23 best movies and TV series to watch this Thanksgiving

The Beatles: Come back, House of Gucci, and King Richard.
Photo: Apple Corps Ltd; MGM; Warner Bros.

This Thanksgiving may be the first holiday left with the family in over a year, meaning it will be heartwarming or chaotic or heartwarming and chaotic. Maybe you need help finding family activities, so we suggest the easiest: throwing on a good movie or show to keep family quarrels to a minimum. Also, it’s the perfect time to catch up on all the entertainment you’ve put off for the last few months. To that end, we’ve put together a great serving of movies and TV shows that you can dine with anyone at your Friendsgiving, Thanksgiving or solo-watching party this weekend. You’re welcome!

Now it’s here that perfect Thanksgiving movie for your family this year. You have Lady Gaga for the punches, Adam Driver for the millennial older sisters, Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons for the rent, and Jared Leto for the weird cousin. House of Gucci promises to be a fun, messy time in the theaters and a great way to see another family fight instead of your own. That’s what movies are for, sweetie!

Congratulations to everyone in Los Angeles and New York, because you are the only ones who can currently see Paul Thomas Andersons Licorice pizza, the film debut of little Haim sister Alana and Cooper Hoffman (son of Philip Seymour Hoffman). The film takes place in the 70’s in the San Fernando Valley in California and sees the two swept up in a love story that grows into an adult (for Hoffman’s teenage character).

Not only is Disney Animation releasing its first Latinx-led film, but it introduces Maluma as a Disney prince (or just a hottie in Disney’s animated canon, we do not know), and we are grateful for that. Kids will love Maribel’s (Stephanie Beatriz) song and colorful fairy tales, and moms will love Maluma’s smooth voice. Win-win!

Will a Ghostbusters ever follow up really thank you? Who knows, but Jason Reitman’s latest bid to revive the franchise is definitely trying. Between stars Carrie Coon, Paul Rudd, Finn Wolfhard and McKenna Grace, Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a good family-friendly choice for a weekend theater outing due to the family who… you know what, no matter.

Will Smith shines in as Venus and Serena Williams’ father King Richard, which avoids a traditional biopic in favor of a more unified picture of the Williams family, especially the man with a plan. It will definitely make even your dad cry a little.

Of course it’s the holiday season, but more importantly, the past year has been full of Princess Diana season. Presented as a tragic fable from a true fairy tale, Pablo Larraíns Spencer is completely hypnotic – largely because of Kristen Stewart’s phenomenal performance – as it traces three suffocating days in Diana’s life when she visits Sandringham House on holiday. Spencer can be rented but you might as well buy it to see it again in December because I officially consider this a Christmas movie too. (You’re welcome, Neon.)

What can we say other than it’s more Bond? You know your dad already has No time to die on his must-watch list when you get home, just embrace that reality.

Edgar Wrights Last night in Soho is exciting and nostalgic, albeit a little messy. But with an always guaranteed banger of a soundtrack – and Anya Taylor-Joy’s musical tracks! – plus a knotty mystery at stake, it’s a good watch for a late night this weekend. Because when you’re alone and life makes you lonely, you can always goooo… downtown! (Or to your television, whatever works.)

The kitchen clock is not the only ticking thing you need to hear this weekend. (Hold your applause, thank you!) You and the family can check it out Tik, Tik… Bum!, a musical drama based on the composer Jonathan Larson (aka the guy who wrote Rent), played here by Andrew Garfield. But if your family needs more conviction, tell them it was directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the man who made Hamilton. It gets them.

Rebecca Hall’s directorial debut is a beautifully made adaptation of the 1929 novel, which centers on two women, Irene and Claire, played with balance and intensity by Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga. As they reunite, Claire reveals that she has passed as white, sending the couple down a difficult path of choice, oppression and race. It is a lush, at times tense film set to an equally lush Devonté Hynes score.

The Matrix ResurrectionThe debut is so close that we can taste it, but to curb our appetite until then, a Matrix-gense trilogy must haves. Fortunately, Hulu has all three movies ready to binge. Time to go down the rabbit hole.

I think I can explain in a wordy way Jungle cruise with Dwayne Johnson’s verse on “Face Off”. He sings, “It’s about drive, it’s about power.” This movie is based on the attraction of the Disney Park, which skippers technically like Johnson’s Frank drive, and in the film, Emily Blunt is looking for one powercompletely old wood. Johnson’s lines in “Face Off” are really about Jungle cruise? I can not be so sure, but his and Blunt’s characters “really put in the work, put in the hours” to “take what is ours” in Jungle cruise. Soooooo, poetic stuff, really.

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

Do I really need to explain why it’s here? What is a vacation without Charlie Brown’s trademark existential malaise?

It’s literally the Beatles! The name alone enrolls you either fully in a watch or not. And in Peter Jackson’s new three-part documentary, The Beatles: Come back, there are new, intimate recordings from the band’s “Let It Be” era. Let’s just say there has to be some drama.

What is a family affair without a little chaos? And a coup? Hulu’s The big just released its entire second season, which starts a few months after the events of last year’s hilarious debut. Elle Fanning’s Catherine the Great is pregnant, Nicholas Hoults Peter is still being held captive, and Gillian Anderson is joining the season as Catherine’s brave mother, Joanna. Yay, family dysfunction!

Marvel returns to the sidewalk with its latest series, Hawkeye. After Eternal‘intoxicating, cosmic musings, Hawkeye introduces us to Hailee Steinfeld’s Kate Bishop on the streets of New York as she runs into the very hero Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner). Plus, the entire series takes place at Christmas time in New York. How can you not have a little fun watching then, brother?

Do you want the double of Hailee Steinfeld? So must we suggest the actress’ best role to date, Emily Dickinson? Created by Alena Smith, Dickinson is amazing, heartfelt and really witty television. Its warm, autumnal setting in Massachusetts and lavish costumes, paired with Dickinson’s poetic musings, create a cozy binge. Oh, and did we mention the insanely pitch-perfect guest stars? John Mulaney as Henry David Thoreau, Ziwe as Sojourner Truth, Billy Eichner as Walt Whitman and Wiz Khalifa as Death. That’s way too good.

If you want to get lost in three seasons of yeehaw family drama, look no further than that Yellowstone. Kevin Costner plays the lead role of a wealthy rancher with the largest ranch in Montana battling those who want to take it from him. So you know, it’s about masculine things: a bunch of guys looking for power while wearing cowboy boots and talking in harsh western accents.

Okay, maybe it’s not the best thing to see with your parents, but College girls sex life is a great way to remember your own school days when you return to your hometown.

So you may not get And just like that… until after Thanksgiving, but may we suggest the next thing? Glee. Specifically, season four, in which the series introduces Sarah Jessica Parker as a fashion editor in New York (i.e., a Carrie Bradshaw photocopy), except that this time she sings horrible but amazing mash-ups. It’s turkey lurki time, honey!

How are you doing? How to get a good cry? Just watch How to do it with John Wilson. This documentary series debuted at the height of COVID and reminded us all of human connection and the absurdity of the worldly. Made by documentary filmmaker Wilson, each episode gives us a different lesson, from “How to Make Small Talk” to “How to Make the Perfect Risotto.” Can just as well catch up with season one before season two premieres this week.

Few things need to be seen to be believed, but let us tell you, The morning show is one of them. We could just spoil this shit show right now and you still would not believe us. Grab your people and fasten.

If you subscribe to a service via our links, Vulture can earn an affiliate commission.

See everything

Leave a Comment

Advertise