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On Demand: Six Films Featuring Dysfunctional Families To Prepare You For Thanksgiving Dinner

In our monthly segment "On Demand," we help improve your movie nights by offering suggestions for films that are currently streaming on Netflix Instant.   This month, we thought we’d do something a little different.  Just in time for Thanksgiving, here are five classic films about family that you wouldn’t exactly call “family films.”  If you’re gearing up for a visit from your own eccentric relatives, this queue will remind you that it could be a lot worse.

"I'll be back... for seconds."

Punch Drunk Love (2002):

Adam Sandler stars in this unusual comedic drama by Paul Thomas Anderson.  His character, Barry Egan, has a handful of the most aggravating siblings in film history - it's hard to imagine a more judgmental Thanksgiving than the ones that Barry must have sat through every year.  Available on Netflix Instant now.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

If you thought your family was complicated, imagine the holidays for Sarah Connor, played here by Linda Hamilton, who has to worry about prepping the food and cleaning the house, all while staying on the lookout for a shape-changing homicidal robot from the future. Yeesh. Available on Netflix Instant and Amazon Prime now.

Credit Taylor Quimby
"Time to feast on animal flesh, young ones!"

Fargo (1996):

There are dysfunctional families, and then there are the Lundegaards.  In this chilling story from the Coen Brothers, we are reminded that, while we all make mistakes, some are worse than others. Available on Netflix Instant now.

There Will Be Blood (2007)

Another title from the Coen Brothers that features a stiff family relationship - makes you wonder what their Thanksgiving dinners looked like growing up. Available on Netflix Instant now.

Coneheads (1993): 

For some (most?) teenagers, there is no greater embarrassment than being forced to interact with your parents.  In this movie, starring Dan Aykroyd and a host of other SNL veterans, we're reminded that while our families may sometimes seem alien, they are the only ones we get. Available on Netflix Instant now.

Grosse Point Blank (1997):

Okay, so this film isn't technically about family, but it is about reunions and let's face it,  we've all run into an ex (or two) when we're home for the holidays.  As awkward as that chance encounter may be, it could be worse:  your high school prom date could have grown up to be a contract killer. Available on Netflix Instant now.

Taylor Quimby is Supervising Senior Producer of the environmental podcast Outside/In, Producer/Reporter/Host of Patient Zero, and Senior Producer of the serialized true crime podcast Bear Brook.
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