Every family has their own unique Christmas traditions. Many families have favorite movies that they watch year after year. Traditional Christmas movies explore the magic of believing in Santa, or the redemptive power of love for one’s family. These movies are heartwarming and…boring. If your family is looking for a more offbeat movie to add to it Christmas traditions, consider watching one of these five movies this holiday season.
This is a movie that most people forget is set at Christmas. It starts out innocently enough cop John McClane (Bruce Willis) arriving in Los Angeles to attend a Christmas party with his estranged wife, Holly. Cue the arrival of villain Hans Gruber, played by Alan Rickman and his crew of thugs, who are attempting a theft in the building under the guise of a terrorist attack. This is where the festivities end and the killing and explosions begin. The good guy wins in the end, making it a very Merry Christmas for everyone except Gruber and Co. It’s also worth noting if you enjoyed the original, Die Hard 2 also takes place during Christmastime.
If your family are fans of black comedy, this Billy Bob Thornton flick might be a hit around the holidays. The story revolves around Willie T. Stokes and Marcus, two professional thieves. Willie, an alcoholic and a sex addict, likes to dress himself up as Santa Claus and rob malls at the holidays. One Christmas at a mall in Phoenix, Willie meets Thurman, a boy with a troubled family background. He also meets Sue, a woman with a Santa Claus fetish. Willie uses these two to his advantage while suspicious mall security guard Gin Slagel tries to catch him in the act. The end of the movie has a bit of a redemption aspect, but It’s a Wonderful Life it’s not. The film is (obviously) not for the whole family so save it for a night when the kids are asleep, you’ve got a nice bottle of wine, and it’s easily available to stream or watch on demand through services like AmazonPrime and DirecTV.
This movie is a heartwarming tale of family dysfunction and misplaced romance. Everett Stone, played by Dermot Mulroney, brings home his girlfriend, Meredith (played by Sarah Jessica Parker) with the intention of proposing to her on Christmas. It is soon evident however, that Meredith does not fit in with the Stone family. Everett’s mother, Sybil (Diane Keaton), refuses to give him the family heirloom ring to give to Meredith and Meredith accidentally invites Ben, the ex boyfriend of Everett’s sister, Amy, to attend Christmas dinner with the Stones. Further complications arise as Meredith’s sister, Julie, comes to support her sister and Everett finds himself falling for her. Likewise, it seems that Meredith can only relax in the company of Everett’s brother, Ben. Through the myrid of dysfunction, it is obvious that the Stones love one another deeply and manage to work through their differences. While not a classic Christmas tale, this story may ring true to more families than not.
If you want a camp-fest, this movie is for you. Regularly rated one of the worst movies ever made, this was Pia Zadora’s acting debut as one of the Martian children. This is a convoluted tale of Martian parents who decide that the Martian children need a Santa Claus figure. Their inept plan for making this happen is to kidnap the real Santa Claus and two Earth children, to make toys for the Martian children. Other Martians try to sabotage the new toy factory and it is a battle of the wills over the status of Santa Claus on Mars.
This is a black comedy that uses a Christmas setting to keep it from going over the edge. The film, produced by Steven Spielberg, revolves around a young man, Randall Peltzer, who buys a creature called a mogwai and takes it home as a pet. Randall receives specific instructions on how to care for mogwai, keep it out of bright light, never get it wet and never feed it after midnight. Randall give the mogwai, named Gizmo, to his son, Billy, along with the instructions. Billy lets Gizmo get wet and he spawns five more hostile mogwai. The mogwai turn into reptilian like gremlins and wreak havoc on the Peltzer family and on their small town.