23 best movies and TV shows to watch this Thanksgiving

The Beatles: Get Back, House of Gucci and King Richard.
Photo: Apple Corps Ltd; MGM; Warner bros.

This Thanksgiving may be the first family vacation in over a year, which means it will be heartwarming or messy or heartwarming and messy. You may need help finding family activities, so we suggest the simplest one: starting a good movie or show to keep family quarrels to a minimum. It’s also a perfect time to catch up on all of the entertainment you’ve been putting off over the past few months. For this purpose we have put together a large selection of films and TV shows that you can consume with anyone this weekend at your Friendsgiving, Thanksgiving or Solo Watch party. You are welcome!

This is the perfect Thanksgiving movie for your family this year. You have Lady Gaga for the Stans, Adam Driver for the millennial older sisters, Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons for the rentals, and Jared Leto for the crazy cousin. House of Gucci is turning out to be a fun, chaotic time in theaters and a great way to see some other family fight instead of your own. That’s what movies are for, honey!

Congratulations to everyone in Los Angeles and New York for being the only ones currently watching Paul Thomas Anderson’s Licorice Pizza, the film debut of Baby Haim’s sister Alana and Cooper Hoffman (Philip Seymour Hoffman’s son). The film is set in California’s San Fernando Valley in the 1970s and shows the two of them in a love story about growing up (for Hoffman’s teenage character).

In addition to releasing its first Latinx-directed film, Disney Animation also introduces Maluma as a Disney prince (or just a hottie in Disney animation canon, we don’t know), and we’re grateful for that. Kids will love the singing and colorful adventures of Maribel (Stephanie Beatriz), and mothers will love the gentle voice of Maluma. Win win!

Will a sequel to Ghostbusters ever really be enjoyed? Who knows, but Jason Reitman’s latest take on the franchise’s reanimation is sure to try it. Between stars Carrie Coon, Paul Rudd, Finn Wolfhard and McKenna Grace, Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a good family-friendly choice for a weekend theater getaway because the family who … you know what doesn’t matter.

Will Smith shines as the father of Venus and Serena Williams in King Richard, who eschews a traditional biopic in favor of a fuller picture of the Williams family, especially the man with a plan. It’ll even move your dad to tears a little.

Available in theaters and on HBO Max

Sure, it’s the holiday season, but more importantly, last year was a full Princess Diana season. Presented as a tragic fable from a real fairy tale, Spencer by Pablo Larraín is utterly hypnotic – largely due to the phenomenal performance of Kristen Stewart – as he traces three suffocating days in Diana’s life when she visits Sandringham House over the holidays. Spencer is available for rent, but you can also buy it to watch again in December as I officially consider this to be a Christmas movie too. (You’re welcome, neon.)

What can we say except it’s more bond? You know your dad already has No Time to Die on his must-watch list when you get home, so just embrace this reality.

Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho is exciting and nostalgic, if a little chaotic. But with a guaranteed bang of a soundtrack – and Anya Taylor-Joy music numbers! – plus one gnarly in-game secret, it’s a good watch for a late night this weekend. Because if you are alone and life makes you lonely, you can always goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo duration! (Or to your TV, whatever works.)

The kitchen timer isn’t the only ticking you need to hear this weekend. (Hold your applause, please!) You and the family can feel tick, tick … boom! But if your family needs more persuasion, tell them that Lin-Manuel Miranda, the man who made Hamilton, directed. She’ll get that.

Rebecca Hall’s directorial debut is a beautifully crafted adaptation of the 1929 novel, which revolves around two women, Irene and Claire, and is played with serenity and intensity by Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga. When they reunite, Claire reveals that she has gone as white, which sends the couple on a difficult path of choice, oppression, and race. It’s a lush, at times tense film that plays to an equally lush Devonté Hynes score.

The Matrix Resurrections debut is so close we can taste it, but to curb our appetites by then, the Matrix trilogy has to be remastered. Thankfully, Hulu has all three movies ready for binge. It’s time to go down the rabbit hole.

I think I can eloquently explain Jungle Cruise with Dwayne Johnson’s verse about “Face Off”. He sings: “It’s about drive, it’s about power.” This film is based on the Disney park attraction that skippers like Johnson’s Frank technically drive, and in the film, Emily Blunt searches for a mighty old tree. Are Johnson’s lines in “Face Off” really about jungle cruise? I can’t be sure, but his and Blunt’s characters in Jungle Cruise “put in the work, put in the lessons” to “take what’s ours”. Soooooooo, poetic stuff, really.

Swap your turkey and mashed potatoes for Nicolas Cage, his treasured pig, and some truffles. Another neon title, Pig, slipped through the cracks for some people earlier this year, but is now on Hulu, just waiting to be rediscovered.

Do I really have to explain why this is written here? What would a vacation be without Charlie Brown’s typical existential malaise?

It’s literally the Beatles! The name alone either fully signs you up for a watch or it doesn’t. And in Peter Jackson’s new three-part documentary The Beatles: Get Back there is new, intimate footage from the band’s “Let It Be” era. Let’s just say there has to be some drama.

What’s a family affair without a bit of chaos? And a coup? Hulus The Great has just released its entire second season starting a few months after the events of last year’s hilarious debut. Elle Fanning’s Catherine the Great is pregnant, Nicholas Hoult’s Peter is still being held captive, and Gillian Anderson joins the season as Catherine’s bold mother, Joanna. Whew, family dysfunction!

Marvel is returning to the sidewalk with its latest series, Hawkeye. After the intoxicating, cosmic deliberations of Eternals, Hawkeye introduces us to Hailee Steinfeld’s Kate Bishop on the streets of New York when she meets the hero of the same name, Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), in person. The whole series is also set in New York during the Christmas season. Then how can you not have some fun watching, brother?

Do you want to double the Hailee Steinfeld? May we then suggest the actress’s best role yet, Emily Dickinson? Dickinson was created by Alena Smith and is an amazing, warm and really funny television show. The warm, autumnal surroundings in Massachusetts and the lavish costumes, paired with Dickinson’s poetic thoughts, make for a cozy noise. Oh, and did we mention the insanely perfect guest stars? John Mulaney as Henry David Thoreau, Ziwe as Sojourner Truth, Billy Eichner as Walt Whitman and Wiz Khalifa as Death. It’s all too good.

If you’re looking to get lost in three seasons of the family drama Yeehaw, Yellowstone is the place for you. Kevin Costner plays a wealthy rancher with the largest ranch in Montana who fends off those who want to take it away from him. So it’s all about masculine stuff: a bunch of guys looking for power while wearing cowboy boots and speaking with gruff western accents.

Okay, so maybe it’s not the best to watch with your parents, but The Sex Lives of College Girls is a great way to remember your own college days when you return to your hometown.

You may not get “And just like that” until after Thanksgiving, but may we suggest the closest one? Joy. Specifically season four, when the series introduces Sarah Jessica Parker as the New York fashion editor (i.e., a photocopy of Carrie Bradshaw), except this time she sings goddamned but amazing mash-ups. It’s Turkey Lurkey Time Babes!

How can you have a good time? How can you cry well? Just check out How to With John Wilson. This documentary appeared at the height of COVID and reminds us all of the human connection and the absurdity of the everyday. Each episode of documentary filmmaker Wilson teaches us a different lesson, from “How to Make Small Talk” to “How to Make the Perfect Risotto”. Can also catch up on season one before the season two premiere this week.

Few things need to be seen to be believed, but let’s tell you, The Morning Show is one of them. We could downright spoil this batshit show right now and you still wouldn’t believe us. Grab your people and buckle up.

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