Alright my little Christmas Elves…. I’ve emerged with a list. It is a list of great importance to me, for if you know me, you know that I am THE BIGGEST fan of Christmas. I get my Christmas tree, fresh, immediately after Thanksgiving. I love Christmas advertising in October. I listen to Christmas music (my own specially created mix) every single day of December. I make cookies. I decorate the hell out of my house and refer to it as ‘Christmas Town’. I am that guy, and therefore, this list goes to 11! Most go to 10, but this is one more in’ it?
Compiling a list of my favorite Christmas movies is no small task, because, lets face it, I love them all. Though I strongly encourage you to spend time watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Frosty the Snowman, I’ve decided to go with half of a mostly ‘non-traditional’ list. About half of these are movies that, for the most part, you might otherwise overlook at Christmas time. Though, lets be serious people, there are some Christmas movies that cannot be left off of any self-respecting Christmas Movie list… so they get a little more traditional as you get down to number 1. Watch them in order for a festive Christmas countdown!!!
Watch them all. You have 3 days. GO!
When I think Christmas movies, honest to all the gods, I think Gremlins. It is chalk full of awesome Christmas scenes, lights, snow, the best fight scene over Do You Hear What I Hear ever, and one of the most adorable little good guys ever created. If you haven’t seen this one in a while, or at all, bring it out. ‘Tis the season for mayhem!
10. Die Hard
Yippee Ki Yay and Ho Ho Ho! There’s no better setting for saving a building full of people than CHRISTMAS! This is a great, iconic, Christmas action movie. And Die Hard isn’t just for Christmas. It is one of the best action movies ever made, hands down. Also see Die Hard 2. Cause it’s Christmas AGAIN, Motherf*&^@rs!!
9. L.A. Confidential
It’s easy to forget that this star-studded noir takes place during Christmas, but it does, Bub. Great movie, and just the kind of murder and mystery to get you in the mood for giving… some joker the business.
8. Better Off Dead
Yes, yes and yes. I watch this movie every Christmas. It’s amazing and hilarious, ultimately quotable, one of my favorites from childhood and it totally holds up! This is John Cusack at his most Cusack-y. He’s just a droopy, heart sick little Lloyd Dobbler puppy at Christmas. See it again for the first time.
This gem from Terry Gilliam is, in my opinion, one of the greatest comedies of all time. It is bizarre and dark and weird and awesome and sort of Christmasy (if you’re watching the European release, not so Christmasy in the American version). Totally worth a watch around this or any time of year. If you haven’t seen it, regardless of the season… this is a movie you should see before you die. And life is short.
6. Edward Scissorhands
Now the obvious Christmas choice from Tim Burton is A Nightmare Before Christmas, which I will mark here as 4.A because it’s an amazing Christmas story, and definitely a holiday season must see, starting at Halloween. If you’re one of those ‘I don’t watch cartoons’ people…. get over yourself and put some animated joy in your life, dummy.
But if I’m going to pick a Burton film to make my top Christmas movies, it has to be Edward Scissorhands. It’s not as Christmasy a Christmas story, but it is set at Christmas and really has the Christmas spirit, and the consequences of ignoring that spirit at it’s mechanical heart. It’s one of my favorites. I watch it every year.
5. Trading Places
You get so much movie out of Trading Places! Hilarious performances out of Dan Akroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis and Eddie Murphy, Christmas time cheer and manipulation, great writing, life swapping and some serious kumuppins! One of the very funniest Christmas classics.
4. Christmas Vacation
Let’s stay on the comedy tip and get a little more Christmas for Christmas’ sake. Christmas Vacation, the funniest of the Vacation movies, in my opinion, is a must see every holiday season. This is particularly true for those of us that can relate to and revel in the chaos and terror that spending time with family can bring. The Griswolds deliver great joy and insanity, and at least your family isn’t THAT bad.
3. A Christmas Story
Now we are getting into serious must-haves. I don’t care if the Christmas Story is on every damn Christmas movie list until the end of time, it belongs on every single one of them. It’s a little americana, a little nostalgia, and a big heaping dose of hilarious truth. You need this movie.
There are two movies I watch every single Christmas Eve without fail. They are my number 2 and number 1 picks. Scrooged doesn’t make a lot of lists for some reason, but it should. A hilarious retelling of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol with comedy greats Bill Murray, Carol Kane, and Bobcat Goldthwait, Scrooged has comedy and timing, christmas spirit, humbug f*&@ck you’s and lots and lots of heart. See it and put a little love in your heart.
1. It’s a Wonderful Life
I mean come on. I cannot, in good conscience, leave this movie out. There is a reason your boyfriend, your dad, your grandma really want you to sit down and watch this movie with them. It is truly the greatest Christmas story ever told. Every year, I watch It’s a Wonderful Life late at night on Christmas Eve. Every year I cry like a baby. Every year I am SHOCKED to hear that so many people have never seen it. Yes, it is old. Yes, it is in black and white. Yes, it is a cliche. Yes. But it’s the best damn old, black and white, beautiful, amazing cliche you’ve ever seen in your life!! In addition to that, it’s funny and nuanced and edgier than you expect in a lot of ways. There’s drunkenness, and pre-marital nudity, and tragedy and rude behavior. Give it a chance. Watch it with someone you love. It will change you somewhere deep inside. And if you don’t fall in love with Jimmy Stewart after watching this movie, even in a brotherly sense, then you are not a human being.
Merry Christmas everybody! Merry Christmas Bedford Falls! Merry Christmas!
Actor, Improviser, Comic.
I like to like things and talk about them.
I like to pretend.
I like to make things.
I like to write things down.
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