When it comes to must-see holiday TV, Halloween has the Great Pumpkin and a half-billion horror movies from which to choose. Christmas can counter with the Grinch, Frosty, Rudolph, Elf and a dozen Scrooges, each more ornery than the next. Thanksgiving brings us … Del Griffith, Hannah and Leo Fish?!? Let's face it: When it comes to culinary excess, Thanksgiving is second to none. When it comes to cinematic excellence … well, it was easier for us to name the Top 5 films about Columbus Day. Still, it's not too late to hit up your favorite DVD source for some holiday inspiration — or at the very least a good diversion and excuse to get out of doing the dishes on Thursday. Here are five of our favorite Thanksgiving movies.
•1. Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)
Some consider this film by the late John Hughes (Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles) to be his finest work. But give the real credit to Neal Page (Steve Martin, below, left) and Del Griffith (the late John Candy), two weary travelers who softheartedly capture the holiday spirit of family reunions — and the comic nightmare of the travel required beforehand.
Signature line: "Those aren't pillows!"
•2. Home for the Holidays (1995)
Forget her Oscar-winning turn in The Piano. Holly Hunter's finest contribution to cinema is her take on Claudia Larson, a suddenly unemployed single mother forced to spend Thanksgiving with her aging parents (Anne Bancroft, Charles Durning). But a budding romance with Leo Fish (Dylan McDermott) and the insanity of her brother (Robert Downey Jr.) provides the needed stuffing for turkey day.
Signature line: "Well, that was absurd, let's eat dead bird!"
•3. Hannah and her Sisters (1986)
Set between two Thanksgivings, a Manhattan family sees their dysfunctional love lives fall apart and then cosmically mend themselves. Written, directed and co-starring Woody Allen. Don't roll your eyes. It won three Academy Awards, one for Allen (screenplay) and supporting actor trophies for co-stars Dianne Wiest and Michael Caine.
Signature line: "I had a great evening; it was like the Nuremberg Trials."
•4. Pieces of April (2003)
If you missed this Oscar-nominated flick about an eclectic daughter, April (Katie Holmes, above), who invites her family to Thanksgiving dinner at her teeny hovel in New York's Lower East Side, move it to the top of your rental queue. (And put the kids to bed early because the language gets saltier than a bowl of giblet gravy.)
Signature line: "Once, there was this day … this one day when … everyone realized they needed each other."
•5. Son-In-Law (1993)
Actor/comedian/ninny Pauly Shore seems like a long shot for any "best-of" list. But co-stars Carla Gugino, Lane Smith and Mason Adams — playing a South Dakota family who takes in the L.A. party animal for the holidays — give this movie its heart, even when Shore chokes on the wishbone.
Signature line: "Let's chow down and munch on some grindage!"
Top 5 weekend movies
Dollar amounts in millions
The Twilight Saga: New Moon, $140.7
The Blind Side, $34.5
Planet 51, $12.6
Disney's A Christmas Carol, $12.2
Top 5 prime-time TV shows
NBC Sunday Night Football: New England at Indianapolis (NBC)
Dancing With the Stars (ABC)
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS)
CMA Awards (ABC)
Source: Nielsen Media Research for week ending Nov. 15
Top 5 songs on iTunes
Bad Romance, Lady GaGa
Fireflies, Owl City
TiK ToK, Ke$ha
Need You Now, Lady Antebellum
Source: iTunes Music Store
Top 5 search terms in Yahoo in the Tampa Bay area
St. Petersburg Rib Fest
Black Friday deals
Source: Yahoo.com for seven days ending Nov. 19