In my family, we grew up watching the Christmas specials: Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and all the rest. It was a tradition – we’d get half of a cup of (non-alcoholic) egg nog and settle in.
While there’s something sweetly nostalgic about re-watching those childhood favourites, sometimes they just don’t cut it with an (almost all) adult audience. So as we have grown, so too has our Christmas list to include what some might call ‘alterna-Christmas’, or movies that classify as a Christmas film solely because Christmas appears, however tangentially, in the movie. Looking for something seasonal to watch that won’t set your sweet tooth aflame? Check these out:
The Obvious Choice:
Obvious, yes, but that doesn’t mean wrong. For black humour and shock laughs, you just can’t go past Bad Santa. Maybe not for watching with Grandma. Unless your Grandma is really cool, in which case, definitely watch it with Grandma.
The Shane Black Trio:
Director Shane Black loves himself a little Christmas action (not to be confused with Christmas action, if you know what I’m saying) and these are three classics that will only enhance your seasonal celebrations. My personal favourite is Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, which features Robert Downey Jr and Val Kilmer in one of the best bro-mances of cinematic history.
The Classic Action Choice
A Christmas classic – bonus, Die Hard 2 also takes place at Christmas. Yippee-Kay-Yay, Christmas celebrators.
The Christmas Comedy
The culmination of this double-fish-out-of-water classic comedy happens at Christmas, and that, folks, makes it an alternative (hilarious) Christmas choice.
The Horror, the Horror choice
It is crucial that you get the original Canadian 1970s version of this story, not the terrible 1990s remake. A spin on the whole ‘the caller is in the house!’ urban legend, this is sure to put a bit of spook into your spirit. And, for those who like their horror a little gore-friendly, check out this horror romp about a serial killing Santa.
The Crowd PleaserA great choice for the whole family, with Leo playing a master con artist and Tom Hanks as the cop chasing him. Bonus side game of ‘spot the actress before she was famous’.
The Don’t Feed Them After Midnight ChoiceAlso known as the ‘show this to your kids early, or they’ll never really get it’ Christmas movie.
The No, Seriously, this is a great movie and deserves some recognition choice
Based on the true story of the Christmas truce during World War I, Joyeux Noel (Merry Christmas) is a beautiful film that will not only stay with you for a long time, but will also raise the tone of your celebration, allowing you and yours to smugly refer to the subtitled film you saw over the holidays.
The Why Can’t I Quit You Choice
It was a childhood favourite, and it endures through adulthood. The once choice that is truly for the whole family, and the one film that represents Christmas for me.
(Got a choice? We’re always looking for something to add to the list!)