Flick Picks: Four movies to watch on Thanksgiving

Charles Liu

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

“Planes, Trains and Automobiles” is a classic John Hughes film starring Steve Martin and John Candy as strangers on a plane from New York City to Chicago that is diverted to Wichita by a storm. Both men resort to other means of travel, and what should’ve been a simple flight home for Thanksgiving turns into a hilarious road trip. Martin’s character, Neal Page, despises Candy’s talkative salesman, Del Griffith, while the latter goes out of his way to befriend Page. Nonetheless, Neal learns that people have their quirks and failings, but all of them have stories worth learning. “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” avoids the cliches of the road trip movie thanks to its smartly written script and balances outrageous shenanigans with emotional depth.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Although it only clocks in at 25 minutes long, “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” is an iconic TV special brimming with sweetness. When Peppermint Patty and her friends invite themselves over to Charlie’s house for Thanksgiving, Charlie, Linus, Snoopy and Woodstock must prepare Thanksgiving dinner. Lacking the proper culinary skills, Charlie and the gang manage to serve plates of only buttered toast, pretzel sticks, popcorn and jelly beans — something Peppermint Patty will not approve of. The story reminds us to appreciate the kindness of our friends, and the animation and voice acting are charming. “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” is a classic short that has been a reliable mainstay on family TVs since 1973, and it will continue to warm hearts for years to come.

Hannah and Her Sisters

Beginning at a Thanksgiving dinner and ending two years later, director Woody Allen’s “Hannah and Her Sisters” explores the lives of an extended family as they grapple with their inner demons and unfulfilling relationships. They all ultimately find love in each other’s arms. The picture has a style and narrative that is distinctly Allen’s, and he also leads the ensemble cast, which stars acclaimed performers such as Mia Farrow, Michael Caine and Barbara Hershey. “Hannah and Her Sisters” displays intelligence and sensitivity through a layered portrayal of its many characters, concluding that life can be a complicated mess, but family is a constant.

Home for the Holidays

In “Home for the Holidays,” Holly Hunter plays Claudia Larson, a single mother returning to her parents’ house in Baltimore for Thanksgiving. Although she and her brother, Tommy (Robert Downey Jr.), have a close relationship, the rest of her family isn’t on good terms. As the movie progresses, the Larsons learn that they may not always love and understand each other, but they should do their best to try. Directed by Jodie Foster and featuring a strong supporting cast including Anne Bancroft, Steve Guttenberg and Dylan McDermott, this movie offers laughs and drama as the dysfunctional Larson family tolerates one another, but Claudia manages to find some peace by the end of the picture.