Every year people work hard at work and school, counting down the days until the holiday season. The holidays are a time when friends and family get together, reflect on old memories and create new ones. However, some prefer to forget old family memories and have no intention of creating new ones.
Art imitates life, so it’s no surprise that there are plenty of movies about dysfunctional families getting together for the holidays. Let it be more comical, like Home for the holidays, or dramatic, like The purple colorHollywood is full of movies that help viewers feel better about their dysfunctional family. With Thanksgiving and Christmas on the horizon, there are plenty of holiday scenes for viewers to look back on and be thankful for the family they have.
by Sam Rummy groundbreaking film about a boy who receives superpowers from a radioactive spider helped usher in the comic book movie craze. However, many fans should remember that this classic also contains a Thanksgiving scene with one of the most dysfunctional families in Marvel history.
In this scene, Peter (Tobey Maguire) reunites with his friend Harry (James Franco) and Harry’s moralizing father, Norman Osborn (Willem Dafoe), whose alter ego is The Green Goblin, for Thanksgiving. Harry longs for his father’s acceptance and father-son bond. Unfortunately, Norman storms off after realizing that Peter’s new injuries match those he inflicted on Spider-Man minutes earlier. Harry begs Norman to stay, but instead spends Thanksgiving plotting to kill his son’s best friend. Although father-son relationships can be stressful, viewers can be thankful that their dad isn’t a literal supervillain.
“Instant Family” (2018)
Hollywood rarely shows the positive side of foster families. Instant Family highlights how foster families can have a positive outcome. However, he doesn’t try to avoid pitfalls, such as how people view adopting families.
After months of trying to form a bond, on Thanksgiving, Ellie (Rose Byrne) and Paul (Mark Wahlberg) confess to their family that they no longer plan to adopt their adopted children. While most families would feel sympathy and grief, her family reveals that they never wanted her to adopt, much to Ellie’s disdain. Chaos ensues as Ellie’s sister, who also wants a family, rebuffs Ellie for settling for adoption. Meanwhile, her other sister wonders if her adopted children are safe with “ordinary kids.” Ironically, after arguing with her family, Ellie realizes that it’s better to have a dysfunctional family than none at all.
In this Oscar-nominated film, a Polish Jewish family immigrates to Baltimore and attempts to assimilate into American society. Luckily for them, there’s nothing more American than bickering with loved ones on Thanksgiving.
Jules (Aidan Quinn) and Anna (Elizabeth Perkins) move away from their loved ones to the suburbs to live the American dream. On Thanksgiving Day, Uncle Gabriel (Lou Jacobi) arrives late after driving from town, only to find that his family has already started eating. This sends him into a tirade, and he leaves the house shouting the classic line, “You cut the turkey without me!” Thanksgiving fights are never pleasant, but at least most people’s loved ones take off their coats and sit down before they start yelling.
“At Christmas” (2020)
In recent years, Netflix has become the reigning king of Christmas content. This German miniseries gives new meaning to sibling rivalry as Bastian (Luke Mockridge) returns home for Christmas and finds his brother Niklas (Lucas Reber) started dating his ex-girlfriend.
As Bastian sits down for a meal with his family, he tries to keep it as pleasant as possible given the situation. However, this joke quickly dissolves after his parents compliment Niklas’ career over his. The slightest comment scares people away during the holidays. For Bastian, it’s when his ex mentions taking yoga classes with Niklas, which caused him to explode against his loved ones. Viewers should stream this series the next time they want to complain about their siblings taking their stuff.
This 2015 horror puts a new spin on holiday movies as a demon terrorizes a family for not getting in the Christmas spirit. Ironically, the scariest aspect of this film is the family itself.
The Engel family is so dysfunctional that the arguments are going full steam ahead over dinner. Sarah (Toni Collette) and her husband, Tom, fend off insults from their family, ranging from Sarah’s cooking to why Tom (Adam Scott) is not athletic. Things come to a head when their son Max (Emjay Anthony) the cousins begin to read his letter to Santa which they stole from his bedroom. While reading, his cousins learn that their parents are going through a tough time and that their father wants them to be boys. A fight breaks out and Max bites one of his cousins, making it easy to see why a demon would call home in their home.
“Almost Christmas” (2016)
Almost Christmas joins the ranks of several other warm and fuzzy Christmas movies over the years. What separates this film from its counterparts is the attempted murder.
This is Walter Meyers (Danny Glover) first Christmas with his family since the death of his wife, and his daughter Rachel (Gabrielle Union) unknowingly invites his brother-in-law, Lonnie’s (JB Smoove) Mistress Jasmine (Keri Hilson) at Christmas lunch. Jasmine naively rejoices in her relationship with Lonnie as his wife Cheryl sits stewing in her seat. The straw that breaks the camel’s back is when Jasmine expresses her surprise at being invited when Lonnie’s “grandmother”, Cheryl, is so ill. Cheryl then leaves the room and returns with a shotgun pointed at Lonnie’s chest, proving that even warm and fuzzy families have problems.
“House for the holidays” (1995)
In Jodie FosterIn the director’s second film, a family with seemingly nothing in common comes together for Thanksgiving. Although not initially well received, its classic turkey carving scene makes dysfunctional families everywhere feel normal.
In this epic holiday crisis, Robert Downey Jr.plays the sarcastic Tommy, who, while carving the Thanksgiving turkey, accidentally punches his rigid sister Joanne (holly hunter) with that. What she does next shocks everyone as she screams “c*cksuckers” at the top of her lungs. Instead of consoling her, the family laughs, leading her to reveal that Tommy secretly married her boyfriend. Stunned by this information, their mother then hides inside the pantry. At the end of the film, they plan to meet again for Christmas, continuing this endless cycle.
‘Scent of a Woman’ (1992)
In 1992 Al Pacino won Best Actor at the Oscars for playing Frank, a blind veteran who spends the weekend crossing off his to-do list so he can kill himself. Without a doubt, the film’s legendary Thanksgiving scene helped bring the statue home.
The dysfunction is on full display when Frank and his carer Charles (Chris O’Donnell), showing up unannounced at his brother’s house on Thanksgiving. Frank spends the whole night pompously recounting old war magazines. Frank’s nephew then takes it upon himself to call Frank and reveal that he is not a hero and has gone blind from juggling grenades. Frank proceeds to calmly choke his nephew, only letting go when Charles begs him.
“The Color Violet” (1985)
In Stephen SpielbergCelie’s moving classic, played by Whoopi Goldberg, she goes through years of an abusive relationship until she finally finds the strength to leave her abusive husband. It’s no wonder viewers are grateful for their own family after watching this scene.
At 15, Célie is sold by her father to the violent gentleman and forced to take care of his many children. After discovering that Monsieur has been hiding letters from his sister for decades, Celie unloads years of grievances over their Thanksgiving meal. She then puts a knife to Monsieur’s throat and tells him that she is leaving for good. Most maladjusted families are like angels compared to what Célie had to go through.
“What’s Cooking” (2000)
This little-known Thanksgiving movie has four dysfunctional families of different ethnicities living on the same street. The many family feuds in this film prove that the dysfunction is universal.
While none of these families are perfect, the Nguyen family is incredibly messed up. After barely speaking all dinner because of cultural differences with their American children, their daughter reveals that their eldest son is hiding a gun. As they interrogate him, his little brother takes the gun and accidentally shoots. To their relief, he was unharmed and, like viewers watching, they realize things could be much worse.
KEEP READING: HBO Max’s 7 Most Dysfunctional Families, Ranked
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10 Dysfunctional Holiday Dinner Scenes That Will Make Your Family Feel Normal – CNET
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