Everyone knows about It’s A Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, and A Christmas Carol. These are the traditional classics of a traditional holiday. Even A Christmas Story has become an oft-repeated favourite, and most families have their annual film choice already made.
But if you’re looking to try something new, allow me to suggest that this season you take advantage of some of these less-traditional holiday films:
Set on Christmas Eve, this heartwarming story follows John McClane as he comes to LA to visit his wife and prove his devotion to his family, but a Grinch-like villain decides to steal the Nakatomi Corporation’s Christmas presents. Only John stands in their way in this highly-traditional family film. Rated R.
See Also: Die Hard 2, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and Lethal Weapon
Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis are an unhappily married couple, and Dennis Leary is the poor fugitive thief that has taken them hostage. The bickering banter is turned on full-force in this comedy, which successfully displays holiday morals like love and understanding while having the characters scream insults at each other.
See Also: Christmas Vacation, Trading Places, and Love Actually
Band Of Brothers (Episode #6: Bastogne)
If there is one episode that places this mini-series above other war classics, it’s “Bastogne.” The sixth episode follows Eugene “Doc” Roe during the Battle of the Bulge. Stranded behind Nazi lines, the Allied forces are running low on all ammunition and provisions while fighting in some of the worst conditions seen on the Western Front.
See Also: Joyeux Noel and Stalag 17
It’s George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, but filtered through one of the comedy geniuses of Monty Python. Terry Gilliam follows a paper-pusher named Sam Lowry who is perfectly happy to remain a cog in the machine until an unusual series of events involving a fly and a typewriter lead him to come face-to-face with the girl of his dreams. What follows is an epic love story of bureaucratic proportions.
See Also: Batman Returns and Rare Exports
This is the ultimate version of Charles Dickens’ immortal classic, A Christmas Carol. The main reasons would be Bill Murray’s heartfelt and hilarious performance, and the Ghost of Christmas Present’s use of a toaster. Scrooge is now a callous TV executive, and the classic story arc is populated by dozens of oddball cameos including Lee Majors, Robert Mitchum, and Buddy Hackett.
See Also: Ghostbusters II
What could say more about the holidays than a family spending the entire winter together in a distant hotel where ghosts and evil spirits infect the mind of the father and turn him into an axe-wielding… oh. Right. Well, at least it is still set during Dec.
See Also: Eyes Wide Shut, Psycho, and Gremlins