All hail the holidays, that time of year when we overeat, overspend and over-stress about family get-togethers. Even the sanest of clans have their share of issues, especially when everyone is crowded into one house and the booze comes out.

Not your family, of course. We're talking about those crazy, dysfunctional units that always turn up in the movies -- the ones where every meal devolves into a disaster of epic proportions. Before you visit your loved ones for those joyous celebrations, take a moment to ponder how lucky you are that you don't belong to the following nutty families, as Moviefone counts down 12 of the worst.

12. The Bakers in 'Sixteen Candles' (1984)
Forgetting Sam's 16th birthday is bad enough, but that's just one insult in a long series of embarrassments she suffers at the hands of her family. One grandma saddles her with an exchange student as her date for a dance; the other comments, "Your breasts came in!" and then feels her up (argh!); and big sis gets totally trashed before walking down the aisle.

11. The Jenkins in 'Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins' (2008)
Successful talk show host Roscoe (Martin Lawrence) dreads returning home for his parents' 50th anniversary, and when we meet his quarrelsome clan, we find out why: There's his man-hungry sister and competitive cousins. The whole visit seems designed to humiliate Roscoe in front of his hot new fiancée, but, sometimes, it turns out, mom and dad know really do know best. (If only they had a more tactful way of telling you!)

10. The Griswolds in 'National Lampoon's Vacation' (1983)
Nothing like having the family all crammed in one car for hours on end to drive each other nuts: Dad's screaming and cursing, everyone else just wants to go home and heaven help any family member who has the bad grace to die at an inconvenient time! This Family Truckster ain't stoppin' for no one.

9. The Klumps in 'The Nutty Professor' (1996)
No one taught the Klumps table manners: Belching is encouraged and don't get granny started on what Mike Douglas does to her nether regions! And good luck sticking to your diet: The family has no respect for your efforts to get thin and the not-so-subtle insult that slimming down poses to them. Food is love, yes, but also a whole heaping plateful of guilt.

8. The Fockers in 'Meet the Fockers' (2004)
What's more embarrassing for Greg Focker (Ben Stiller): Meeting his fiancée's parents, or having them meet his wacky, bohemian folks? After so much pained grimacing, our faces are kind of stuck like this. Guess massage-happy mom (Barbra Streisand) never learned about inappropriate touching!

7. The Heslops in 'Muriel's Wedding' (1994)
Dad's a failed political candidate, Mum's always staring off into space and the kids, well, as Dad says, "Useless, the lot of you." Nice of him to say it over dinner, while out at a restaurant with potential clients -- there's nothing like shaming your offspring in front of the whole town. No wonder Muriel (Toni Collette) leaves home and changes her name, partly to cover her trail, since she drained her parents' bank account in order to make her escape.

6. The Tenenbaums in 'The Royal Tenenbaums' (2001)
Eccentric doesn't begin to describe the Tenenbaums: They're elegantly macabre in their upper-class depression and angst, like characters drawn by Edward Gorey. Dying patriarch Royal Tenenbaum (Gene Hackman) tries to reconnect with his children before the end, but he always was a lousy father, one who doesn't even know his daughter's middle name. There's near-incest and a suicide attempt, proving that money, genius and looks are no guarantee of happiness.

5. The Hoovers in 'Little Miss Sunshine' (2006)
How's this for a dysfunctional checklist: Pageant-obsessed youngest daughter, teenage son who's taken a vow of silence, and an uncle who tried to kill himself over a failed love affair with a student. And let's not forget grandpa (Oscar winner Alan Arkin), who teaches his granddaughter a strip club number for her pageant routine! And hey, do these guys know the Griswolds? Because their after-care for departed loves ones is awfully similar.

4. The Burnhams and the Fitts in 'American Beauty' (1999)
While we can't deny that Lester and Carolyn Burnham are perhaps cinema's most famously messed-up suburban couple (for starters, blackmail, adultery, perving on your daughter's friends), let's not forget their next-door neighbors, the creepy Fitts: Dad collects Nazi dinnerware, Mom is nearly catatonic and the son is a Peeping Tom with a video camera. It's almost a race to see who'll commit murder first.

3. The Brewsters in 'Arsenic and Old Lace' (1944)
Few people have been as happy to find out that they're adopted as Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant). But consider his family: A pair of dotty aunts whose hobby is poisoning guests with elderberry wine, a cousin who thinks he's Teddy Roosevelt and is digging the Panama Canal in the basement, and a psychotic murderer of a brother. Definitely not a family you want to share Thanksgiving dinner with.

2. The Burroughs in 'Running With Scissors' (2006)
It's bad enough that little Augusten's dad is an alcoholic and his mom is convinced she's going to be a famous poet one day, but when his Mom has a nervous breakdown, he's packed off to live with his possibly even crazier shrink and his bizarre clan, in this film directed by 'Glee' creator Ryan Murphy and based on the real Augusten's own memoir.

1. The Friedmans in 'Capturing the Friedmans' (2003)
As they ham it up in their home movies, the Friedmans are like any perfectly ordinary family. But if your father and youngest brother were accused of child molestation, would you keep the cameras rolling on your family's darkest hours? Although both Friedmans go to jail, you're never entirely sure what happens in this Oscar-nominated documentary; one thing is certain, you can't look away, or stop thinking about the Friedmans afterward.

categories Features