The Student News Site of Berkley High School


The Student News Site of Berkley High School


The Student News Site of Berkley High School


Thanksgiving: The Holiday Snubbed By The Film Industry

The Catholic Sun
“Free Birds” (2013)

Halloween is over and we are now on the brink of Christmas, but between these two massive holidays falls Thanksgiving. A big part of generating excitement around holidays is watching films related to that specific season. Movies such as “Hocus Pocus” and “Home Alone” never fail to get viewers in the holiday spirit. But I’ve recently noticed that there are no major Thanksgiving movies. Why is that? What do these other holidays have that Thanksgiving doesn’t? What makes them more profitable in the movie market?

For starters, every major holiday has a mascot of sorts, a staple that automatically comes to mind at the mention of the day. Christmas has Santa Claus, Easter has the bunny, and Halloween has ghosts, ghouls, monsters, and jack-o-lanterns. Thanksgiving is no different, with turkeys serving as the ultimate staple. What sets Thanksgiving apart though, is that its mascot is also the main dish for the holiday. That closes the door for cutesy movies surrounding the mascot, with the only one that comes to mind being 2013’s animated comedy “Free Birds” about a group of turkeys time traveling to get themselves off the Thanksgiving menu. This fact erases many potential film ideas because Thanksgiving itself is a holiday with a quite complicated history, which doesn’t allow the sort of careless fun that holidays such as Christmas and Halloween bring.

So the mascot sadly falls through for Thanksgiving, but what about magic? Most holiday movies have some fantasy elements. Halloween has spooky ghosts, witches casting spells, and shape-shifting creatures; the Easter Bunny gifts baskets of cute eggs, candy, and toys; and Christmas has the factor of Santa being an all-seeing figure who can grant any wish and travels the world with flying reindeer giving presents made by his factory of elves. It doesn’t get more fantastical than that. There is a very limited amount of whimsey for Thanksgiving, which again doesn’t really give writers much to work with. I mean, what can they write about? Teleporting pilgrims?

One holiday movie component Thanksgiving has a ton of is family. That’s essentially the whole point of the holiday. Thanksgiving is just one big family reunion dinner. This is the biggest area where Thanksgiving can contrive movie plots. Stressful in-laws, estranged siblings, crazy kids, silly aunts and uncles: the possibility for family drama and antics are endless. Sadly, of the little family reunion movies that exist such as “The Proposal” and “Knives Out,” few center around a specific holiday, and those that do choose to capitalize on the Christmas buzz. A Thanksgiving-centered family movie with dramatic dinners and bizarre Black Friday shopping could be quite interesting though.

Another aspect that gives Thanksgiving the short end of the stick is aesthetics. Thanksgiving’s specific vibe tends to get muddled between Halloween and Christmas. Halloween and Thanksgiving being two holidays in the same season leads to their aesthetics getting meshed together, with pumpkins (as well as jack-o-lanterns), fall leaves, and the color orange in general. But what gives Halloween the upper hand is that it has another aesthetic separate from the standard autumn one, with candy, skeletons, and such. And no holiday has a vibe more distinct than Christmas: with reds, golds, greens and every comfy, cozy, and nostalgic feeling imaginable. Easter also has its signature color palette of pastels. Thanksgiving just doesn’t have enough going for it to stand out. There’s no established feeling that it’s supposed to have, which can make it difficult to set the tone for a Thanksgiving film.

So while there are aspects to Thanksgiving that could draw viewer interest and build a story, there isn’t nearly enough to create a whole market of movies like those of Halloween and Christmas. I do think that every national holiday should at least have one staple movie though, even Easter has “Hop” to keep the feeling of the holiday alive. This year, on November 17th, a horror movie called “Thanksgiving” will be released in theaters starring Patrick Dempsey and Mile Manheim. Perhaps it’s just what we need to reignite interest in the holiday and make some sort of market for Thanksgiving films in the future.

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About the Contributor
Tyann Eades
Tyann Eades, Entertainment Editor
Hi everybody! My name is Tyann and I'm the entertainment editor this year. I've been a part of the Spectator staff for two years now, joining to fuel my passion for journalistic writing. I enjoy writing articles about TV shows and movies, things going on in our school, social issues, and opinion pieces. When I'm not typing away on my laptop, I can usually be found singing somewhere. I've been doing choir since elementary school and am a part of BHS’ show choir ensemble Encore! I also love listening to music (practically any genre) and reading a good book. This year, I'm most excited to see what new stories the world will present us with. Journalism is a form of writing that really goes with the times and relies on what's going on in the world around us, so I'm curious as to what will occur that our publication can write about. My go-to Donut Cutter order is the classic glaze, but I'm looking to try something new this year at least once.

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    Ralph RaynerNov 23, 2023 at 11:04 am

    When I think of Thanksgiving I think of football and the Detroit Lions winning the Super-bowl what a thanksgiving that will be. This article is excellent and covers all bases.