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Erik At The Movies: A Thanksgiving Feast on Film


Thanksgiving: The All-American holiday. A state sanctioned day of unbridled gluttony, consumerism, and family togetherness. While the holiday is a considerable part of our culture, it has been far less prevalent on the silver screen than one might first assume. In honor of my personal favorite holiday, I have put together a list of four notable movies that take place at Thanksgiving. Please enjoy,

Planes, Trains, And Automobiles (1987) = This is probably the most famous movie that is explicitly about Thanksgiving. The plot follows advertising executive Neal Page (played by Steve Martin), who meets a traveling shower curtain ring salesman Del Griffith (played by John Candy) and gets stranded at an airport in Wichita, Kansas. They end up teaming up and traveling across America in order to get home to Chicago in time for thanksgiving dinner, and bond as a result. Their comedic chemistry works flawlessly, producing many hilarious scenes that will make you laugh out loud, along with many heartwarming displays of compassion and kindness. A true classic. 9/10.

-Planes, Trains, And Automobiles is available for purchase and rental on demand.

Spider-Man (2002) = Directed by Sam Raimi, 2002’s Spider-Man revitalized the superhero genre and is still widely discussed over 20 years later. It follows Peter Parker and Norman Osborn, portrayed by Tobey Maguire and Willem Dafoe respectively, who each gain superhuman abilities and become the heroic Spider-Man and the evil Green Goblin. The acting from Willem Dafoe is phenomenal, switching between portraying two sides of a deeply fractured mind on a dime. While the special effects have shown their age in recent years, the humor of the film has spawned several memes in recent years. James Franco and Kirsten Dunst also give great supporting performances as Harry Osborn and Mary Jane Watson. A Thanksgiving dinner does occur, with Peter having to “Beat an old lady with a stick” to obtain some cranberry sauce. The hallmarks of Sam Raimi’s off kilter direction are present here, reminding me of his work in the “Evil Dead” series. While I personally prefer the film’s sequel, Spider-Man 2, that doesn’t take away from the fact that this is a fantastic outing in the life of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. 9/10.

Spider-Man is currently streaming on Disney+.

Rocky (1976) = One of the greatest sports dramas of all time, the original Rocky still shines as a testament to the power of the human spirit. The story follows Rocky Balboa (played by the great Sylvester Stallone), a down on his luck boxer from Philadelphia in the fall of 1975, who wins a million to one lottery to fight the All-American heavyweight champion of the world, Apollo Creed (portrayed by Carl Weathers), who only picks Rocky because his title-The Italian Stallion-would be a catchy name to fight on America’s bicentennial. He then trains to prove that he can go the distance, and work up the courage to ask out his love interest, Adrian. Rocky is portrayed in such a sympathetic and endearing way, breaking him down and building him back in one of the most legendary montages in cinematic history. For Sylvester Stalone to go from being homeless, to writing and starring in the film that would win Best Picture at the 49th Academy Awards, is a true testament to the American dream. A triumphant achievement in cinema. 10/10.

Rocky is currently streaming on Amazon Prime and Max.

The Gold Rush (1925) = Charlie Chaplin is one of the most important people in the history of cinema. Debuting his iconic “Little Tramp” character in 1914’s Kid Auto Races At Venice, he entertained audiences the world over with the character in various forms until 1936’s Modern Times and his 1940 masterpiece The Great Dictator. He previously stated that this is the film he wants to be remembered for. The plot follows the Tramp working as a Lone Prospector during the Klondike gold rush in the Alaskan wilderness, who ends up staying in a cabin to escape the cold and meets a local socialite named Gloria. There is a rather humorous scene of a Thanksgiving “dinner”, where The Tramp boils and eats his own right shoe. The film also features an incredibly famous scene in which the Tramp dances with two bread rolls at a New Year’s Eve dinner. For being almost 100 years old, the film holds up remarkably well, and will continue to entertain audiences for many more years to come. 8/10.

The Gold Rush is a part of the Public Domain, and can be freely accessed by all.

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About the Contributor
Erik Larson
Erik Larson, Staff Writer
Hello! My name is Erik Larson and I am currently a staff writer at The Ville who specializes in reviewing the latest and greatest in film. In the words of game director Hideo Kojima: “70% of my body is made of movies.” You can find more of my movie reviews here at my Letterboxd: https://boxd.it/4N1v5

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