Top Dysfunctional Family Movies to Prepare for Your Holidays

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Gene Hackman
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Gene Hackman

While Thanksgiving is a time of relaxation and celebration, it is also one of the most stressful times of the year for many people. It is one of the two times of the year people are forced to confront their families and spend an entire day with them. While this is wonderful for many families, there are many more dysfunctional families who make this a living hell for many hapless individuals.

For anyone who dreads visiting their dysfunctional families during the holidays, here are some movies to prove that a family could be so much worse.

"Home for the Holidays"

Jodie Foster directs "Home for the Holidays," a movie about a single mother who heads home for Thanksgiving after being fired from her job in an art museum. Holly Hunter stars as Claudia, who finds out before she heads home for the holidays that her daughter intends to lose her virginity. Plus, she has to contend with an explosive situation dealing with her off-the-wall family.

Her uptight sister arrives with her husband and two brat children while her homosexual brother shows up with his new friend Leo, whom he brought to introduce to Claudia. Nothing seems to go right and Claudia spends the entire Thanksgiving arguing with her family until it mercifully comes to an end when the holiday finally concludes.

"The Royal Tenenbaums"

The Tenenbaum family is the portrait of dysfunctional. Gene Hackman portrays Royal, the patriarch of the family who was directly responsible for his family's dysfunction. His children are all prodigies he pushed to the limit until they all cracked. Luke Wilson is Richie, a tennis prodigy; Ben Stiller is Chas, a mathematics genius; and Gwyneth Paltrow is the adopted Margot, who received a grant for a play she wrote as a child.

The kids all grew up with major problems. Richie fell in love with his sister and ended up having a nervous breakdown before running away to travel the world. Margot married a neurologist from whom she hides her true feelings. Chas has two kids of his own and his neuroses force him to shelter them from everything. The movie picks up when Royal wants to get his family back together and fakes a terminal disease to force reconciliation. "The Royal Tenenbaums" is the height of dysfunctional families.

"The Family Stone"

One thing that might be worse than spending time with your own family members during the holidays is spending it with your loved one's dysfunctional family. In "The Family Stone," Sarah Jessica Parker plays Meredith, a woman who travels with her boyfriend to his family's holiday and learns that none of them really like her. She is then stuck in a living hell, as everything she does to win them over backfires on her in the worst ways possible.

Parker is the weak link in this movie. The parents, played by Diane Keaton and Craig T. Nelson, are spectacular as a couple trying to hold this family together. Dermot Mulroney and Luke Wilson are great as brothers who find themselves involved in a triangle with Meredith, while Claire Danes is solid as Meredith's sister who is thrown into the middle of the crisis when things grow out of control. The movie displays dysfunction but remains a sweet and endearing holiday family movie as well.

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