A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving This is the one with the famous episode about Charlie Brown trying to kick the football Lucy keeps snatching away from him. And Peppermint Patty invites herself to Charlie Brown’s house for Thanksgiving and he is too kind-hearted to tell her that he won’t be there because his family is going to his grandmother’s. When the Peanuts gang comes over for a feast prepared by Charlie Brown himself, Patty gets angry at being served toast and jelly beans. But when she realizes how hard her friend tried to be hospitable, she learns what gratitude really means.
Miracle on 34th Street is a Christmas movie, but it begins with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and it is a great family movie (for those who are comfortable with questions about Santa’s being real. The original is a classic with an adorable Natalie Wood and Edmund Gwenn won an Oscar for playing Kris Kringle. But the remake is nice, too.
Squanto and the First Thanksgiving , Native American actor Graham Greene and musician Paul McCandless tell the story of Squanto’s extraordinary generosity and leadership in reaching out to the Pilgrims after he had been sold into slavery by earlier European arrivals in the New World.
My favorite Thanksgiving movies are “What’s Cooking?” with four families preparing for the holiday and “Pieces of April,” about a family, including a terminally ill mother, driving to an estranged daughter for Thanksgiving. Both are funny, touching, and wise. Wishing all of you a Thanksgiving filled with gratitude for being together, even the crazy parts.
On Labor Day pay tribute to workers, especially those who have worked for better conditions for everyone. These movies can help us understand their challenges and their contributions. This year in particular these stories have even more resonance as the very people who make the movies, the writers and performers are on strike to oppose shrinking writers rooms, wage theft, and the use of AI to undermine their current contracts.
Sally Field won an Oscar for “Norma Rae,” a real-life story about a courageous woman who helped mill workers form a union. It was inspired by Crystal Lee Sutton, a courageous advocate for workers’ rights.
Doris Day plays a union worker who falls for a new guy in management but doesn’t lose sight of the seven and a half cent raise the workers are bargaining for in the rollicking musical, “The Pajama Game.”
“Made in Dagenham” stars Sally Hawkins and and Rosamund Pike in the true and very heartwarming story of the British women who went on strike when they found that they were being paid far less by Ford Motor Company than the men.
I love this true story, about a group of LGBTQ activists who support the 1984 miners’ strike in Wales.
“10PM-Midnight: Working the Night Shift” is the story of the people who keep things going while the rest of us are asleep.
“Lifelines in the Lockdown” is a CBS News documentary from the early days of the pandemic about essential workers.
“Harlan County USA” is a documentary about a strike by mine workers.
“Bread and Roses” is based on the real-life story of a strike by undocumented janitorial workers, with Adrian Brody as their lawyer.
“Salt of the Earth” was inspired by an actual miners’ strike against the Empire Zinc Co. and the cast includes real-life miners who were involved in the strike
In “The Devil and Miss Jones,” a big boss goes undercover as an employee in his department store and learns some lessons about the workforce. The terrific cast includes Charles Coburn, Spring Byington, and Jean Arthur.
I’m excited at the possibility we might be getting a sequel to the classic “9 to 5,” starring the iconic Jane Fonda, Lili Tomlin, and Dolly Parton. Is there a better bad boss than Dabney Coleman? Or a better song than this film’s title sung by Parton?
Independence Day Will Smith, Bill Pullman, and Jeff Goldblum star in one of the all-time great popcorn pleasures. Aliens attack the earth and it takes a quirky engineer, a plucky President, and a heroic military pilot to save the day. What does that have to do with the 4th of July? Listen to the President’s stirring pep talk.
The Patriot There are many films about the Civil War, but not many about the Revolutionary War. Mel Gibson stars in this uneven but stirring film about a farmer pulled into the rebellion.
1776 I love this film, based on the Broadway musical about the signing of the Declaration of Independence, with almost all of the stars from the acclaimed stage production, including William Daniels as the “obnoxious and disliked” John Adams, Ken Howard as a dashing Thomas Jefferson, and Howard Da Silva as Benjamin Franklin.
8 Disney Hanukkah Specials to Stream This Holiday Season
The holiday season is here… and while there is no shortage of holly, jolly films and shows to stream on Disney+, we thought we’d highlight some of the Hanukkah specials that are also available right now! Whether you’re getting ready for a winter-break streaming marathon or just looking for something to watch to learn more about the holiday itself, we’ve listed eight things to watch—one for each night of Hanukkah.
1. The Ghost and Molly McGee – “Festival of Lights” (Season 1, Episode 10)
In this adventure, the entire McGee family and Scratch the ghost visit Libby Stein-Torres and her family for the final night of Hanukkah. When a sudden blackout occurs across the town of Brighton, Libby’s mom boots up their bookstore’s generator, but she only has enough gas for one hour. Inexplicably, the generator keeps running for eight hour—during which Libby and her family teach the McGee’s, and later the entire town (who come gather at the bookstore for warmth)—about their Hanukkah traditions!
2. “Puppy for Hanukkah”
In 2020, Hamilton star Daveed Diggs partnered with Disney to create a new Hanukkah anthem — “Puppy for Hanukkah.” Written by Diggs, William Hutson, and Jonathan Snipes, “Puppy for Hanukkah” tells the story of a little Jewish boy wishing for a puppy each night of Hanukkah before finally receiving one on the last night of the holiday. The song also explains some of his Hanukkah traditions, with Diggs reciting a Hanukkah blessing in Hebrew mid-rap. You can enjoy this Hanukkah bop by streaming the adorable music video for “Puppy for Hanukkah” on Disney+!
One of Disney Channel’s newest holiday specials is this episode of Firebuds, where Bo wonders why his mother doesn’t put up Hanukkah decorations like his father does for Christmas. To share how special Hanukkah is with his community, Bo goes overboard with decorations for Hanukkah, including a gigantic dreidel balloon that flies off in the wind and causes mild destruction across town. In the end, Bo learns that Hanukkah is special for reasons other than flashing lights and balloons—and that people choose different ways to celebrate the holidays.
4. Even Stevens – “Heck of a Hanukkah” (Season 1, Episode 15)
In this episode of the Disney Channel classic Even Stevens, troublemaker Louis Stevens can’t wait to open presents and searches for the Hanukkah gifts his parents have hidden somewhere in the house. When he ultimately finds them and ruins the family gift exchange for everyone, he ends up grounded for the entirety of Hanukkah. In an homage to 1946’s It’s a Wonderful Life, the ghost of Louis’ great-great-great-great-grandmother, Bubbe Rose, appears to show him what his family would be like if he had never been born.
5. Full Court Miracle
Based on the true story of the University of Virginia Cavaliers basketball star Lamont Carr, this 2003 Disney Channel Original Movie follows a Jewish basketball team in Philadelphia who need a new coach. Set during Hanukkah, this group of high school athletes find college student Lamont Carr and convince him to be their basketball coach. When the power goes out during the team’s final championship game, they make an agreement with their opponents that whoever has the most points when the generator runs out will win. In a true Hanukkah twist, the generator goes out and our heroes are losing, but the power miraculously comes back on and allows them to score the winning basket.
In this episode of Disney Junior’s Puppy Dog Pals, Bingo and Rolly go on a mission to help their owner, Bob, make latkes for their neighbor Chloe’s Hanukkah party! While on the hunt for eggs and potatoes, the pups sing a song about the “festival of lights” and how delicious latkes are. Bob makes enough latkes for everyone at Chloe’s party and Bingo and Rolly even get to attend, participating in the lighting of the Chanukiah when they spot the first star in the night sky.
Pepper Ann is another Disney character who celebrates both Hanukkah and Christmas, and in this holiday episode she mistakenly believes that her parents want her to choose only one holiday to celebrate. She begins to make a list of what she loves most about each holiday to help her decide. In the end, she tells her parents that she loves Hanukkah and Christmas, and that choosing between them would be like choosing between her parents themselves! Of course, it was all a misunderstanding, and her parents were never asking her to choose between the two holidays. Together with her family, Pepper Ann has a great holiday season celebrating both Hanukkah and Christmas.
8. Elena of Avalor – “Festival of Lights” (Season 3, Episode 18)
When Princess Rebecca of Galonia and her grandmother shipwreck on the shores of Avalor, it is up to Elena and her family to give them the best Hanukkah celebration possible! Rebecca and her family teach Elena all about Hanukkah, as well as some and Yiddish words like “nosh” (to have a snack) and “mitzvah” (a good deed). When Rebecca gets caught up in making their Hanukkah party absolutely perfect, it’s her bubbe (grandmother) who reminds her that Hanukkah is about carrying on even through the toughest challenges and making the most of what you have.