Pieces of April
What: Thanksgiving Day football alternative.
Why: It's a holiday favorite for the whole family--sympathetic boho daughter trying to make turkey happen despite her tiny Lower East Side apartment, broken stove and disapproving parents; sympathetic, acerbic mom (who also happens to have cancer); sympathetic, blustery dad; and the black boyfriend, cranky neighbor and assorted relatives who surround them. It's hard to go wrong with Oliver Platt, Patricia Clarkson in her Oscar-nominated performance, an atypically curmudgeonly Sean Hayes and memories of Katie Holmes when she was just another ditsy ingenue.
What: Post-Thanksgiving road comedy.
Why: Tired of your own family? Hit the road with the Malones, crammed into a station wagon on their way from Long Island to Manhattan just after Thanksgiving. Shot in 16 days, this 1996 comedy from Superbad's Greg Mottola sends Eliza and her family to confront her husband about a mysterious love letter. The all-star indie cast--Hope Davis, Parker Posey, Liev Schreiber, Stanley Tucci and Anne Meara, among others--feels like a real family: They're neither sentimentally loving nor melodramatically loathing, knowing each other well enough not to even think about it.
Curb Your Enthusiasm, Season Six
On Demand: HBO
What: Post-Thanksgiving five-hour veg-out.
Why: When you're ready to sack out on the sofa Sunday afternoon, give thanks for this season's reanimation of Larry David. "I'm an improver," he says in the last episode, and he's sure proving it. He ends the season improbably smiling, a big change from the knee-jerk misanthropy of the season before. Forced to change--his wife moves out, but not before moving in "the Blacks," a family of hurricane refugees--Larry gives us back some of the charm that made us like him in the first place, in Seinfeld-worthy episodes like "The N Word" and the gerbilicious finale.