Your first year in college taught you that there would be more to Thanksgiving than another viewing of "Miracle on 34th Street". It was your father's favorite movie, a Turkey Day ritual that would go back to his childhood. It was time for a change, you thought, but it won't be a drastic one. You're not thinking of those rerun of defunct TV shows. (Everyone has moved on from that special episode of "Friends", with Brad Pitt as a guest star.)
Thanksgiving is a family affair, so your suggested line-up should be enjoyed by everyone. (Your pet collie might be interested in Lassie.) The coursework exposed you to Kafka-esque features (like "Woman in the Dunes"), problems of the bourgeois society, which Luis Buñuel savagely poked in his works and the influential style of Alfred Hitchcock. You could spend the entire night talking about it with your coursemates, but you figured that it would be too much for a simple occasion like Thanksgiving. "The Ice Storm", about the struggles of dysfunctional families in Connecticut, won't be found in your list, though. It must be wholesome fun. No more, no less.
Why Watch These Movies
Addams Family Values. Fans of the TV series may have reservations about this big-screen remake, but director Barry Sonnenfeld retained the Gothic elements that turned it into a hit. The film's highlight would be the macabre reenactment of Thanksgiving play, which might turn off your folks. Truth could be stranger (or bloodier) than fiction.
Dutch. What would be the best way to win a woman's heart? Drive her spoiled son from his school (in Atlanta) to her home (in Chicago) for Thanksgiving. John Hughes, who wrote the script, haven't thought about a plane trip. It would save the man (and the poor boy) some trouble, but there won't be fun in waiting inside the airport for hours.
Grumpy Old Men. "The Odd Couple" turned stars (and real-life buddies) Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau into a box-office duo and unlikely on-screen couple. This comedy showed the two vying for the affection of a woman (played by Ann-Margret), and their Thanksgiving dinner would bring out the little boys inside of them. Your old man might relate to it.
Hannah and Her Sisters. Thanksgiving would be a nice ending to this quirky comedy, which should be good enough to show after (Thanksgiving) dinner. It might be better to have a discussion with your folks afterward, as Woody Allen's thoughtful lines on women and (sometimes failed) relationships is linked to his off-screen issues with his family. Nothing is sacred in this post-Harvey Weinstein era.
Pieces of April. Your coursemates don't have high regard for Katie Holmes, but you would think otherwise. This comedy-drama, probably her best moment, showed her playing April Burns, not the girl-next-door type, inviting her dysfunctional family to her cramped apartment in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. This premise had been filmed many times, where chaos followed after the guests stepped into the house, but it would make you realize that complicated relationships would be the special ones. You won't look at your family, though.
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Steve Martin played a high-strung marketing executive while John Candy portrayed an eternally optimistic salesman. Both must be home before Thanksgiving, and they end up as unlikely travel mates from Chicago to New York. You can count the outrageous scenes by your fingers.
Scent of a Woman. Chaperoning a blind man may not be your idea of Turkey Day, but Martin Brest's drama could make you (and anyone else) think twice. You won't harp on the pretentious lines, which would be typical of Hollywood studios for this kind of movie, but your tutor described it as a feel-good flick. Enough said.
Son in Law. An older coursemate thought Pauly Shore was the best comedian two decades ago, which prompted you to look for a DVD copy of this comedy. You don't have a clue that the best scenes happened during Thanksgiving Day, where a young man tried to make a good impression with his future in-laws. And they happened to be country folks. You would anticipate a barrel of laughs (with your family) later on.
Squanto: A Warrior's Tale. It wasn't one of the most memorable Disney films, even not the most acclaimed animated picture by critics. But it depicted the first Thanksgiving dinner. It would be good enough to pique your curiosity.
You've Got Mail. You still have doubts about online relationships, but this romantic comedy won't be remembered for one Thanksgiving (dinner) scene. Not even Meg Ryan's look. (You wondered why the different look after two decades.) It's a reminder that everyone needs company during the holidays.
A good alternative if no one agrees on the list
You're hoping for a Marvel series on Captain America, as his three starring features are a study of different (film) genres. "Captain America: The First Avenger" is a swashbuckling superhero film reminiscent of black-and-white adventure films produced by RKO Pictures. On the other hand, "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" would remind you of the political thrillers of the 1970s. "Captain America: Civil War" is the closest thing to a Marvel comics.
Captain America may have nothing to do with Turkey Day, but you couldn't have enough of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. (And you can't wait for "Black Panther".) Your folks, huge fans of Turner Classic Movies (TCM), would fancy the first two installments.