If you’re looking for something special to stream this Thanksgiving, you should probably thank Max, the streaming service formerly known as HBO Max. Because Max is one of the few streamers that has such an extensive movie library that there are actually some great Thanksgiving movies you can watch. But unlike our list of the best Netflix movies to watch this Thanksgiving, not all of our picks are suitable for family audiences.
Our first choice, Pleasantville, is probably the safest of the three films to watch with your kids. Make sure to use discretion with the other two.
For the majority, Pleasantville is the only film on our list that is suitable for family viewing. Before playing in Spider Man, Tobey Maguire headlined this film as David, with Reese Witherspoon as his sister, Jennifer. One day, the very different siblings find themselves transported into the world of a classic black and white television sitcom, Pleasantvillewhere everyone thinks they are Bud and Mary Sue, the children of George (William H. Macy) and Betty Parker (Joan Allen).
As David was already a fan of the series, he fit in perfectly. However, Jennifer has some very modern ideas that she introduces to the town of Pleasantville, causing some people and places to change from black and white to color. This brings out an uglier side of the town, as black and white citizens turn against people of color and the ensuing conflict threatens to tear Pleasantville apart.
Watch Pleasantville on Max.
The Ice Storm (1997)
The ice storm is a well-acted and beautifully shot film from director Ang Lee that may be suitable for teens, but definitely not for pre-teens. The story actually takes place during Thanksgiving in 1973, as two families, the Hoods and the Carvers, spend the holiday weekend together. Elena Hood (Joan Allen) and Jim Carver (Jamey Sheridan) are also unaware that their respective spouses, Ben Hood (Kevin Kline) and Janey Carver (Sigourney Weaver), are having an affair.
Some of that spirit seems to have been passed down to their children, like Wendy Hood (WednesdayChristina Ricci) seems to enjoy sexual games with Mikey (Elijah Wood) and Sandy Carver (Adam Hann-Byrd). Meanwhile, Wendy’s brother Paul Hood (Tobey Maguire) is also hopelessly in love with Libbets Casey (Katie Holmes), a girl who might not reciprocate his feelings. Over the course of the weekend, the Carver and Hood families are forced to face uncomfortable truths about themselves. And this is only the beginning of their trials.
Watch The ice storm on Max.
Make sure all children are in bed before putting Krisha on. This may be one of the best Thanksgiving movies ever made, but it’s definitely not for kids. Director and screenwriter Trey Edward Shults also stars in the film as Krisha’s son Trey (played by Shults’ real-life aunt, Krisha Fairchild). Years ago, Kirsha abandoned her son and his family due to his various addictions, leaving her sister, Robyn (Fairchild’s real sister and Shults’ mother, Robyn Fairchild), to raise Trey as her own.
On Thanksgiving, Krisha says she is finally sober and wants to cook dinner for the family to demonstrate that she has changed. However, most of the family members are not willing to give Krisha a chance, especially Trey. The pain Krisha has caused in the past and present is just too powerful, and watching this drama unfold is heartbreaking. Let’s just say this is a film that doesn’t go towards the Disney end.
Watch Krisha on Max.