Thanksgiving is about getting together, roasting the turkey, debating the mashed potatoes (lumps? no lumps?) and catching up with loved ones. But the holiday week is also about escaping when the bonding gets to be a little too much.
So, wait, what was that new movie someone told you was good?
Don't sweat it. This Thanksgiving week, we've put our recommendations together for movie lovers, along with caveats about what you might want to know before you go. Now get thee to a movie theater! (Or, you know, to Netflix.) Films are showing now unless noted otherwise.
Here's USA TODAY's 2019 Thanksgiving movie guide.
If you want a guaranteed win for the whole family: 'A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood'
The new Mister Rogers movie has everything one could want: The universally beloved Tom Hanks in a red sweater, a politics-free message of kindness and the relatable rehashing of the time a cynical journalist refused to be won over by the iconic children’s television host – until he couldn’t help himself. By the way, that really happened. Read our ★★★ (out of four) review.
If you want to delight the little ones: 'Frozen 2'
Sure, the plot is kind of nutty and critics don’t think the "Frozen" fun is as magical a second time around. But do Anna- and Elsa-adoring kids care? No! Take them anyway, and be prepared to hear choruses of “Into the Unknown” for weeks to come. Here's what you need to know going into the sequel.
If you want to see a ton of stars in a hilarious whodunit: 'Knives Out'
Offset holiday tensions by carting your entire family to see what dysfunction really looks like. A truckload of stars hit the screen in this darkly funny, Agatha Christie-like murder mystery (in theaters Wednesday), which investigates a wealthy patriarch’s death – and everyone is a suspect. We promise you won't guess the twist. Check out our interview with Daniel Craig and read our ★★★½ review.
If you want to see a daring best picture contender: 'Jojo Rabbit'
You may have gotten to know director Taika Waititi’s dry humor when he shook up the Marvel world with “Thor 3,” but now he’s using his same blend of comedy and heart to trace a child’s journey back from the clutches of fascism during World War II. Scarlett Johansson has never been better as a mom to a child caught up in the Hitler Youth (who panics after discovering a Jewish teen hiding in his attic). The daring satire is poised to become a major awards contender. Read our ★★★★ review.
If you’re a gearhead or a Matt Damon fan, you’re going to like 'Ford v Ferrari'
You might think “Ford v Ferrari” is only for major car lovers. But wait! Excellent performances by Christian Bale and Matt Damon await in the drama, which chronicles how racing legend Carroll Shelby (Damon) and driver Ken Miles (Bale) teamed up with Ford to create a machine that could beat even Ferrari in the unforgiving 24-hour Le Mans race. Read our interview with Damon here.
If two hours of George Michael music will make your heart happy: 'Last Christmas'
It should be noted that "Last Christmas" is not a romantic comedy – it's more of a bittersweet drama. But the film starring Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding is positively chock-full of Michael's tunes. The film's soundtrack features 15 of his songs, incorporating favorites like “Faith” and “Freedom ‘90” and unveiling a new song by the pop star, who died in 2016 on Christmas Day.
If you’re in the mood for a modern-day ‘Bonnie and Clyde’: ‘Queen & Slim’
A young black couple (Jodie Turner-Smith and Daniel Kaluuya) in Ohio are on a lackluster first date when a traffic stop turns deadly and a white cop is killed. The two go on the lam and head to Florida, getting help from family and unexpected allies as they become urban legends and grow closer. Well-acted, timely and unexpectedly funny, this film (in theaters Wednesday) will hit the spot for those seeking something meaty and thought-provoking.
If you like your war movies with a Hollywood patina: 'Midway'
The most amazing thing about “Midway” is that much of the story and onscreen heroics of the pivotal World War II naval battle actually happened. The events, played out by actors including Ed Skrein, Nick Jonas and Darren Criss, have been given the Hollywood treatment by director Roland Emmerich. It’s a worthy ride to give thanks to the real American heroes who fought and died.
If 'Goodfellas' is a favorite (and so is Al Pacino): 'The Irishman'
Martin Scorsese's 3½-hour eulogy for gangsters is one of his most entertaining and profoundly moving films yet. Spanning four decades, the big-budget drama reunites Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Al Pacino for a sprawling saga about family, the cost of violence and growing old. Bonus: You don't have to leave your home. "The Irishman" begins streaming Wednesday on Netflix. Read our ★★★½ review and study up on everything you should know about the film.
If you’re seeking one holy night out: ‘The Two Popes’
Of course, there’s plenty of pontificating in this dramedy chronicling the rivalry and friendship between two real-life pontiffs, Pope Benedict (Anthony Hopkins) and Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce), the future Pope Francis. It digs into real-life issues regarding the Catholic Church – from sexual abuse to inequality – but doesn’t forget to have heart and humor, too. "The Two Popes" is in select theaters Wednesday before coming to Netflix on Dec. 20. Read our ★★★½ review.
If you’ve seen every episode of ‘Law & Order’: ’21 Bridges’
Take all your relatives who live for cop procedurals to this tense action thriller, starring Chadwick Boseman as a New York homicide detective who shuts down every path in and out of Manhattan to hunt a pair of cop killers (Taylor Kitsch and Stephan James). The good guys aren’t all good (and there are some obvious twists), but Boseman is fun to watch trading his Black Panther mask for a NYPD badge.
If you want to understand Shia LaBeouf better: 'Honey Boy'
Shia LaBeouf gets achingly personal in his cathartic screenwriting debut, in which he also plays his real-life dad: a washed-up rodeo clown and abusive alcoholic. Fourteen-year-old Noah Jupe (“A Quiet Place”) is a revelation as a young LaBeouf, then a rising child actor, while Lucas Hedges (“Waves”) brings grit to a grown-up version of the character as he goes through rehab.
If you're crushing on Timothee Chalamet (and can't wait until 'Little Women')
Timothee Chalamet and his jawline star in this adaptation of Shakespeare's "Henriad" plays, following broody young Henry V's reluctant ascent to the throne. The film, currently streaming on Netflix, rarely rises above dreary period fare, although Robert Pattinson is a riot as an eccentric French monarch and Chalamet's scenes with rumored girlfriend Lily-Rose Depp (playing Catherine, the queen consort) are electric.
If you're looking for kid-friendly and also nostalgic: 'Lady and the Tramp'
The Disney+ live action “Lady and the Tramp” remake does dog justice to the classic 1955 animated film of two star-crossed pups by adding real canines (voiced by Justin Theroux and Tessa Thompson). The hybrid of live-action and animation even brings romance to the famed Italian restaurant scene. It’s a bella notte of entertainment.
Contributing: Brian Truitt, Bryan Alexander and Patrick Ryan
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Thanksgiving movie guide: Here's everything you need to see