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10 Movies to Watch Instead of Football This Thanksgiving

Cheryl Hines, Keri Russell, and Adrienne Shelly star in "Waitres" from Fox Searchlight Pictures.
Cheryl Hines, Keri Russell, and Adrienne Shelly star in “Waitress” from Fox Searchlight Pictures.

Ah, Thanksgiving. It’s a time to celebrate with family and friends, a time for turkey, pumpkin pie, rampant consumerism, and that all-important American pastime — watching football with the family.  (If that’s your kind of thing, there are three games this year, one of them being the Redskins versus the Cowboys).

But if your family isn’t exactly the football watching type, or if you’re just looking for something a little bit different this year, here are 10 crowd pleasers that you can watch instead.

1. Rudy
Type: Drama, Biography, Sport
Release Date: 1993
Director: David Anspaugh
Starring: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
Rating: 78% RT, 7.5/10 IMDb

You didn’t think we were going to forgo football altogether, did you? When it comes to football movies, very few of them are as uplifting and heartwarming as Rudy, the story of a dreamer who never let his shortcomings get in his way.

2. Julie and Julia
Type: Drama, Biography, Romance, Comedy
Release Date: 2009
Director: Nora Ephron
Starring: Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci
Rating: 76% RT, 7/10 IMDb

When a young woman decides to make one Julia Child recipe every day for a year and to document that journey on a blog, her entire life changes. Her story is intercut with the story of Julia Child herself finding her place in the world. I can’t think of a better food-centric tale to relax to after a long Thanksgiving feast.

3. The Lake House
Type: Drama, Fantasy, Romance, Mystery, Thriller
Release Date: 2006
Director: Alejandro Agresti
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Christopher Plummer
Rating: 35% RT, 6.8/10 IMDb

There’s something surprisingly magical about this romance starring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock. Two people are able to pass letters back and forth through time and the two find themselves falling in love.

4. Forrest Gump
Type: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Release Date: 1994
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Starring: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Senise
Rating: 73% RT, 8.8/10 IMDb

You really can’t go wrong with Tom Hanks as the title character in Forrest Gump. Watching Forrest traverse life through the 60s, 70s, and early 80s is sure to put everyone in a relaxed post-dinner mood.

5. Meet the Parents
Type: Comedy, Romance
Release Date: 2000
Director: Jay Roach
Starring: Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, Teri Polo
Rating: 84% RT 7/10 IMDb

Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro play perfectly off of each other here, as a young man who hopes to propose to his girlfriend and the girlfriend’s ex-CIA agent father.

6 & 7. Guardians of the Galaxy & Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2  
Type: Comedy, Action & Adventure, Science-Fiction, Fantasy
Release Date: 2017
Director: James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana
Rating: 91% RT, 8.1/10 IMDb

The Guardians of the Galaxy films are my personal favorite in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not only is it one of the funniest of the movies, but it is full of heart. And that’s what Thanksgiving is really all about. So why not make it a double feature?

8. Juno
Type: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Release Date: 2007
Director: Jason Reitman
Starring: Ellen Page, Jason Bateman, J.K. Simmons
Rating: 94% RT, 7.5/10 IMDb

This 2007 hit was sweet, funny, and heartbreaking all at once. It’s probably been a while since anyone in your family has seen it, so this holiday weekend is the perfect time to revisit this teen comedy about a high schooler who finds herself pregnant and seeks to find an adoptive family for her child.

9. Leatherheads
Type: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Release Date: 2008
Director: George Clooney
Starring: George Clooney, John Krasinski, Renee Zellweger
Rating: 52% RT, 6/10 IMDb

We’re back to football one last time with this fictional romantic comedy-drama that is set in the 1920s and focuses on the birth of pro ball.

10. Waitress
Type: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Release Date: 2007
Director: Adrienne Shelly
Starring: Keri Russell, Nathan Fillion, Andy Griffith
Rating: 90% RT, 7/10 IMDb

If Thanksgiving is a holiday about turkey and football, it’s every bit a holiday about pie! What better time to watch Waitress, about an unhappily married waitress with a knack for creating mouthwatering pies. Watching Keri Russell and Nathan Fillion fall in love in this sweet southern romance is a totally calorie-free treat that everyone can get behind.

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