The 8 most awkward Thanksgiving dinner scenes in movie history

From romantic rivals to fist fights, Hollywood isn't afraid to show Thanksgiving at its darkest and funniest

"Home for the Holidays"
(Image credit: YouTube)

Thanksgiving is often thought of as a time for love, joy, and togetherness — three things that rarely make for compelling movies. Fortunately for Hollywood, many have also experienced the other side of Thanksgiving: The difficult and often awkward task of getting a large family together to enjoy a single meal in peace. Over the past few decades, Hollywood has offered catharsis to exhausted Thanksgiving celebrants by showing the holiday in all of its potentially uncomfortable glory. This year, give thanks that you're not at these squirm-inducing Thanksgiving dinners:

1. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)

Woody Allen's Academy Award-nominated dramedy features no less than three massive Thanksgiving meals prepared by Mia Farrow's film-anchoring Hannah. But even when things go smoothly on the surface, an adulterous relationship between Hannah's husband Elliot (Michael Caine) and her sister Lee (Barbara Hershey) threatens to derail the family. It takes yet another Thanksgiving meal, at the film's end, to restore order. (via the AARP)

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2. She's Gotta Have It (1986)

Spike Lee's first film, which he made for less than $200,000, tells the story of Brooklynite Nola Darling (Tracy Camilla Johns) as she dates three wildly different men at the same time. The film's centerpiece is a deeply awkward scene in which Nola invites all three to join her for Thanksgiving. By the end of the contentious meal, Mars Blackmon, played by Spike Lee himself, has proposed a coin flip for Nola's hand. (via the AARP)

3. Scent of a Woman (1992)

Al Pacino won an Oscar for playing blind, alcoholic Frank Slade, who livens up a Thanksgiving dinner by suggesting that his nephew Randy (Bradley Whitford) perform oral sex on his wife. "You've gotten so wrapped up in the sugar business that you've forgotten the taste of real HONEY!" booms Frank. Randy retaliates by telling the uncomfortable story of the unfortunate grenade-juggling routine that lost Frank his eyesight, provoking a violent reaction. (via TIME)

4. Home for the Holidays (1995)

The tagline for this Jodie Foster-directed comedy reads, "On the fourth Thursday in November, 84 million American families will gather together... And wonder why." Home for the Holidays offers no shortage of reasons for not going home for Thanksgiving, including a disastrous dinner scene in which the poor turkey-carving skills of Tommy (Robert Downey Jr.) send the bird flying onto the lap of sister JoAnn (Cynthia Stevenson). (via The Huffington Post)

5. The Ice Storm (1997)

When it comes to Thanksgiving movies, it doesn't get much grimmer than Ang Lee's The Ice Storm, which chronicles the dysfunction of two intertwined Connecticut families in the early 1970s. "Dear Lord, thank you for this Thanksgiving holiday, and for letting us stuff ourselves like pigs, even as children in Asia are being napalmed," prays Wendy (Christina Ricci) at one family's Thanksgiving dinner, in one of the devastating drama's lighter scenes. (via Time)

6. The House of Yes (1997)

When Marty (Josh Hamilton) arrives at Thanksgiving dinner with a fiancee in tow, his bipolar twin sister Jackie (Parker Posey) conspires to oust her brother's new love in an attempt to become the primary woman in his life again. "I'm going to go baste the turkey and hide the kitchen knives," says their mother in a telling scene. (via The Huffington Post)

7. Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Though they're miles away from one another, both of Brokeback Mountain's star-crossed lovers have an awkward Thanksgiving dinner: Ennis (Heath Ledger) joins his ex-wife, her new husband, and their two daughters for a stilted conversation about rodeo, while Jack (Jake Gyllenhaal) gets into an argument with his "ignorant-ass" father-in-law. (via Moviefone)

8. Funny People (2009)

After being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, morose comedian George Simmons (Adam Sandler) joins a host of fellow funny people for what might be his last Thanksgiving meal. "First let's give thanks for our families not being here," he toasts, to laughter, before launching into a rambling monologue about his age and the friends of his who have died. It is not, suffice it to say, particularly funny. (via Moviefone)

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