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What to Watch on Netflix This Thanksgiving – Collider

From comedy classics to modern marvels of animation, we’ve got all you could want to put on your watchlist this holiday season.
Ah, Thanksgiving. It is a time to gather with loved ones to reflect, eat, and be together. In the midst of all that, you may turn to streaming services like Netflix to look for something to watch. Lucky for you, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorites to check out for the holidays.
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There is no family that is quite like The Addams Family. There is a fair chance that many of you are likely looking forward to seeing a new take on this kooky group by checking out the series Wednesday that is hitting Netflix, but we recommend you also go back to one of the original films that still holds up all these years. Specifically, it is 1993's Addams Family Values that remains as sharp and funny as ever. There is a delightful Anjelica Huston as the matriarch Morticia Addams, the late great Raúl Juliá as the patriarch Gomez Adams, and a silent yet silly Christoper Lloyd as Uncle Fester Addams.
However, the real star of the show is one of the younger members of the family. It is Christina Ricci as Wednesday Adams who gives an iconic and hilarious performance. Endlessly snarky and fed up with all the nonsense of adults, this film reaches a high point when she wreaks havoc on the cheery Camp Chippewa where she has been sent against her wishes. It is there that she gets cast as Pocahontas in a shallow Thanksgiving play. Though she initially refuses to participate, she then pretends to play along before ultimately tearing everything apart. It is a pinnacle of the series and remains one of the best films that the whole family should gather around to watch.
And once you're done revisiting the past.. embrace the present! The brand-new adaptation hits Netflix today. Instead of a clear remake following the creepy, weird, and fantastic antics of the Addams family, this live-action series focuses on the daughter, Wednesday. Now played by scream queen Jenna Ortega, everyone’s favorite pigtail-wearing, deadpan teenager gets the spotlight. The show follows Wednesday as she attends Nevermore Academy, and has no problem with her new classmates disliking her. She’s more goth than ever – if she wears color, her skin may melt off her bones. Looking at the trailer, the show looks packed with murder, monsters, and dark secrets as well as the usual trials and tribulations of high school – friends, romance, and homework. The show also stars Catherine Zeta-Jones as Morticia, Luis Guzmán as Gomez, and Freid Armisen as Uncle Fester, as well as the OG Wednesday, Christina Ricci. If you love the Addams Family but want more hours of content, Wednesday is a perfect choice. – Emma Kiely
We know that this too got a series revisiting it, but Spike Lee’s original film, She’s Gotta Have It, is one that deserves your time this holiday season. Released in 1986, it has a historical significance as it was Lee's first feature-length film that would launch his career. A black-and-white dramedy, it follows Tracy Camilla Johns as Nola Darling who is an artist living in Brooklyn while taking part in a polyamorous relationship with three partners. There are more than a few aspects of the film that are grim in a way that it doesn't fully have a handle on and would probably be a bit much for younger audiences, though the moment it comes together in a Thanksgiving dinner between all the characters still cuts through all the noise.
Next up is The Wonder, a more mature film that reflects on faith and storytelling in a way that makes it worth taking in as we all sit down for our own holiday traditions. It stars Florence Pugh as Lib Wright, a 19th-century nurse who is called to observe what some believe is a miracle – a young girl who can survive without eating. It is a messy yet mesmerizing experience that is elevated by not just its performances but also its stunning score. Though it won’t be for everyone, it is atmospheric in a way that deserves a spot on your holiday watchlist.
Back in the world of animation is the vibrant and wondrous stop-motion film that is Wendell & Wild. A welcome return for director Henry Selick, it sees him collaborating with co-writer Jordan Peele in a magnificent merging of their respective storytelling sensibilities. Following a young girl whose life is upended by a tragic accident who returns home to discover that her town has fallen into darkness, she will have to reckon with the forces of the underworld and her own pain to try to set things right. First premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival, it is a work that has one of the best closing needle drops of the year that captures the power of a rebellious spirit and community with a beating emotional heart.
On the flip side of this is Marriage Story, a film about two people drifting farther apart and the pain that comes from that. Though it has become mostly known to broader audiences for its many memes of Adam Driver hitting a wall, it also sees him and Scarlett Johansson giving great performances that are honest as they are hilarious. For all the ways it lays bare the troubles of relationships, it arrives at a cathartic conclusion that captures something unexpectedly profound about family unlike anything else out there.
Comedian Nicole Byer dazzles as the reigning queen of baking blunders in Netflix’s Nailed It! This hilarious baking competition pits amateur bakers against one another, challenging them to recreate cakes, cookies, and other sweet treats currently trending on social media. The competition tasks are often just out of, or well beyond, challengers’ realms of expertise, forcing these contestants out of their comfort zones and into the hilarious world of winging it. Byer judges alongside French pastry chef Jacques Torres and various guest judges. Netflix has produced a wide variety of Nailed It! spin-offs thanks to the show’s success. If you’re looking to watch a boatload of funny fails this Thanksgiving, Nailed It! is the cooking competition show for you. – Rebecca Landman
You know that we had to include When Harry Met Sally on this list as it is just a classic romantic comedy that also has some of the best sweaters to get you in a holiday mood. It follows Billy Crystal as Harry and Meg Ryan as Sally, two friends who begin to develop feelings for each other, though fear that becoming too close could compromise said friendship. Each performer bounces off each other perfectly and there are just so many memorable moments that still hit the funny bone. Plus, there is a scene-stealing turn by the late Carrie Fisher that becomes a highlight each time she’s on screen.
There is just something about The Mitchells vs. The Machines that hits a cinematic sweet spot. It is a sentimental yet silly animated journey about a family that, you guessed it, must fight against an army of machines that threaten to take over the world as we know it. It doesn't help that this crisis comes when the family is on a trip that already had been hitting many bumps in the road as they are more than a bit dysfunctional. However, they soon discover that all that makes them different will make them humanity’s last hope for survival. The ending in particular is joyous in all the best ways while capping off a charming journey that may just bring together your family along the way.
Netflix continues cementing its legacy as the strangest baking competition show producer with Is It Cake? Hosted by comedian Mikey Day, Is It Cake? is a quirky baking competition show. An incredibly specific sect of cake bakers specializing in creating confections that resemble real inanimate objects battle one another to trick various comedian judges into thinking that the cakes they’ve baked are actually not cakes at all. After the baking portion of the show subsides, various comedian judges, who change episode-to-episode, are challenged to identify which items in front of them are cakes. Host Mikey Day then tests the judges’ theories by slicing through their choices with a big ol’ knife. The bakers competing on this show are incredibly talented and it’s often genuinely difficult to guess which creations are in fact cakes. Give this show a watch with your family this Thanksgiving and see if you too can guess…Is It Cake?!?! – Rebecca Landman
We know everyone has a lot of love for the sequel, but the original Paddington is just as wonderful for watching with the family. After traveling to London, the young Paddington (Ben Whishaw) meets a kind family who takes him in and soon discovers this furry fellow may soon change their lives as well. Shenanigans ensue in this closing crowdpleaser of a selection.
How can you not be romantic about baseball? Even if you aren’t a fan of the sport, Moneyball is one of those films that you can’t stop watching once it comes on. Overflowing with crackling dialogue, a great score that rises up at just the right moments, and an undercurrent about family that rips your heart out, it is a work that may never get old.
Known in the UK as The Great British Bake Off, Netflix is home to The Great British Baking Show Collections 5-10 in the US. Hosted most recently by comedians Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas and judged by Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith, The Great British Baking Show challenges amateur bakers to enter the famed Bake Off tent and compete week after week in rigorous challenges dreamed up by Hollywood and Leith. While there are legacy challenges like bread week and pastry week that return season after season, each cohort of challengers must also face new, unknown prompts that test their knowledge and skills. Watching these home bakers each vie for the title of Star Baker week after week is equal parts stressful and comforting. The show regularly casts the most charming competitors and is a Thanksgiving watch the whole family can enjoy. – Rebecca Landman
Chase Hutchinson is a Senior Features Writer for Collider. His work has also appeared in a variety of publications including The Stranger, The Portland Mercury, The Inlander, The Seattle Times, and The Boston Globe. He lives in Tacoma, WA (it is near Seattle, though still very much its own thing) where he works as a writer and journalist. You can find him on Twitter at @EclecticHutch.


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