirely on-the-nose for Thanksgiving, it's worth reliving the macabre hijinks of the Addams Family just to witness the epic Thanksgiving takedown (and the impressive history lesson) pulled off by Wednesday Addams. It's lighthearted enough for everyone to enjoy, and doesn't require a full attention span lest you need to steal away for another slice of pie.
4. Pieces of April
Dawson's Creek-era Katie Holmes, we hardly knew ye. This very seasonal movie surrounding Thanksgiving dinner finds itself in New York City, so a great meeting for food and Seamless-obsessed busybodies who don't cook. Our Pippi Lockstocking-ed rebel named April tries to round up her estranged family in the city after her mother is diagnosed with terminal cancer, but oven troubles and her lack of cooking know-how threaten to derail the day.
5. The Ice Storm
What the"celebrities falling" gallery is to your life, this movie is to every family who thinks they're the dysfunctional ones. The catharsis of watching the Hood family prepare for Turkey Day during the Vietnam War era will make everyone feel better about their weird family. Plus, the dramatic '70s climate makes for a classically unhinged movie. "Teen angst! Adultery! Suburban malaise! Hating on the president!"—the gang's all here, except this time they're not unfolding directly in your own home.