It’s that time of year again, where we deck the halls, try to be merry and hope to catch that special someone under the mistletoe (although I have never actually seen mistletoe so I am starting to think it’s an urban myth). Anyway last year I counted down my favourite Christmas television episodes and specials, this year I thought why not give the feature films a go. This list is hardly original and I highly doubt anyone will be shocked by the films that made the cut but I wanted to spread some holiday cheer so this is happening and you will like it or you will be on my naughty list (which is not nearly as fun as it sounds).
10. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)
This is a Finnish film about a group of reindeer herders whose lives are turned upside down when a scientist turns up to dig up… well something that should probably say buried because it turns out that most people just don’t live up to Santa’s exacting standards of what is naughty and what is nice. Seriously though this movie has a killer Santa Claus, what more could you possibly want from a Christmas movie? I do happen to have a fetish for excessively gory monster movies though so this film might not be for everyone but if you do like trashy horror movies then get on this one immediately.
9. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
I think one of my fondest memories of Christmas as a child has to be watching this film; it was on TV every year without fail. I’ve seen it so many times that I know it like the back of my hand. It’s actually strange that I love this movie so much considering my deep hatred of Charles Dickens but somehow my favourite Muppet’s manage to make this story bearable. Considering the Muppet’s recent revamp I like to think that whole new generation are about to be introduced to The Muppet’s Christmas Carol this Christmas. As long as they don’t use it as a gateway film into the annoyingly long winded works of Dickens then I think it’s going to be a good Christmas for those lucky kids.
8. Home Alone (1990)
Sure the storyline is overly simple and it relies a little too heavily on slapstick humour but this film still makes me laugh no matter how many times I watch it. It’s got Macaulay Culkin for starters (my childhood crush) and it also has one of the most memorable movies moments ever – try to tell me you haven’t done the after shave scene in the mirror at least once. This movie is fun for the whole family and of course it has a message of love, family and appreciating what you have before it’s gone. It also taught me that a child is actually the best house sitter you can have if you choose to go away at this time of year – although when you get back the house might be a crime scene.
7. Batman Returns (1992)
Of all the Tim Burton films I could have picked for this list, I’m not sure many people would have bet on Batman Returns (it doesn’t even have Johnny Depp for a start). Sure it’s not the best Batman movie but it’s my favourite because it’s got Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman and I’m sorry Anne Hathaway as much as I love you, you just didn’t come close. It’s also got all the usual Burton flair and some fab one-liners. This movie has another plus, it’s a superhero movie set at Christmas time, which is something that needs to be done more often seriously. The best part is the Christmas tree lighting because I have always thought that Christmas tree lightings needed more murder.
6. The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
It’s a rom-com! Nothing says Christmas like a nice rom-com to snuggle up with and this quirky little film often gets forgotten about. Basically two employees at a gift shop hate each other in that oh so familiar slap-slap-kiss way, little do they know that they are each other’s secret pen pals. That’s right they have been conversing through beautiful letters and falling in love without realising that the person of their dreams was in front of them the whole time. Naturally the whole romantic adventure culminates on Christmas Eve (as all good romantic adventures should if at all possible). It gives me all the fluffy bunny feelings that this kind of film should, definitely a snuggle worthy movie.
5. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
Ahh the Griswolds, Christmas just wouldn’t be complete without them. Everyone feels better about their own crazy family after watching this film. Christmas Vacation is full of clichés and it could hardly be called politically correct, but it’s funny and it caters to the whole family (mum, dad, 2.5 kids and grandma too). There are way too many hilarious moments in this movie that I feel bad highlighting one but I have to say that the scene with the Christmas lights is still the funniest thing ever. It’s especially good after a couple of holiday drinks (the fun kind). Trust me even if you have seen this movie too many times to count it’s still worth the annual holiday re-watch.
4. Elf (2003)
This is pretty much the only time you are going to see me recommend a Will Ferrell film but this silly little film about Buddy the adopted Christmas elf tugs on my heartstrings in a way I didn’t think was possible. It’s sounds like a particularly silly kids movie, the premise is absurd but trust me if you have not seen this movie go watch it. It’s strangely sweet and weirdly endearing plus it has Zooey Deschanel (and she sings – yay), which is always a plus. Elf reminds me of all the reasons I love this season, and it ends with a giant sing-along, who doesn’t love a sing-along? No one, that’s who. Shhh just stop with the bah-humbug and watch it already.
3. Gremlins (1984)
Everyone wanted a Mogwai like Gizmo but no one is really willing to take on the responsibility because boy do they come with any awful lot of rules. Okay so maybe there isn’t that many rules and the rules are in place for a very good reason but it still seems like way too much work for me. All I’m saying is that Randall thought that Gizmo was the perfect Christmas present until he breaks all of the simple rules laid out to him and all hell breaks loose. I’ll tell you what though it’s certainly a Christmas to remember. People often forget that this film is set a Christmas but it’s one of my favs for this time of year and definitely worth another look in spite of the crappy 80s effects.
2. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
It’s THE Christmas movie, even though the majority of it doesn’t actually take place at Christmas. I know it might seem cliché to have it on the list but there is a reason so many people watch this film every year… it’s sweet with a lovely message and so many memorable moments it makes my heart ache with longing. Everyone should have an angel like Clarence looking our for them but we don’t so it’s nice that every year It’s a Wonderful Life reminds us that the world would be a terrible place if we had never been born. Okay so many we’re not all as influential as George Bailey but it still counts. Plus this film has my all time favourite Christmas moment – George running through the main street wishing everything a merry Christmas.
1. IT’S A TIE!
Okay so I cheated a little, technically there are eleven movies on this list but I honestly couldn’t pick between these two so they get equal billing.
Love Actually (2003)
This is one of the only films to pull off multiple stories and multiple stars without it being forced. Seriously people keep trying to do it but it fails almost every single time but somehow Love Actually is an endearing film with fantastic characters that never fails to make me feel the full range of human emotion… I laugh, I cry, I get all mushy and sing Mariah Carey Christmas songs, it’s not pretty. It just perfectly sums up the insanity that is the holiday season – love and loss; heartbreak and family; it turns out that Love Actually is all around. Also any film that has Hugh Grant dancing around 10 Downing St to The Pointer Sisters gets my vote every time.
and Die Hard (1988)
Not only is Die Hard one of the best action movies ever made it’s also a Christmas movie. I don’t just mean it’s set at Christmas time it’s actually a Christmas movie, complete with Christmas songs, a Christmas party and a dead guy in a Santa hat. If you don’t love this movie then I pretty much question your sanity or maybe you just haven’t seen it yet in which case you are in luck because it’s the perfect time of year to get a little bit of Die Hard in your life. If you’re not sold yet then maybe you will be when I tell you that Alan Rickman plays the baddie and yes he’s as awesome as you think he his.
That’s all I’m afraid but I hope you enjoyed my top 10 (cough 11 cough) Christmas movies.
I hope you have a safe and happy holiday season.