If you’re an American who celebrates Thanksgiving, chances are you’ve been trying to find an activity to keep your extended family entertained in the post-dinner haze. Watching a movie might be the easiest solution, but there’s one big caveat: you probably don’t want to watch a movie that you think you’ll actually enjoy.
Why? First, you are probably in the early stages of a food coma caused by the sheer amount of carbohydrates. And the wine you drank to drown out all political arguments certainly doesn’t help. And for another, watching movies with family invites much discussion, and explaining to your mother why Everything Everywhere Everything at once really resonated with you as she tells you that she just didn’t understand why the daughter wasn’t nicer is probably not a conversation you want to have while on vacation.
But that’s where we come into play. Polygon is proud to present a carefully selected range of films where dozing off and on will only enhance the experience. Moreover, these movies are also great for talking about and pointing out weird moments, which will eventually bring you and your loved ones together. And if any of these sound convincing, but someone you host points out that they only if you watched it on the plane or if you don’t have a streaming service that has it on, we’ve offered a number of substitutions.
Avengers: Infinite War
If you have forgotten what is happening in Avengers: Infinite War – or if you forgot what happened before Avengers: Infinite War — don’t worry about it. Avengers: Infinite War is actually three hours of a million characters shuffling around a chessboard exchanging witty one-liners. This is the ultimate “AH THESE TWO GUYS ARE INTERACTING!” MCU movie, which means you can fall asleep between scenes and then wake up just in time for the next two guys to interact.
Where to watch: Streaming on Disney Plus, or available for digital rental or purchase on Amazon, Apple and Google Play.
Replacement: Other MCU movies that can be summed up as two and a half hours to get a dozen characters where they need to be for the next movie, or introduce a dozen characters that will be important later on: Eternalscaptain america: civil war, or Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
All Robert Langdon movies
Not so long ago, there was a time when readers devoured by Dan Brown The Da Vinci Codebecause it made them feel really smart. For the most part, we’ve realized that a few smart art history facts don’t make for a good novel (especially when those books go on and on about how hot and handsome their main characters are). But beyond Brown’s writing prowess and the factual accuracy of the books, they still make for fun movies. If you want adventure movies that treat history as a light starting point for twisted facts, you might as well go for the ones that mess around with European history.
Where to watch: The Da Vinci Code is free to watch with ads on Tubi, or for digital rental or purchase on Amazon, Apple, and Google Play. Angels & Demons can be seen on Netflix. Inferno is available to view on Starz, or for digital rental or purchase on Amazon, Apple, and Google Play.
Replacement: National treasure and National Treasure: Book of Secrets, since they are archaeological adventure films that have aged better than Indiana Jones; also, dora and the lost city of gold. Just trust me.
The Twilight series Breaking Dawn part 2
did Dawn should be split into two movies? Absolutely not. Does it work? Honestly, yes. Much of this movie is awkward narration to show the awkward passage of time, but there are some incredible highlights, like the really cool vampires from around the world who have a unique power (featuring actors like Rami Malek and Lee Pace???Hello????), as well as the epic final “battle” scene. Lee Pace’s character Garrett and electricity-generating vampire Kate (Casey LaBow) literally have the best love story in the entire four movies, and they have about 15 minutes of screen time. Instead of complaining about the fact that all these cool characters are just here to support Bella and Edward’s relatively boring story while you’re drunk and sleepy, just enjoy the time they’re having.
Where to watch: The Twilight series Breaking Dawn part 2 is available to view on Showtime, or for digital rental or purchase on Amazon, Apple, and Google Play.
Replacement: Other “this is the second half of the final book in a bestselling YA series that we broke into two movies for more money” of which there were quite a few in the 2010s – namely The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.
Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones
I won’t make any judgments about the prequels vs sequels vs original trilogy vs the Disney Plus shows, but Attack of the clones rules when you’re not really paying attention. The scene where Obi-Wan discovers that someone has ordered an entire army of human males and he just goes along with it like an elaborate improvisation game? High comedy. Padme freeing herself from chains and tearing her clothes in a way that’s oh-so-fashionable? Kill. Yoda going crazy with his lightsaber? Blessed. The whole “Across the Stars” montage? OK – that’s actually good.
Where to watch: Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones is available to watch on Disney Plus.
Replacement: If you don’t want to spark a cross-generational debate in your family about prequels versus sequels versus original trilogy versus the Disney Plus shows, but still want sci-fi with gaudy special effects and a plot that’s barely strung together, try Jupiter ascends and/or Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.
Nothing left cars 2 sounds logical. Enjoy this as a feature, not a bug. Any other Pixar movie can make you too emotional or you’ll fall asleep and miss the part that should draw your heart out, then wake up wondering why everyone is breaking down in tears. But cars 2 is just absolutely crazy from start to finish. Mater becomes a super spy! cars fly with missiles! Also, the whole message is that renewables are a scam, which is a really weird message to put in a kids movie, especially after WALL-Ebut we’re just going to ignore that.
Where to watch: cars 2 is available to watch on Disney Plus.
Replacement: Any DreamWorks animated film made between 2004 and 2008.
The only way to watch this movie is to be slightly intoxicated, be it on wine or turkey. In this way, a horrific experience turns into a dreamy and surreal state of mind. Immerse yourself in the world of the Jellicle cats, with their human faces and fingers, but fur-covered naked bodies and tails. Let “Skimbleshanks the Railway Cat” get stuck in your head, instead of hyper-examining why the cats look so small on the railway. Disclaimer: Polygon is not responsible for songs that get stuck in your head for the rest of the weekend.
Where to watch: Cats is available for digital rental or purchase through Amazon, Apple, and Google Play.
Replacement: Movies that also cause psychological damage to your loved ones: The greatest showman and Cinderella (2021). But if you want Catsbut actually good, try the official Broadway recording.
The thing about Disney’s live-action remakes is that, for the most part, they’re all essentially the same story as the originals, but in a less visually appealing way. There are a few exceptions though, which come in the form of “let’s give this one-note villain some tragic backstory.” Cruella makes this list something malicious just because you’re the bad guy who deserves this backstory less. In a post-food waze, you can stop dwelling on the ethics of killing puppies and instead just enjoy the elaborate fashion heists.
Where to watch: Cruella is available to watch on Disney Plus.
This doesn’t really deserve the slander of being on this list as it’s a good movie, but I will say that the experience of this movie increases with each successive glass of wine – release your inhibitions and sing ABBA to your heart’s content. The hidden bonus here is that in my personal experience, parents and friends of parents love ABBA and they’ll all be like, “Oh wow, you know this one old song?” and you’re like, “Hell yeah, of course I do!” Omit the fact that everyone in the world knows ‘Dancing Queen’, and they’ll be extra impressed.
Where to watch: mama mia is available to watch on Hulu and Peacock.
Replacement: Mama Mia! Here we go again. Be warned – you might cry.
The land bears
How do I even begin to explain The land bears? It is based on a very old theme park attraction. It’s a “getting the band back together to save a beloved building!” movie, except the band is made up of anthropomorphic bears. No one doubts that these bears simply live next to people. The main character is a teenage bear who lives with a human family and only recently learned that he was adopted. Elton John is in it, as himself. There are two musical sequences featuring B-list pop stars from the early 2000s. The lead singer of the Eagles makes a comment about how the Country Bears are better than the Eagles. Christopher Walken puts 110% into his role as the villain. Every moment of this movie is played seriously and since nothing makes sense, does it kind of make sense? Definitely makes more sense if you’re a little tipsy.
Where to watch: The land bears is available to watch on Disney Plus.
Replacement: Nothing. Sorry, nothing else compares.