You might think it's odd that The Road and Ninja Assassin both came out just in time for Turkey Day. But those aren't the only counter-intuitive movies that studios have put out for Thanksgiving — here's a complete list.
Sometimes, you just need an escape from the relentlessness of the Thanksgiving celebrations, and Hollywood has been there for you — at least, some years. Certainly, in recent years, there have always been a couple of oddball films coming out for T-Day — but in previous years, it was hit and miss. Here's the complete list of Thanksgiving counterprogramming of the past 25 years, including some stuff that's not science fiction but is in some sense genre film.
All movie titles link to IMDB or Box Office Mojo pages containing release dates:
Supergirl A movie guaranteed to make you give thanks that you're never going to see it again — and a strong contender for the worst superhero film of all time. What I want to know is, what sort of guy sees his buddy blown thirty feet across the parking lot, and then decides to try and attack Supergirl using a switchblade?
Rocky IV The good news is, it would inspire you to go get in shape after eating all that turkey and stuffing, thanks to one of the most classic training montages ever:
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home The most fun of the original cast movies, this probably would have been a good one to escape to with your family. Although the famous "Shatner underwater" scene might have proved distressing.
Solarbabies I'm convinced there's something very broken about this post-apocalyptic rollerblading film, but at least on the surface it looks very wholesome. Except for the part where the woman with the huge shoulderpads says, "Lock it down and disembowel it."
Cocoon: The Return I'm not sure anybody should have to deal with Steve Gutenberg on a full stomach.
Back to the Future 2 Given that Marty McFly's mom gets bizarre breast implants and becomes Biff Tannen's bitch, this is definitely a good film for a family outing.
Predator 2 The underrated cop drama/Predator attack movie starring Danny Glover... it's really not as bad as you remember.
Robot Jox This, on the other hand... giant mecha gladiators, fighting it out with chainsaw crotches and other armaments... this is what family is all about.
The Crying Game Terrorists, thugs, and the great transgender panic of 1992. I bet you took your mom to see this one.
Junior Pregnant Arnold Schwarzenegger, watching sentimental movies and crying a lot, will help you understand your own family. Really.
Casino It's an underrated Scorsese classic, full of brutality and weirdness. Perfect Thanksgiving fare.
Nick of Time I may be the only person who saw this movie in the theater. Johnny Depp has 90 minutes to kill someone or other, or else Christopher Walken will kill someone or other. Mostly worth it to watch Depp and Walken overacting in a shopping mall. And for Walken saying, "I'll make you a sauce for that black Irish cocksucker's meat." I'm happy this and the Scorsese film were the main choices for Thanksgiving 1995.
Alien Resurrection The whole time you're with your family, you can imagine you're actually hanging out with lesbian android Winona. Or you can just daydream about what this movie could have been if they'd filmed Joss Whedon's screenplay.
Very Bad Things A sex worker gets killed at a bachelor party — and then things turn ugly. Probably just like your family gatherings. It does star Jon "Iron Man" Favreau, and it's directed by Peter "Hancock" Berg.
End of Days Satan and Thanksgiving — and Arnie! They fit together perfectly! Satan is looking for his Bride... so it's about family and relationships and stuff.
Unbreakable A horrific act of mass murder brings to light a guy who can find the rapists and creeps in our midst. It's light family entertainment — but it does deal with some real questions about the power of story. So yeah, probably a good one to get out of the house for.
Quills This, on the other hand — the Marquis De Sade! In full effect! I'm betting many of you dragged your entire family to see this.
Black Knight Martin Lawrence gets zapped back to the Middle Ages, and presumably, goes medieval on their asses. Enough to make your entire family commit mass suicide, Heavens Gate-style.
The Devil's Backbone An early Guillermo Del Toro classic, and more proof that horror owns Thanksgiving. Your family doesn't deserve this movie.
Solaris You could watch Steven Soderbergh's trippy-ass remake of Tarkovsky's classic while you're already wigged out on tryptophan. Why not?
Wes Craven Presents: They Or you could have seen this gem — they're coming for you!
Timeline "Your father is in the 14th. century." Hey, maybe he can hang out with Martin Lawrence there!
The Fountain And speaking of trippy movies when you're already stoned on tryptophan... at least your entire family will each have different opinions about what happened in this film.
Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny Jack Black! Rocking out! It's bound to make more sense than The Fountain.
Hitman A video game adaptation about a guy who kills people and thwarts some vague conspiracy thing. Probably the purest example of counterprogramming ever.
The Mist Given the shocking, ultra-secret ending, this is an... interesting choice for a family occasion. If you don't want to be spoiled, don't watch this clip:
Transporter 3 It's a threequel starring Jason Statham. How can it be bad?
Twilight You probably have at least one family member who's as creepy as Edward. So it's good to get some perspective.
The Road And then we're up to this year's crop... this whole movie is as depressing as The Mist's ending. But at least it does have a genuinely pro-family message.
Ninja Assassin This is the film we'll probably actually be watching on T-day. Ninjas! Wachowskis! James McTeigue! Out-and-out mayhem!
Additional reporting by Mary Ratliff.