During the Christmas holidays we are often spoiled for choice when it comes to Christmas films. Whether it be classics such as it’s a Wonderful Life(1946), Miracle on 34th Street (1947) or the hundreds of takes on a Christmas carol, containing Muppets or otherwise, there’s a wide range to choose from.
This list contains films that I have enjoyed watching and re-watching over a left-over turkey dinner.
Die Hard (1988)
Set during Christmas, detective John McClain attends a Christmas party at Nakatomi Plaza to meet with his estranged wife.
A standard office party goes downhill, much like the Die Hard franchise, in a chorus of explosions and a hail of bullets. John McClain goes on his most believable escapade to defeat the machine gun totting, pony tail sporting terrorists led by Hans Gruber (Severus Snape look alike Alan Rickman).
McClain uses his dry wit, duct tape and a machine gun courtesy of the baddies to navigate the building, minus his shoes and thwart these Christmas villains with a final sequence that really grounds the character of Gruber.
The film is full of humour and action, and one-liners that have burned themselves into the memory of pop culture buffs and casual film goers alike.
Bruce Willis gives a great performance as John McClain and used this film as a star vehicle to put himself into the public eye.
A particularly captivating performance is given by a teddy bear and you simply can’t miss it. A definite musts see for those who are dreaming of a Yippee ki yay Christmas.
Films with a similar tone: Jingle All the Way (1996), Lethal Weapon (1987).
The titular character of this Will Ferrell film, Buddy the Elf is at odds with the eleven members of the North Pole.
A vertically challenged social outcast is our sprightly hero who sets off to the magical land of New York, to find out who he truly is and meet his real father.
To adapt to life in an unfamiliar setting, Buddy spends time with his biological father, his wife, and their teenage son who teach him about life in the Big Apple.
While working in a department store he befriends a fellow elf Jovie (Zooey Deschanel, somehow) and begins to find his feet in this alien world.
The only pitfall of this film is the product placement, only rivalled by the Transformers series, as the cup of the world’s best coffee is waved under the nose of the audience.
This film is not easy to miss as it’s frequently on during Christmas time, so keep an eye out for this classic Ferrell film.
Films with a similar tone: The Santa Clause (1994), National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1984).
Home Alone (1990)
Kevin McAlister is a kid who has a falling out with his forgetful parents and winds up having his home all to himself for the holidays.
This involves him having to live on his own in a neighbourhood with a suspected murderer who diligently keeps the side walk ice free.
A crime wave sweeps the neighbourhood in the shapes of the inept“wet bandits” Marv (Daniel Stern) and Harry (Joe Pesci) a couple of opportunistic thieves who picked the wrong home to mess with.
Much like Die Hard’s John McClain, the wacky duo of Marv and Harry survive grievous injuries that would kill any person unfortunate enough to forget to put on their plot armour that morning.
These two suffer cartoon violence at the hands of an inventive Kevin McAllister (Macaulay Culkin) with contraptions that are referenced throughout film and cartoon since the release of the film and its sequels.
The slapstick humour of this Christmas capper is timeless and the films plot line is unforgettable. Joe Pesci takes on a rare performance in this comedic portrayal, a far cry from the usual tough guy Mafioso who usually questions others about what’s so funny.
Films with a similar tone: Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992).
On a business trip an inventive father who is out of ideas when it comes to a Christmas gift for his son purchases Gizmo in an oriental antique shop.
A specific set of instructions in regards to the upkeep of Gizmo (Howie Mandel) comes with him – never let him get wet, do not feed him after midnight.
When Gizmo comes into contact with water he is given evil offspring who metamorphose into slimy agents of anarchy as they eat after midnight.
Sporting slick hairdos and nasty attitudes, coupled with a love for Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, these monsters must be stopped.
If you enjoy this particular film, the sequel is definitely worth a watch. It can be argued that the second film lives up to the original, that is, if you are a big fan of Hollywood Hulk Hogan.
For the person with a darker sense of humour this Christmas flick is for you.
Films with a similar tone: The Nightmare before Christmas (1993), Scrooged (1988).
These films are guaranteed to keep you entertained during the Christmas holidays, and what better people to share them with than the family you have not seen regularly since the beginning of the semester.