In terms of what is the best Thanksgiving movie, there is no contest. The winner is Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.
There is no Thanksgiving movie like it. It is fully of deep belly laughs, but it also has one of the finest last scenes in movie history. What makes this a great Thanksgiving movie is that it is all about the quest to get home for the holiday. Most Thanksgiving movies focus on the chaos of family reunions. And if you only watch those, you would wonder why anyone would want to ever celebrate the holiday.
But Planes, Trains, and Automobiles never questions the impulse to do whatever it takes to get home. It assumes that the holiday is so important that it MUST be celebrated with family, either those made by blood or by long, hilarious road trips.
Three Thanksgiving episodes come to mind when I think of this holiday.
The first is the "No Fat" episode of Everybody Loves Raymond. The show would annually do a Thanksgiving episode, but this one emphasized the absurd importance of the food. Marie tries to do a fat free Thanksgiving, and the resulting chagrin by her family is hilarious. I also love the ending:
The second is "The One With All the Thanksgivings" from Friends. Told through a series of flashbacks, this episode shows how Thanksgiving can be both wonderful and awful throughout the years. I also enjoyed seeing how much the relationships between the friends changed over time. It is also might have the most awkwardly funny "I love you" on TV
But the one I might like the most is "Pangs" from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It's Buffy's first year in college and she tries to put together a Thanksgiving for her Scoobies, including the chair-bound Spike, while the spirit of a Shumash Indian curses Xander's body. This results in extended debates about the meaning of the Holiday for both Indian and European immigrant, as well capturing the awkward frenzy of trying to have a nice meal when the world seems to be going to hell. I also got a kick out of Spike's darkly insightful take:
Great final shot too
What are your favorite Thanksgiving pop culture moments?