For those getting some time off this Thanksgiving weekend, Cheddar's Digital Team recommends some holiday-themed (and holiday-adjacent) movies and shows for those who might not be as into football and Friends as much as other folks. From a potential new Christmas classic in "8-Bit Christmas" to the dinner-table of "Soul Food," here's a feast for your viewing pleasure.
Streaming Trio Picked by Digital Editor Mike Nam
8-Bit Christmas - HBO Max
Essentially this appears to be A Christmas Story but with Neil Patrick Harris narrating and set in the 1980s. Now streaming on HBO Max, it's another story about an adult reminiscing about his most wanted gift ever: a Nintendo Entertainment System. Hijinks assuredly will ensue as a cast of precocious kids do whatever they can to get the hottest-ticket holiday item of the Reagan era that wasn't a Cabbage Patch Kid.
For Your Consideration - Hulu
This Thanksgiving you can sit through one of the many episodes of Friends, or you can take in an idiosyncratic classic by the improvisational geniuses behind Waiting for Guffman and A Mighty Wind. For Your Consideration follows an indie production called Home for Purim, a melodrama about a Jewish family living in the South during the 1940s coming together for the titular holiday. The Hollywood rumor mill stirs up some Oscar buzz, and the little arthouse film becomes enmeshed in the chaos of celebrity and showbiz hype. How does this connect to the holidays other than Purim? The payoff is rich, so I won't spoil it here, but please take this recommendation for your consideration.
Hawkeye - Disney+
Jeremy Renner reprises his role as the Marvel Cinematic Universe archer passing the torch to Hailee Steinfeld with a holiday backdrop. Episodes 1 and 2 are now streaming. 'Nuff said.
Krisha - Amazon Prime Video
Picked by Reporter Alex Vuocolo
Thanksgiving is notorious for sometimes bringing together family members who don't get along. In Krisha (2015), that dynamic is taken to dizzying extremes. The title character, who is played by the director's real-life aunt Krisha Fairchild, rejoins her family for the holiday after being estranged from them for many years, and as it turns out, no one is actually ready for the reunion. While that may sound like the setup for a simple family drama or even a comedy, director Trey Edward Shults turns it into the stuff of horror. Every interaction between Krisha and her family is inflected with suspicion and resentment. Every awkward comment feels rife with family history. This may sound like a drag, but Shults brings real energy and passion to the filmmaking, and it might just make you more thankful for your own, less dysfunctional family.
Harry Potter Film Series - HBO Max
Picked by Sr. News Editor Dina Ross
Long, long ago, in a time when Netflix only offered mail-ordered DVD rentals and video stores were still a thing, we began a new holiday tradition: watching the entire Harry Potter film series in the run-up to Christmas and the New Year. While streaming Insecure last weekend, I noticed HBO Max has the entire series packaged up nicely for us this year. While not a traditional holiday movie, there certainly are memorable Christmas scenes, and I think the films give a lot of all the feels that we cherish during the season.
This year I am thankful for all of you, who read our column each week — and I'm also thankful for the technology that brought us streaming so we no longer have to find a DVD rental delivery service that stays open for the holidays. (And for those of you who were hoping for a Thanksgiving-themed pick this week, this is what I would have chosen.)
Soul Food - HBO Max/Hulu
Picked by Producer Lawrence Banton
As a team, we've decided to provide our faithful readers with some holiday viewing options this week, but I must admit that my pick this week is not necessarily considered a holiday film. However, it focuses on family, tradition, and food — so still very fitting, right? The 1997 movie Soul Food focuses on a Black Chicago-based family that is held together by the glue that is Sunday dinner at grandma's house. Tragedy eventually strikes Big Mama, played by Irma P. Hall, and sends the family spiraling. The moments in-between are what make this movie such a relatable classic for me. Minus the drama that takes place throughout the movie, it reminds me of my own family. Our gatherings typically include dishes of delight, karaoke, a lot of dancing, and my grandmother will sneak in a prayer before we all go our separate ways. Now, if you're going to watch, I would suggest having some food on-hand, or even getting that out of the way before starting, because the food scenes will leave you craving!