Our 2014 Netflix Instant Thanksgiving Film Feast to Enjoy on Break

November 27, 2014


It's that time of the year again when families get together, eat too much food, spend too much money and enjoy an extended weekend that is truly American. This year the usual craziness has been amplified for sci-fi fans as the teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits limited theaters this weekend. Otherwise, you can catch a slew of great films in theaters now, including but not limited to blockbusters like The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part I, new comedies like Horrible Bosses 2, family flicks like The Penguins of Madagascar and some awards contenders like Birdman, Foxcatcher, The Theory of Everything and more. But if you want to stay home, here's some Netflix Instant picks you can watch now!

Here's some recent films and old favorites for pretty much every kind of film fan out there:

Happy Christmas
Watch It Now

If you're looking for a holiday film that is charming without being cheesy, this is exactly what you're looking for. Indie director Joe Swanberg directs the film that focuses on Anna Kendrick, a lost twentysomething still coming to terms with adult responsibility when she pays a visit to her brother (played by Swanberg) and his wife (Melanie Lynskey) over the holidays. It's funny without being over the top, and you'll also see one of the most adorable toddlers to ever grace the big screen, Swanberg's real-life son Jude.

Watch It Now

There was a time when the Farrelly Brothers seemed unstoppable when it came to making fantastic adult comedies, but they ended up faltering after Me, Myself & Irene hit theaters. However, one of their gems is now available on Netflix, and it has one of Woody Harrelson's best comedic performances on the big screen, and, of course, a fantastic turn by Bill Murray as his bowling rival. Plus, marks that glorious time when Randy Quaid wasn't an absolute nutbag. Seriously, go read about what Randy Quaid is doing now. He's lost his mind, and this is a glimpse back to when he still had it.

Dumb & Dumber
Watch It Now

Speaking of the Farrelly Brothers, if you're not inclined to go see Dumb & Dumber To in theaters (read my review here), then you might as well enjoy the glorious original comedy from 20 years ago. It's Jim Carrey in his prime and the surprisingly hilarious presence of Jeff Daniels that makes for one of the best on-screen dimwitted duos of all-time. It's just a shame that a reunion took so long to happen and this brand of comedy doesn't work as well anymore.

Rain Man
Watch It Now

This is undoubtedly one of my favorite films ever, and contains arguably the best performances that Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman have delivered in their entire careers. This Best Picture winner is funny, moving, original, and is one of those films that rarely gets made by Hollywood anymore. 97X. Baaaaaaaang. The future of rock and roll.

The Rocketeer
Watch It Now

If you loved Captain America: The First Avenger, you might want to see why director Joe Johnston was so great at bringing the period superhero to life. The Rocketeer has all the action, adventure and excitement of Captain America, but with the flare of old Hollywood mixed in with it. Billy Campbell plays the title hero, and there's also a young Jennifer Connelly, Timothy Dalton and even "Lost" star Terry O'Quinn. If you didn't grow up watching this film, give it a shot.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Watch It Now

If you're one of those who found the reincarnation of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to be absolute garbage this year (you're not alone), then there's no better time to revisit what is still the best big screen adaptation of the iconic crime-fighting reptiles. This is the kind of film you would expect to be made today with all the gritty comic book adaptations out there. There's some wacky humor, but it's contrasted by a very realistic depiction of what it would be like if there were criminal ninjas and mutant turtles to try and stop them.

Watch It Now

How would you like to see Captain America make his way across a class-divided train holding the last surviving population on the planet as he sparks an uprising in an effort to stop the oppression of the poor living at the back of the train? Because that's what you'll see Chris Evans do in this spectacular sci-fi film from Bong Joon-ho. This is a wild ride, literally and figuratively, almost crafted as a video game with spectacular action, is a compelling story and plenty of social commentary that is wholly relevant today.

Watch It Now

After landing tons of acclaim and awards accolades last year, Alexander Payne's funny and delightful black and white feature is undoubtedly worth your time. Veteran actor Bruce Dern delivers a milestone performance while Will Forte is nothing short of a breakthrough talent, showing that he can do much more than bring laughs on "Saturday Night Live." But the real scene stealer is June Squibb, the feisty old woman who doesn't take shit from anybody and isn't afraid to speak her mind. Also, keep an eye out for Buzz from Home Alone, all grown up.

Planes, Trains & Automobiles
Watch It Now

It's a holiday favorite, and it's one of those rare holiday films that focuses on Thanksgiving instead of Christmas. Steve Martin and John Candy are at their best as two unlikely travel companions just trying to make their way across the country, encountering a myriad of problems and mishaps along the way. One of the best films to come from the late John Hughes, this is a comedy classic, complete with some surprising familiar faces like Kevin Bacon.

The Birdcage
Watch It Now

This year we not only lost the great Robin Williams, but also director Mike Nichols. So there's no better time to enjoy this raucously hilarious comedy that has both of them working together. Made even greater by a cast that also includes Nathan Lane, Gene Hackman, Dianne Wiest, Hank Azaria and Dan Futterman (who is now an acclaimed screenwriter of films like Capote), this is one of my favorite comedies ever, and it's also one of the earliest films to depict the gay culture in a variety of ways, from Lane's flamboyant Albert to Williams' subtle, more masculine Armond. If you haven't watched it, you must right away. Also, if you want to honor Mike Nichols, you should watch his classic, Best Picture winner The Graduate too.

In a World…
Watch It Now

For anyone who's ever wondered what it's like to work in the world of movie trailer voiceovers, this is the comedy for you. Lake Bell makes her directorial debut and also stars in the film about a female voiceover artist out to prove herself in an industry dominated by male voices. There's one film that everyone wants to introduce to audiences with the iconic phrase "In a world…" and it's anyone's guess as to who's going to get it. There's great comedians like Demitri Martin, Michaela Watkins and Rob Corddry in this film and some other great cameos too.

Watch It Now

Michael Keaton is getting rave reviews for his turn in Birdman, in theaters right now, and part of what makes the film hit some sweet spots is the fact that Keaton played a superhero, just like his character in the film. Batman was one of the first more mature, dark comic book films put on the big screen, which is funny because now that you look at how silly it is with Jack Nicholson as The Joker and a soundtrack created by Prince (though Danny Elfman's score still stands strong). And if you want to keep the nostalgia train moving, Batman Returns is also on Netflix Instant, and it's actually a Christmas movie, so there you go.

I Know That Voice
Watch It Now

If you love cartoons and you're mesmerized by the voices who bring the animated characters to life, then this is the documentary for you. Speaking with names behind some of the most popular and iconic voices, this doc looks at the business of voice work, just how hard this job can be, and best of all, shows you the incredible range some of these actors have. You'll be blown away by some of these voice actors and wonder how certain voices can come out of these people.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Watch It Now

If for some reason you haven't caught up on The Hunger Games franchise, with the latest installment Mockingjay - Part I in theaters, Netflix makes it easier for you to get on the same page. Unfortunately, the first film isn't available to stream anymore, but you shouldn't have a hard time renting it or even buying it on the cheap now that it's two years old. This is just one of many reasons everyone loves Jennifer Lawrence, but the supporting cast is nothing to scoff at either with franchise stars Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks and Donald Sutherland being joined by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman and plenty more tributes entering the games this time.

There's also a slew of Woody Allen movies (over a dozen) available to watch, and there's no better time to pay tribute to Robin Williams and Philip Seymour Hoffman by seeing what films Netflix has with the late actors' missed talent. And if somehow that's still not enough to entertain you and your family, here's a whole bunch more movies available that should tickle your fancy:

Clueless, Hot Rod, Manhattan, Punch-Drunk Love, Chasing Amy, Rosemary's Baby, True Grit, Double Indemnity, Metropolis, Tommy Boy, Happy Gilmore, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Breakfast Club, The Naked Gun, Love Actually, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Trainspotting, Forrest Gump, Glengarry GlenRoss, Zodiac, Dredd, Oldboy, There Will Be Blood, Reservoir Dogs, Fargo, Our Idiot Brother, Jackie Brown, Robot & Frank, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, Maniac, Pulp Fiction, Zoolander, Salinger, Upside Down, Side Effects, Arbitrage, The Avengers, Mel Brooks: Make a Noise, Scrooged, Total Recall, A Muppet Christmas Carol, Silver Linings Playbook, Virunga, Fading Gigolo, Altman, Stretch, A Brony Tale, A Late Quartet, Alan Partridge, Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs 2, You've Got Mail, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Burbs, Filth and The Croods

And if that's not enough, here's a whole slew of TV shows with entire seasons available to watch now:

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Arrested Development, Freaks and Geeks, The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, 30 Rock, The Office, Parks & Recreation, Louie, Archer, Wilfred, Sons of Anarchy, Portlandia, Family Guy, The IT Crowd, Futurama, Firefly, Star Trek, Weeds, Scrubs, Doctor Who, Rescue Me, New Girl, Dexter, Bob's Burgers, Chuck, How I Met Your Mother, Sherlock, American Dad, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Fringe, Heroes, The Wonder Years, Cheers, Revolution, The Following, Adventure Time, Dexter's Laboratory, Samurai Jack, Powerpuff Girls, Johnny Bravo, Goosebumps, Arrow, Scandal, Comedy Bang Bang!, The X-Files, Raising Hope, Comic Book Men, The Cleveland Show, Friday Night Lights, The West Wing, Malcolm in the Middle, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, The Venture Bros., Robot Chicken, Alias, Coupling, Undecalred, Derek, The Spoils of Babylon, BoJack Horseman, Legit and The Blacklist

Well, we hope that's enough to keep you and your family busy the rest of the weekend, and the food, films, family and friendship over the next few days make for a nice Thanksgiving. What will you be watching?

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hey Ethan, thanks for the choices..... I know everytime you post something, someone has to criticize it. I'll try not to, but I have to take issue with the line about Batman "which is funny because now that you look at how silly it is with Jack Nicholson as The Joker" Jack did a tremendous job as the Clown Prince of Crime. In fact, I seem to remember when Ledger was cast in the Dark Knight, everyone blasted it, saying no one could compare to Jack's portrayal. Although they did approach the character from two different angles, I wouldn't say Jack's was 'silly'. In his own way, this version could be even more terrifying. I dunno, maybe I'm the only one who thinks this, but I'd be amiss not to point that out. thanks

Jeff Van Sickle on Nov 27, 2014


Don't get me wrong. I still very much enjoy Batman, and Jack Nicholson is absolutely great as The Joker. But as time has passed, it's hard for me to say that the film has aged gracefully. But yeah, I can see what you're saying. Thanks for voicing your dissension respectfully and eloquently!

Ethan Anderton on Nov 28, 2014


Thank Guys! Happy Belated Thanksgiving.

DAVIDPD on Nov 29, 2014

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