JK, but now that you’re here…December 25, 2022
I’m just going to say this right off the bat: I’m really not the best one to consult about Christmas movies, considering the scene of destruction it leaves in our household every year.
Even though neither of us are really big on the whole Christmas thing in and of itself, it goes without saying that my side hardly ever wins.
We have… how shall I say… conflicting views about Christmas movies.
Unconventional Christmas movies
On the one side, we have the person who loves your traditional Christmas movie – with a dash of romance and nostalgia thrown in for good measure.
On the other end of the spectrum is I, the one who prefers a slightly different kind of Christmas movie…
The Shining, Die Hard, Black Christmas, Edward Scissorhands, Lethal Weapon, American Psycho, The Long Kiss Goodnight. These are my Christmas movies.
And no, I won’t indulge in any debates about whether Die Hard really can be classified as a Christmas movie.
I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life.
Meanwhile, in the other corner, we have Player Two with It’s a Wonderful Life, Love Actually, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
Although I have to add: There are two movies on Player 2’s Christmas list I have no objections to. But without further ado, here’s what movie-watching is like in our household.
My Christmas movie playlist
- The Shining
- Die Hard
- Lethal Weapon
- American Psycho
- The Long Kiss Goodnight
- Black Christmas
The Shining is a Christmas movie, and we have proof.
Even though it’s widely recognised as a horror film, it follows a family who must work together over Christmas if they want to survive. What is more Christmassy than that?!
Moreover, The Shining is set against a snowy, winter backdrop, it has traditional Christmas sweaters and props, and includes all the important bits that make other Christmas movies work: A frustrated father, disobedient children, and lots of alcohol.
New York City police officer John McClane tries to save his estranged wife and several others taken hostage by terrorists during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles.
Not only does it happen on the Big C-day itself, other Christmassy elements include the festive season soundtrack, featuring Winter Wonderland, Let it Snow!, Christmas in Hollis, and Ode to Joy.
It snows at the end of the movie, there are lots of presents and gifts involved and Santa Clause even makes an appearance. I rest my case. No one can argue with those facts.
Yippee ki-yay, motherf****r.
Some might argue that Joe Dante’s is best suited for Halloween, but I beg to differ. It’s not only a Christmas, it’s one of the most important Xmas movies ever made.
Just like Die Hard and The Shining, this one is set at Christmas, it has the soundtrack, the decorations and the spirit of gift-giving.
And to top it all off, the Gremlins even sing Christmas carols. Not to mention the adorable little critters glow green and red when they come out of the cocoons.
Writer Shane Black’s iconic Lethal Weapon stars Danny Clover (who is “too old for this sh*t) and Mel Gibson as mismatched, newly-paired LAPD officers investigating a mysterious death. How is this a Christmas movie, I hear you ask?
It’s very realistic in portraying how some people struggle to deal with the festive season. We can’t all be cheery and airy all the time, and plenty of people struggle with depression over the holidays.
Lethal Weapon captures the despair perfectly. Moreover, Gibson’s character finds a true family and a true friend. Beat that, McClane.
Christian Bale shines in the chilling, satiric adaption which follows a wealthy New York City investment banking executive, Patrick Bateman, who hides his alternate psychopathic ego from his co-workers.
Not only is there a Christmas party scene, but the colour red is also very prominent throughout the film.
Again, facts. You can’t argue.
The Long Kiss Goodnight
One of my favourite childhood film gems – The Long Kiss Goodnight stars Samuel L Jackson and Geen Davis as a pair of ‘shoot-em-up characters fighting for survival.
It is set at Christmas time and highlights the importance of family, and our memories of them.
It also features several popular festive season songs and the characters engage in a variety of festive season activities. It even starts off with a Christmas party.
Bob Clark’s 1975 film is one of those darker, underappreciated Christmas movies – a chilly thriller about a group of sorority sisters who are stalked and preyed upon by a psycho-killer.
It features a Christmassy soundtrack and was even one of Elvis Presley’s and Steve Martin’s favourite Christmas films.
Player Two’s Christmas movie list
- It’s a Wonderful Life
- Love Actually
- National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas
- Trading Places
- The Nightmare Before Christmas
- A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas
It’s a Wonderful Life
A classic holiday favourite. Frank Capra’s film, an angel is sent from Heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed.
George Bailey has spent his entire life giving to the people of Bedford Falls. But on Christmas Eve, his business loses $8,000 and George’s troubles begin.
Love Actually follows the lives of eight very different couples in dealing with their love lives in various loosely interrelated tales all set during a frantic month before Christmas.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
In this 1989 classic, the Griswold family’s plans for a big family Christmas predictably turn into a big disaster.
Clark, portrayed by Chevy Chase, is really into Christmas and promises to make it a good one until he turns everything completely around.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
The Grinch, famously portrayed by Jm Carey, lives in solitude just outside Whoville. He hates the townsfolk and despises Christmas.
But six-year-old Cindy Lou believes in the festival’s spirit and sets out to reform him.
Never considered this as a Christmas movie but was pleasantly surprised. Trading Places follows Eddie Murphy (Billy Ray Valentine) and Dan Aykroyd (Winthorpe) as their lives are turned upside-down.
Winthorpe is framed as a criminal drug dealer and fired from his job while Billy Ray Valentine is provided all the benefits of Winthorpe’s former life.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
This is one of my faves, too. Jack Skellington, king of Halloween Town, discovers Christmas Town, but his attempts to bring Christmas to his home cause confusion.
It is based on the story created by Tim Burton (as only Burton can do) and stars Chris Sarandon ad Skellington and Catherine O’Hara as his beloved Sally.
A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas
Featuring one of my favourite actors, John Cho, A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas reunites stoner buds Harold Lee and Kumar Patel for a holiday disaster.
Six years after their Guantanamo Bay adventure, the duo cause a holiday fracas by inadvertently burning down Harold’s father-in-law’s prize Christmas tree.