Skip To Content

From Lamb Chop to Lou Reed, 7 shows and movies to watch for Thanksgivukkah

As Nicole Kidman regularly informs me on my visits to AMC theaters, the movies are back. That is, if you’re vaccinated and feel comfortable in a dark room with strangers during an ongoing pandemic. Your mileage may vary.

But, with Thanksgiving and Hanukkah soon to be upon us, we’ll need to fill the idle hours between the turkey cooking, the potato grating and the flight home. Here are some suggestions for programming worth checking out, both at-home and in a multiplex near you.

The Velvet Underground

In select theaters and on Apple TV+

Lou Reed, who once held court at a Seder at City Winery, definitely cracks my list of people living or dead who I’d want at my Thanksgiving — if only to scandalize that one aunt. But for lack of the real thing (he’s sadly in the dead category) Todd Haynes’ documentary celebration of The Velvet Underground, and the avant-garde art scene it collided with, is an excellent alternative.

Licorice Pizza

In select theaters November 26

Another ode to the sunny San Fernando Valley from Paul Thomas Anderson may be just what we need as things get chillier — at least on the East Coast. Starring Alana Haim (youngest member of the band Haim) and newcomer Cooper Hoffman (son of Philip Seymour z”l) the film is loosely based on the life of producer and erstwhile child actor Gary Goetzman. Anderson also enlists his partner Maya Rudolph, actor-director Benny Safdie (as Jewish councilman Joel Wachs) and Sean Penn, making for a thoroughly Jewish affair that promises at least one car-smashing rampage by former Streisand beau Jon Peters (Bradley Cooper). Just don’t try the titular dish on Turkey Day or with latkes. Sounds, well, just gross.

Lamb Chop’s Special Chanukah

Available on YouTube

Of all the children’s characters to celebrate the Festival of Lights, who include Grover and that shmata business mainstay Corduroy, it should perhaps come as no surprise that Shari Lewis’ trademark character Lamb Chop is observant. (She’s pretty lucky though that post-Temple Judaism involves far less sacrifice of her own kind.) I just discovered this gem from 1995 and it’s great for those with little ones. It involves a primer on the holiday’s meaning and even a klezmer number where Lewis and Lamb Chop make latkes. “I hope that you have learned cooking is an art,” Lewis tells her plush companion. Ever the wag, Lamb Chop replies: “But it would have been easier if we had used the Cuisinart.”


On Amazon Prime

Everyone loves to talk up “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” but have you considered “Dutch” for your John Hughes Thanksgiving road movie supplement? Starring “Married With Children”-era Ed O’Neill as a blue collar guy escorting his well-heeled girlfriend’s son home from boarding school, the film is kind of like “It Happened One Night” with a more trenchant message about class. OK, this movie is actually deeply mediocre and gives us a kid even more violently deranged than Kevin McCallister. But, so help me, I still like it. And you might too!


In theaters November 24

Following a Colombian family possessed of magical powers, Disney’s latest promises to hit all the hallmarks of the holiday. Intergenerational disputes. Food. That one cousin who hears everything and turns it into lashon hara. Many will be drawn in by new music from Lin-Manuel Miranda. I will be going for the animated capybaras.


On Amazon Prime

Actually, don’t watch this Darren Aronofsky psychological math thriller. Not exactly in the holiday spirit. And actually pretty disturbing. Eat some pie instead.

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.