It’s pretty irresistible to place a lot of expectations upon holidays. They’re supposed to be perfect for some reason. No one knows why. It’s just the rules.
But I don’t think you’ve really lived until you’ve had one really horrendous Thanksgiving dinner. You need to experience just how gloriously things can fall apart when you have a room full of relatives at various stages of intoxication collectively losing their shit because either the food was terrible or somebody brought up Obama. (This year, be on the lookout for a simple lamentation on the demise of Hostess to dissolve into a row over healthcare and a resolution to never speak to your cousin ever again.)
At the very least, you can take solace in the fact that your Thanksgiving meal was not as upsetting or uncomfortable as these terrible cinematic meals.
1) Christmas Eve Dinner – National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
The turkey is completely desiccated, so they’re all making these really nauseating chewing sounds. Plus, Aunt Bethany’s Jell-O mold has cat food in it I think? This is, of course, before they reach the threshold of hell. But a ruined turkey and some wine would have me in tears.
2) Dinner with Mary X’s Family – Eraserhead
Ugh, I hate when I have to go meet my girlfriend’s nearly catatonic family, find out I’m a father to a premature baby (where “premature” = actually a huge, colicky sperm cell), attempt to carve a tiny fowl that reanimates and bleeds, causing my girlfriend’s mom to have some kind of conniption, and THEN still make small talk.
3) The “Frahnch” Dinner – Better Off Dead
Aside from the crippling ignorance of the adults in this scene, what kind of a menu is Frahnch fries, Frahnch dressing, Frahnch dressing, and PerOOO?
4) The Pie Eating Contest – Stand By Me
I have to hand it to Lardass Hogan for exacting such glorious revenge on his tormenters. I’m sure vomit happens at eating contests fairly regularly, which is part of the reason why I would never go to one. I would turn it into Barf-o-rama.
5) Dinner at Pankot Palace – Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Seeing this movie after I was an adult and had fallen in love hard with Indian food, I realized how ridiculous and kinda racist this scene was. “Welcome to India, where absolutely fucking everyone eats bugs all the goddamn time.” But, you know, these appear to be rich people. And rich people generally eat well. So while I’m not clamoring to try some Snake Surprise, if this is actually what they eat at Pankot Palace, it must be delicious, right?
6) Monsieur Creosote Goes to Dinner – Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life
I just recently watched this movie again for the first time in years and had somehow forgotten how demented it was. This scene in the “autumn years” portion of the movie, exaggerates what we’re kind of like when we’re older. I think? I don’t know. I do know that I’m not even showing you the REALLY disgusting parts of this scene, which I could barely watch.
7) The Turkey – Home for the Holidays
Claudia gets fired, makes out with her boss, comes down with a head cold, and finds out her daughter has decided to start having sex. And this is all BEFORE she has to fly home to have Thanksgiving with her well-meaning but deranged family. After her aunt Gladdy drunkenly announces that she kissed Claudia’s dad years ago, the tension slowly builds until her brother Robbie accidentally tosses the turkey into their sister Joanne’s lap. Joanne explodes into a homophobic rage. You know, typical Thanksgiving stuff.
Now, for a palate cleanser:
Snoopy’s Thanksgiving Meal – A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
Even though all of the parents seemingly don’t care that none of their kids are around for Thanksgiving, and even though they have to eat toast, popcorn, jelly beans, and pretzels, the gang from Peanuts focuses on what’s important: being together.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!