10 Holiday Movies That Will Make You Feel Better About Your Crazy Family (PHOTOS)

Michele Zipp | Nov 27, 2015 Movies

the family stone

Thanksgiving means turkey, stuffing, and having to endure the insanity of your dysfunctional family. But if you need something to make you feel a little more normal, look no further than these movies that depict the ultimate in family dysfunction.

Some are comedies complete with madcap adventures and an RV parked on your front lawn with your long-lost unkempt relatives living in it. Others are a bit darker with wife swapping and infidelities. But all show the often challenged moments we have in our families ... and how somehow we manage to get through it ... even forgive.

And all the movies are focused around the holidays, which can make your own turkey day a little more awkward or a whole lot better seeing how other scenarios (even though fictional) can be a lot worse. After watching these films, you'll want to hug your crazy cousin and love your wacky parents even more.


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  • "Home for the Holidays"


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    In this Jodie Foster directed film, Home for the Holidays stars Holly Hunter, a single mom named Claudia who just lost her job. Claudia wants to gather with the family for Thanksgiving, but her teenage daughter (played by Claire Danes) would rather stay home "alone" so she can lose her virginity to her boyfriend. Yikes. When Claudia arrives to see her family, more insanity ensues and most tiptoe around the fact that Claudia's brother (played by Robert Downey Jr.) is gay. His boyfriend is played by the  guy always in dysfunctional family movies, Dylan McDermott. Spoiler: The turkey gets destroyed.

  • National Lampoon's "Christmas Vacation"


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    If your family is anything like the Griswolds then I am so sorry! Let's be real, though -- we all have a little Griswold in us. Christmas Vacation gives us all the funny that is Chevy Chase wrapped up in a holiday flick complete with unplanned guests who arrive unkempt and in a camper parked on the front lawn, a cat gets electrocuted in the holiday lights, and plenty of awkward interactions with estranged family members.

  • "Pieces of April"


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    Released in 2003, Pieces of April stars Katie Holmes as April Burns -- an artsy type who lives in a small, crappy apartment in NYC yet tries to maintain some sense of family tradition and invites the relatives over for Thanksgiving dinner. April has a strained relationship with her mom Joy played by Patricia Clarkson, but she's battling cancer and hopes to reconnect before it's too late -- though her mom is often condescending. April's dad, sister, brother, a grandma suffering from Alzheimer's, and a boyfriend who mysteriously disappears complete the cast ... as well as a non-functioning oven.  

  • "Home Alone"


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    If you need a movie to make you feel like you a good mom, watch Home Alone and compare yourself to this mom played by Catherine O'Hara. She makes her 8-year-old sleep in the attic on the night before the family was set to leave for Paris for a holiday vacation. Then she forgets him up there and leaves for France without him. That 8-year-old is Kevin McCallister (played by Macaulay Culkin), who ends up having to deal with bad guys (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) who are trying to rob the house. Hey, everyone makes mistakes ... even moms.

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  • "A Christmas Story"


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    Ralphie! I adore A Christmas Story and so does my very own dysfunctional family. It's a bit of a mad cap adventure of the days leading up to Christmas full of angry dad moments, mom lying to dad for the sake of the kids, brothers fighting, bullies at school, BB guns, and a fragile leg lamp. Oh and Christmas dinner at a Chinese restaurant because the neighbor's dog ate their turkey. Gosh, I love a good dysfunction!

  • "This Christmas"


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    The holidays are time for family and to let all your secrets out of the closet -- or try to keep them in, as seen in the movie This Christmas. The matriarch of the family, Ma'Dere Whitfield (played by Loretta Devine) lives with her youngest son Michael (singer Chris Brown) and her long-term boyfriend but every year she has the BF move out just before the family arrives so the kids don't know -- but they know. There are loan sharks, catfights, a Marine on AWOL, a whole bunch of lies, but a whole lot of love.

  • "The Family Stone"


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    Imagine being in a family where a brother brings home his uptight girlfriend only to have her fall in love with his brother behind his back. But don't worry because that brother falls in love with his uptight girlfriend's sister. This is only one small part of the incredible dysfunction that is The Family Stone, which stars Sarah Jessica Parker, Dermot Mulroney, and a whole cast of great actors.

  • "The Ice Storm"


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    Warning: This movie is not a comedy -- The Ice Storm is a dark and sad look at what happens when a family breaks down. Set over a Thanksgiving break, two families who are neighbors become entangled in affairs. The children are also experimenting in their own ways and when one dies in a tragic accident, they are all forced to face their situation.

  • "Four Christmases"


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    Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon star in this movie about a couple who never want to get married because of what they saw in their own dysfunctional families growing up. But on Christmas, and even though they don't want to go, they embark on a journey to visits all four of their divorced family's homes. Something changes in them after all the visits -- the dysfunction is still there, but they also comes to see all the love as well.

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  • "Hannah and Her Sisters"


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    Three sisters played by Mia Farrow, Barbara Hershey, and Dianne Wiest end up have their love lives intertwined -- and we see this all transpire over three Thanksgivings. There is infidelity, betrayal, addiction, and forgiveness. 


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