Your ultimate Thanksgiving movie guide: A slam dunk for every holiday scenario
Planning on catching a few movies over the holidays? USA TODAY has some recommendations. USA TODAY
Reuniting with kin and friends only goes so far on Thanksgiving weekend. There is no safer haven from the eventual emerging family dysfunction than welcoming seats, a darkened room and a movie.
In the name of family peace, here's our weekend movie guide to help make the right choice for every predicament or mood:
If you want to remember the glory days of Russian villains: 'Creed 2'
Adonis Creed, played by Michael B. Jordan, faces off against the son of the Russian fighter who killed his father in "Creed II." USA TODAY
"Creed 2" (opening Nov. 21) manages to merge two worlds with returning boxing hero Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) as the trainer for the youthful Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan). Major nostalgia points for bringing "Rocky IV" Russian nemesis Ivan Drago back, now as trainer to his brutal son, Viktor (Florian Munteanu). Yes, there is a training montage.
If you want to start finding the Christmas spirit (and grumpiness): 'The Grinch'
Dr. Seuss' classic Christmas tale "The Grinch" returns to the big screen this holiday season. USA TODAY
Thanksgiving is the gateway holiday to Christmas. So it's time to starting hating the commercialism and mall music before finding the season's true meaning with the ultimate seasonal spirit guide, Dr. Seuss' Grinch. With Benedict Cumberbatch sneering as the infamous green Christmas-basher, it's grumpy done right (even if he goes sensitive at the end).
If you want to see if Viola Davis can get away with robbery: 'Widows'
When their husbands are killed, these widows have to find a way to pay off the debts from their husbands' crimes. USA TODAY
When Viola Davis was accepting her Academy Award for "Fences" in 2017, you wouldn't have expected next seeing the actress starring in a down and dirty heist film with fellow crime widows played by Michelle Rodriguez and Elizabeth Debicki. The women step up to take over a job after their criminal husbands are rubbed out in "Widows," director Steve McQueen's dramatic action-thriller.
If you want to hoist a few butterbeers: 'Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald'
"Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald" teases a new connection between Voldemort and Grindelwald that will have fans of the Harry Potter fans pondering for months to come, or until the film's release on November 16th. USA TODAY
For a legion of fans, winter is the time to tie on the Harry Potter scarf and quaff a few gallons of butterbeer. J.K. Rowling continues building a new movie universe, writing the screenplay for the second "Fantastic Beasts" as Eddie Redmayne's Newt Scamander battles the ominous, pale threat of villainous Grindelwald (Johnny Depp). Not all critics are spellbound, but check out our (★★★ of four) review.
If you need to put everyone in a good mood, quick: 'Green Book'
Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen's characters come from two different social worlds, but the common ground they find in "Green Book" can speak to us all. USA TODAY
Depressed over the news? Fighting with that one uncle too much? Choose "Green Book" as proof we can all rise above. In this 1960s comedy-drama based on a true story, Viggo Mortensen plays a street-smart Italian-American forced to bury his racism when a cash drought leads him to a job driving a world-class black pianist (Mahershala Ali) in the Deep South. It's a flip on "Driving Miss Daisy" that will leave you on a high. Read our (★★★½ of four) review.
If you need to take the kids to something but need adult laughs: 'Ralph Breaks the Internet'
Ralph ventures into the wide world of the Internet and shenanigans ensue in "Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2."
'Wreck-It Ralph 2' brings John C. Reilly's softhearted protagonist back with Sarah Silverman's Vanellope von Schweetz to explore the wild world of the internet. Vanellope's hilarious lesson in comfortable clothes to a bevy of Disney Princesses shows that adults will have to plenty to laugh along with the kids. Read our (★★★ out of four) review.
If you're craving an edgy, R-rated take on a royal tale: 'The Favourite'
Watch a vicious competition between two assistants to Queen Anne in the early 18th century. USA TODAY
Even if you think you know what you're getting into with "The Favourite," you'd still be way off. "The Lobster" director Yorgos Lanthimos dresses his ladies (Olivia Coleman as Queen Anne, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone as her dueling ladies-in-waiting) in the politest of corsets, but savage wit and emotional terror rule the day. Get in on this Oscar favorite early. (But maybe leave your more prudish cousin at home.)
If broad comedy and big tears are your thing: 'Instant Family'
Somehow, foul-mouthed families are so much more fun when Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne are involved, lovingly but clumsily parenting three sibling foster children. "Instant Family" will pull out any gag to make a family-friendly audience laugh and pluck every heartstring for the sniffles.
If you haven't seen 'A Star Is Born' in a great theater, you really should
The first trailer for "A Star Is Born" is out and it stars Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga.
Bradley Cooper's critically lauded directorial debut continues to roll at the box office ($330 million worldwide). Even beyond Lady Gaga's must-see breakout performance, "A Star Is Born" demands viewing on a big screen with great sound – all the better for big concert numbers featuring Cooper and Gaga. We're going to be talking about this movie deep into awards season, so get in on the national conversation. Read our (★★★★ of four) review.
If you want to see how the 'Gravity' director is back in Oscar orbit: 'Roma'
Alfonso Cuarón's Netflix film "Roma" follows the life of a middle-class family in Mexico City during the '70s. USA TODAY
After 2013's "Gravity" netted seven Oscars, director Alfonso Cuaron is back in rarefied critical air again with "Roma." The black-and-white drama chronicling the life of a middle-class Mexico City family is due to stream on Netflix Dec. 14. But "Roma" is in theaters starting Nov. 21, and it deserves to be seen on the biggest screens around.
If you got gravy on your face, a big disgrace: 'Bohemian Rhapsody'
'Bohemian Rhapsody' is a foot-stomping celebration of Queen, their music and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury, who defied stereotypes and shattered convention to become one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet. USA TODAY
The stadium rock of Queen has transcended generations. "Bohemian Rhapsody" shows the magnetic power of lead singer Freddie Mercury (the critically lauded Rami Malek), who soared, then crashed in the the rock 'n' roll lifestyle – before leading a memorable Live Aid performance. Read our (★★ of four) review.