It’s that time of the year again where we find ourselves amidst jingle bells and good cheer and Christmas movies! Now if you find that most Christmas films are too saccharine for your Scrooge-like taste, fear not for we have compiled a list that covers all, from sweet rom-coms to dark sci-fis!
Elf (2003) – Jon Favreau’s simple and sweet-natured Yuletide must-see is disarmingly funny and benefits largely from Will Ferrell’s truly comic turn as its titular star. While this may not yet be a full-scale Christmas classic, it surely is something families and children can enjoy for Christmases to come.
Joyeux Noel (2005) – This fictionalized narrative of the World War I Christmas truce of December 1914, shown through the eyes of French, Scottish and German soldiers, is a visual delight. Although the film does have its share of bloodshed, the interlude from carnage and the optimism of momentary peace were still the highlights.
Die Hard (1988) – You’d think that a film about a lone cop trapped in a building filled with terrorists is bad fodder for a Christmas movie but you’d be wrong because Die Hard is the best and John McClane (Bruce Willis) has only one thing to say to detractors: “Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker”!
4. Asian Art House
2046 (2004) – A reminder to everyone out there that Christmas isn’t a season of joy and brightness for everyone because there are those who stay alone in derelict rooms trying to fend off loneliness and who seek companionship while everyone around them is basking in the festivities that the season brings.
Love Actually (2003) – Love Actually has 10 stories that go from the sweet, to the sad, to the funny, to the absurdly silly. If you want proper British holiday schmaltz, this is the movie for you. Just don’t go looking for love advice from this film. Ha.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) – Harry Potter movies always have that Christmasy feel, don’t you think? You can spend Christmas at The Burrows with The Weasleys (and get a nice Molly Weasley-knitted sweater), have a Christmas feast in The Great Hall, or have a snowball fight on Hogwarts grounds. Christmas is every much a tradition in the wizarding world as it is in our very own muggle world.
Gremlins (1984) – If you want to be scared but not really, that is if ye is chicken of heart, this is the movie for you. There’s gore and nasty creatures and good ol’ cheap thrills. Watch the Gremlins tear up the sleepy, well-decorated small town of Kingston Falls because this is what happens if you don’t follow The Rules.
Rent (2005) – An adaptation of the Broadway musical of the same title, this film is mostly about a group of friends and their struggle with drugs, sexuality, AIDS and yes, paying their rent. Starting on Christmas Eve of 1989 and ending on Christmas Eve of the following year, its story of love and hope plus songs like Seasons of Love and No Day But Today really inspires and makes you glad to be alive.
Tangerine (2015) – With its first line “Merry Christmas Eve, bitch!”, Tangerine takes us to a world of transgenders in Tinseltown, LA. With all the drama and melancholy encountered by the characters, we’re bound to ask, “It’s Christmas Eve, where’s the spirit?” But in the end, it all boils down to a moving story of friendship and a reminder that everyone deserves compassion and respect.
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966) – While Ron Howards live-action rendition is not too shabby, the 1966 is the ultimate classic. With Chuck Jones’ signature visual comedy and Boris Karloff’s exceptional narration, this animated TV short will make your heart grow three times bigger.
11. Science Fiction
Brazil (1985) – Terry Gilliam’s Orwellian sci-fi masterpiece is a haunting and humorous piece that comments not only on bureaucracy but excessive consumerism during the holidays. Perfect for reminding us that it’s not always about the presents.
12. Modern Retelling
Scrooged (1988) – Instead of an old miser in his dressing gown, we get dapper TV executive Bill Murray. He might not say “bah, humbug”, but he is about as out of touch with the Christmas spirit as old Ebenezer. Murray has dealt with ghosts but not like the three that visits him this time around.
That’s all folks! A Very Merry Christmas to one and all!