Best Thanksgiving Movies to Watch in a Food Coma

If you’re an American celebrating Thanksgiving, chances are you’ve tried to find an activity to occupy your extended family in the post-dinner haze. Watching a movie might be the easiest solution, but there’s a big caveat: You probably won’t watch a movie you think you’ll actually enjoy.

Why? Well, for one, you are probably in the beginning of a food coma, caused by the large amount of carbohydrates. And the wine you’ve had to drown all political arguments in certainly doesn’t help. And secondly, watching movies with the family invites a lot of discussion and explaining to your mother why Everything everywhere at once really resonate with you while she tells you she just didn’t understand why the daughter wasn’t prettier is probably not a conversation you want to have on a vacation.

But this is where we come into the picture. Polygon is proud to present a carefully selected selection of movies where dozing in and out will only enhance the experience. Additionally, these movies are also great for talking about and pointing out strange moments that ultimately bring you and your loved ones together. And if one of these sounds convincing, but one you host points out that they just watched it on the plane, or you don’t have the streaming service it’s on, we’ve offered some replacements.

Avengers: Infinity War

Spider-Man, Iron Man, Drax, Star-Lord and Mantis all look at Titan in wonder in Avengers: Infinity War.

Image: Marvel Studios

If you have forgotten what happens in the Avengers: Infinity War – or if you’ve forgotten what happens before Avengers: Infinity War — you don’t have to worry about that. Avengers: Infinity War is basically three hours of a million characters shuffling around on a chess board and exchanging witty one-liners. This is the ultimate “AH THESE TWO WOMEN ARE MAKING UP!” MCU movies, which means you can doze off between scenes and then wake up just in time for the next two guys to interact.

Where to see: Streaming on Disney Plus or available for digital rental or purchase on Amazon, Apple and Google Play.

Replacement: Other MCU movies that can be summed up as two and a half hours of getting a dozen characters where they need to be for the next movie, or introducing a dozen characters that will be important later: EternalCaptain America: Civil War, or Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

Any of the Robert Langdon movies

tom hanks as robert langdon and audrey tatou as sophie in the da vinci code

Photo: Columbia Pictures

There was a time not long ago when readers devoured Dan Browns The Da Vinci Code, because it made them feel very smart. For the most part, we’ve come to realize that a few nifty facts about art history don’t make a good novel (especially when these books go on about how hot and hunky their protagonist is). But Brown’s writing talents and the factual accuracy of the books aside, they still make for fun movies. If you want adventure films that treat history as an easy jumping-off point for skewed facts, then you might as well go with those that mess around with European history.

Where to see: The Da Vinci Code is available to watch for free with ads on Tubi or for digital rental or purchase on Amazon, Apple and Google Play. Angels & Demons can be seen on Netflix. Hell is available to watch on Starz or for digital rental or purchase on Amazon, Apple and Google Play.

Replacement: National treasure and National Treasure: Book of Secrets, as they are archeological adventure films that age better than Indiana Jones; also, Dora and the Lost City of Gold. Just trust me.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2

Robert Pattinson and Kristin Stewart in Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2.

Photo: Summit Entertainment

Did Breaking Dawn to be split into two films? Absolutely not. Does it work? Honestly, yes. A good part of this movie is an awkward narrative to show the clumsy passage of time, but there are some incredible highlights like the really cool vampires from around the world who have unique power (with actors like Rami Malek and Lee Pace??? Hello ?????), as well as the epic final “battle” scene. Lee Pace’s character Garrett and electricity-generating vampire Kate (Casey LaBow) literally have the best love story in four movies, and they have about 15 minutes of screen time. Instead of bemoaning the fact that all these cool characters are only here to prop up Bella and Edward’s comparably bland story while you’re drunk and sleepy, you can simply enjoy the time they have.

Where to see: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 is available to watch on Showtime or for digital rental or purchase on Amazon, Apple and Google Play.

Replacement: Other “this is the second half of the final book in a bestselling YA series that we broke into two movies for more money,” which was part of the 2010s—namely The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.

Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones

anakin and padme and C3PO on tattoo looking for anakin's mom

Image: Lucasfilm

I’ll refrain from commenting on prequels versus sequels versus original trilogy versus the Disney Plus shows, but Attack of the Clones rules when you are not really aware of it. The scene where Obi-Wan discovers that someone has ordered an entire army of human men and he kind of goes with it as an elaborate improv game? High comedy. Padme freeing herself from chains and her clothes ripping apart in an oh-so-fashionable way? Kill. Yoda going apeshit with his lightsaber? Blessed. The whole “Across the Stars” montage? OK – that’s actually good.

Where to see: Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones can be seen on Disney Plus.

Replacement: If you don’t want to ignite a cross-generational debate in your family about prequels vs. sequels vs. original trilogy vs. the Disney Plus shows, but still want sci-fi with flashy special effects and a barely coherent plot, try Jupiter is rising and or Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.

Cars 2

Lightning McQueen and Mater race away from an explosion in Cars 2

Image: Pixar

Nothing about Cars 2 makes sense. Enjoy this as a feature, not a bug. Any other Pixar movie can make you too emotional, or you’ll fall asleep and miss the part that’s supposed to tug at your heartstrings, then wake up wondering why everyone’s tearing up. But Cars 2 is simply amazing from start to finish. Mater becomes a super spy! Cars fly with rockets! Also, the whole message is that renewables are a scam, which is a really strange message to put in a children’s movie, especially after WALL Ebut we’ll just ignore that.

Where to see: Cars 2 can be seen on Disney Plus.

Replacement: Any DreamWorks animated film made between 2004 and 2008.

Cats (2019)

Jason Derulo as cat in Cats

Image: Universal Pictures

The only way to see this movie is to be slightly intoxicated, whether on wine or turkey. In this way, what is a terrifying experience turns into a dreamlike and surreal state of mind. Be whisked away into the world of the Jellicle cats with their human faces and fingers, but fur-covered naked bodies and tails. Let “Skimbleshanks the Railway Cat” get stuck in your head instead of hyper-scrutinizing why the cats look so small on the railway. Disclaimer: Polygon is not responsible for songs stuck in your head for the rest of the weekend.

Where to see: Cats is available for digital rental or purchase via Amazon, Apple and Google Play.

Replacement: Movies that will also cause psychological harm to your loved ones: The greatest showman and Cinderella (2021). But if you want Catsbut actually good, try the official Broadway recording.


Cruella de Will in a fabulous masquerade mask and red dress

Image: Disney

The thing about Disney’s live-action remakes is that, for the most part, they’re all basically the same story as the originals, but in a less visually engaging way. There are a few exceptions though, which come in the form of “let’s give this one-note villain a tragic backstory.” Cruella make this list a little over Maleficent simply for being the villain less deserving of this backstory. In a post-food blur, you can stop dwelling on the ethics of murdering puppies and instead just enjoy the elaborate fashion heists.

Where to see: Cruella can be seen on Disney Plus.

Replacement: Aladdin (2019), Maleficent (2014), Mulan (2020), Cinderella (2015)… any of Disney’s live-action remakes, really, except Lions King (2019), which will put you straight to sleep.

Oh mother!

Image: Universal Pictures

This doesn’t really deserve the vilification of being on this list because it’s a good movie, but I will say that the experience of this increases with each subsequent glass of wine — let go of your inhibitions and belt out ABBA to your heart’s content . The hidden bonus here is that in my personal experience, parents and friends of parents love ABBA and they’ll all be like, “Oh wow, you know this old song?” and you’re going to be like, “Hell yeah, of course I do!” Leave out the fact that everyone in the world knows “Dancing Queen” and they’ll be extra impressed.

Where to see: Oh mother is available to watch on Hulu and Peacock.

Replacement: Mamma Mia! Here we go again. Be warned – you may cry.

The bears of the land

the country vibrates

Image: Disney

How do I even begin to explain The bears of the land? It’s based on a really old theme park attraction. It’s a “get the band back together to save a beloved building!” movie, except the band is made up of anthropomorphic bears. No one questions that these bears just live with humans. The main character is a teenage bear who lives with a human family who only recently learned that he was adopted. Elton John is in it, as himself. There are two musical sequences featuring B-list pop stars from the early 2000s. The lead singer from the Eagles makes a comment about how the Country Bears are better than the Eagles. Christopher Walken brings 110% to his role as the villain. Every moment of this movie is played seriously, and because nothing makes sense, it kind of makes sense? Definitely more sensible when you’re a little tipsy.

Where to see: The bears of the land can be seen on Disney Plus.

Replacement: Nothing. Sorry, nothing else compares.

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