Despite not aging well, Sam Mendes’s American Beauty was a
We all know about It’s A Wonderful Life, and we are all beaten over the head by
A Christmas Story marathons on TV during the holiday season. Yes Christmas
Vacation is a must-watch, but what about when that film is over and it’s still too cold
to go outside? There are plenty of alternative choices when it comes to watching
Sometimes, just a hint of Christmas – a background filled with lights and trees and
snow – in a film is enough to get people in the mood for eggnog and chestnuts.
Here is a list of seven great “non traditional” Christmas movies you might want to
check out in lieu of White Christmas for the four-hundredth time.
7. Die Hard 2 – The sheer implausibility of this sequel and the fact that it manages
to still work earns it a spot on this list. After thwarting terrorists in Los Angeles on
Christmas Eve, John McClane (Bruce Willis) has to turn right around a few years
later and do the same thing again! Absurd. But this sequel manages to hold is own
against the original, and it also adds a little snowfall and chillier temperatures to
drive home that Holiday feel.
6. Eyes Wide Shut – This might not be the kind of Christmas movie you gather the
family around to watch, unless your family is into deviant sexual misadventures
of the super wealthy. As a pure film, this underappreciated Stanley Kubrick
masterwork is a chilling, moody, sexually-charged drama is one of the better on
the list. But, as Christmas entertainment, perhaps it should stay safely away from
5. Batman Returns – This sequel to Tim Burton’s 1989 classic is often overlooked
in comparison, but Burton’s follow up is a moody and more gotchi approach to the
character and the world itself. The snow and the Christmas vibe is juxtaposed to the
darkness of Batman, Catwoman, and The Penguin, and the German Expressionistic
skyline of Gotham adds a sinister undertone to the silly season colors and lights in
4. The Ref – Oddly enough, The Ref was released in the Spring of 1994 despite being
entirely focused on Christmas. This underrated comedy has some great lines and
some wonderful setups. Denis Leary plays a cat burglar who has to hide out with a
family during Christmas, but it just so happens the husband and wife (Kevin Spacey
and Judy Davis) are on the verge of divorce and fervently hate each other.
3. Gremlins – Most people forget Gremlins is surrounded by Christmas until they
start watching it again. After all, Gizmo is a Christmas present before he gets water
spilled on him and goes haywire, spawning the evil little critters who wreak havoc.
2. Lethal Weapon – One of the more interesting coincidences about the two of
the most successful action franchises in film history is that they both started with
a Christmas-based movie; Lethal Weapon is just not as popularly remembered as
such. As Riggs (Mel Gibson) calls it, the “silly season” is all over Richard Donner’s
classic buddy cop movie.
1. Die Hard – A list of non-traditional Christmas movies is not complete without
Die Hard bookends. This original 1988 classic is almost a perfect action film, and the
Christmas theme in this film runs urgently through almost very scene, whereas it’s
merely background noise in the sequel. Not to mention the fact that John McClane
might not have been able to save his wife had it not been for some Christmas