If you’re an American celebrating Thanksgiving, chances are you’ve been trying to find an activity to occupy your extended family in the post-dinner haze. Watching a movie is perhaps the simplest solution, but there’s a big caveat: You probably don’t want to watch a movie that you think you’ll really enjoy.
How come? Well, for example, you’re probably in the beginning stages of a food coma, brought on by the sheer amount of carbohydrates. And the wine you drank to drown out any political discussion sure doesn’t help. And for another, watching movies with family invites a lot of discussion and explaining to your mom why Everything everywhere all at once he really resonated with you as he tells you he just didn’t understand why the daughter wasn’t nicer probably isn’t a conversation you want to have on a vacation.
But this is where we come into play. Polygon is proud to present a carefully selected assortment of movies where snoozing in and out will only enhance the experience. Besides, these movies are also great to talk about and point out weird moments, which ultimately bring you and your loved ones together. And if one of these sounds compelling, but someone you’re hosting points it out As soon as you watched it on a plane, or you don’t have the streaming service it’s on, we’ve offered a few replacements.
Avengers: Infinity War
If you forgot what happens in Avengers: Infinity War – or if you forgot what comes first Avengers: Infinity War — don’t worry. Avengers: Infinity War it’s basically three hours of a million characters being shuffled on a chessboard and trading witty banter. This is the ultimate “AH THESE TWO GUYS ARE INTERACTING!” MCU movie, which means you can doze off between scenes and then wake up just in time for the next two guys to interact.
Where to watch: Stream 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 to where they need to be for the next movie, or to introduce a dozen characters that will be important later: EternalsCaptain America Civil War, or Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
All Robert Langdon films
There was a time not too long ago where readers devoured Dan Brown’s Da Vinci’s code, because it made them feel very smart. For the most part, we’ve come to realize that a few clever facts about art history don’t make a good novel (especially when those books are about how hot and fat their main character is). But aside from Brown’s writing talents and the factual accuracy of the books, they still make for entertaining movies. If you want adventure films that treat history as a slight starting point for skewed facts, then you might as well go with the ones that mess with European history.
Where to watch: Da Vinci’s code is available for free to watch with advertisements on Tubi or for digital rental or purchase on Amazon, Apple and Google Play. Angels & Demons is available to watch on Netflix. Hell is available to watch 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’re archaeological adventure films aged better than Indiana Jones; also, Dora and the lost city of gold. Trust me.
The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part 2
Done breaking Dawn should it be split into two films? Absolutely no. Works? Honestly, yes. A lot of this movie is awkward narration to show the awkward passage of time, but there are some incredible highlights, like the amazing vampires from all over the world who have a unique power (with 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 romance of all four movies, and they get about 15 minutes of screen time. Instead of complaining that all these amazing characters are just here to support Bella and Edward’s relatively bland story, while you’re drunk on wine and sleepy you can just enjoy the time they have.
Where to watch: The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part 2 is available to watch on Showtime or digital rental or purchase on Amazon, Apple and Google Play.
Replacement: More “this is the second half of the last book in a bestselling YA series that we’ve split into two movies for more money,” of which there were quite a few in the 2010s – viz. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 And Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.
Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones
I will refrain from making any statements about prequels vs sequels vs original trilogy vs Disney Plus shows, but Attack of the Clones rules when you’re not really paying attention to them. The scene where Obi-Wan discovers that someone has commanded a whole army of human men and he just goes along with it like an elaborate game of improvisation? High comedy. Padmé freeing herself from her chains and his clothes ripping in such a fashionable way? Kill. Does Yoda Go Crazy With His Lightsaber? Blessed. The whole montage of “Across the Stars”? OK, that’s actually fine.
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 an intergenerational debate in your family about prequels vs. sequels vs. original trilogy vs. Disney Plus shows, but you still want sci-fi with flashy special effects and a storyline that’s barely woven together, try Jupiter Ascending and/or Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.
Nothing up Car 2 Does this make sense. Enjoy this as a feature, not a bug. Any other Pixar movie could make you too emotional, or you’ll fall asleep and miss the part that’s supposed to be tugging at your heartstrings and then wake up wondering why everyone is crying. But Car 2 it’s just absolutely insane from start to finish. Mater becomes a super spy! Cars to fly with rockets! Also, the whole message is that renewable energy sources are a scam, which is a really weird message to put in a kids movie, especially after WALL-Ebut we will ignore it.
Where to watch: Car 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 intoxicated in some way, whether it’s wine or turkey. In this way, what is a horrible experience is transformed into a dreamlike and surreal state of mind. Let yourself be transported into the world of Jellicle cats, with their human faces and fingers, but naked bodies and fur-covered tails. Let “Skimbleshanks the Railway Cat” get stuck in your head, instead of overexamining why cats look so small on the railway. Disclaimer: Polygon is not responsible for songs that stick 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 will also inflict psychic damage to your loved ones: The greatest showman And Cinderella (2021). But if you want Catsbut actually good, then try the official Broadway recording.
The thing about Disney’s live-action remakes is that for the most part they’re all basically the same story as the originals, but in a less visually engaging way. There are a few exceptions, however, that come in the form of “let’s give this one-note villain a tragic backstory.” Cruella makes this list slightly higher Maleficent simply for being the villain who least deserves this backstory. In a post-eating haze, you can stop dwelling on the ethics of killing puppies and enjoy elaborate heists in fashion instead.
Where to watch: Cruella is available to watch on Disney Plus.
Replacement: Aladdin (2019), Maleficent (2014), Mulan (2020), Cinderella (2015)…all Disney live-action remakes, really, except The Lion King (2019), which will put you to sleep.
This really doesn’t deserve the slander of being on this list because it’s a good film, but I will say that the experience of this one increases with each successive glass of wine – let go of 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 old song?” and you can say “Hell yes, of course I do!” Leave out the fact that everyone in the world knows “Dancing Queen” and will be very impressed.
Where to watch: Oh mama is available to watch on Hulu and Peacock.
Replacement: Mamma Mia! Here we go again. Warning: you may cry.
How can I even begin to explain Bear Country? It’s based on a really old theme park attraction. It’s a “putting the band back together to save a beloved building!” movie, except that the band is made up of anthropomorphic bears. No one questions the fact that these bears live next to humans. The main character is a teenage bear living with a human family who only recently learned that he was adopted. Elton John is in it, as himself. There are two musical sequences with 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 gives 110% to his villain role. Every moment of this movie is played seriously and since nothing makes sense, does it make sense? Much more sensible when you’re a little tipsy.
Where to watch: Bear Country is available to watch on Disney Plus.
Replacement: Anything. Sorry, nothing else compares.