For Your Enjoyment Misfit Holiday Movies, Ho Ho Ho
Everyone has their favorite holiday movies whether it's National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, or Elf. Maybe you are like me and love the Rankin Bass classics like Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer, Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town, and The Year Without a Santa Claus. And what Christmas would be complete without Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Frosty the Snowman, and Jack Frost? As you are gearing up today for all the festivities, I thought I would give you a list of some not-so-traditional Christmas movies.
--Die Hard: The movie that launched Bruce Willis into superstardom. It takes place at an office Christmas party and has some holiday tunes like when he asks the limo driver to play some Christmas music and the driver responds with, this is Christmas music as he plays Run DMC’s "Christmas In Hollis." And who can forget when he sends the guy down in the elevator with a Santa hat and Ho Ho Ho message? You can even find a Nakatomi/Hans Gruber Advent Calendar online. Oh, and Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber is one of the top bad guys/evil villains of all time.
--Die Hard 2 Die Harder: Not a great title, and not one of the best in the Die Hard series but it takes place over Christmas again. You still get some great action, one liners like “Just the fax ma'am, just the fax” and he gets his parking ticket torn up at the end. Plus, the great question from his wife at the end asking why this keeps happening to them.
--Gremlins: The 1984 Steven Speilberg comedy/horror/Christmas movie. Set over the holiday season you get the Grinchy Mrs. Deagle, a horrible holiday story from Kate (Phoebe Cates) about her dad getting stuck in the chimney, and little monsters wreaking havoc around town. The scene with all the Gremlins singing along to Snow White and the Seven Dwarves is classic, and Gizmo going all Rambo is fun too. Plus, you have the Gremlin Rag for some great theme music/Christmas songs.
--Kiss Kiss Bang Bang: If you have never seen it, well what are you waiting for? In a film noir set over Christmas, crook Harry Lockhart (Robert Downey Jr.) stumbles into an audition for a movie while hiding from the cops and ends up in L.A. in a conspiracy of murder and mayhem. You also get the 2nd greatest actor (see Ice Harvest for below for #1) of my generation in Val Kilmer playing a private eye.
--Ice Harvest: As Wichita Falls Falls, So Falls Wichita Falls. If you get that reference, then you have seen this one. A dry comedy about two employees who decide to rip off their mobster boss on Christmas Eve. Billy Bob Thorton and John Cusack (the greatest actor of my generation) are the employees who proceed to stumble about after the heist and breed mistrust between each other throughout. My favorite part is the section where they have the hit man trapped in the trunk and are trying to figure out how to get him in a car. You find out how spacious a Mercedes is. Oh, and that you can get pancakes in heaven.
--Reindeer Games: Another fun action kind of Christmas movie starring Ben Affleck, Charlize Theron, and Gary Sinise. Affleck plays Rudy Duncan, a convict just released from prison who, through his cellmate's pen pal letters, has met the girl of his dreams in Theron’s Ashley. But Sinise (Gabriel) and his mob stand in their way to happiness as he believes Affleck has some info they can use to knock off a casino. The heist is to take place on Christmas Eve and away you go. Mistaken identity, a casino heist, and hot chocolate, what more do you need? (Side note, if you want a good movie centered around a casino heist see 3,000 Mile to Graceland with Kurt Russell and Kevin Costner).
--Violent Night: A rich family is taken hostage during their family Christmas gathering by “The Grinch” and his crew in an effort to get into their vault. A little girl who has a CB she thinks can let her talk to Santa is able to really call in the real St. Nick to help. Santa then opens a brand new bag of tricks on the Grinch and his crew. You get to learn about Santa's past, his best friend skull crusher, and some fun one-liners. Throw in a great soundtrack and an actual holiday message and this 2022 release has quickly become one of my favorite Christmas movies.
--The Goonies: OK, OK, I know this one does not have a Christmas or even holiday theme in any way but it has become a family tradition with my brothers and sisters. Back when we were kids, we would rent a VCR and movies every Christmas for when our cousins came over, or we went to their place (and yes, you could rent VCRs if you didn’t have one). We would watch pretty much every Christmas when we got together. My brother, sister, and cousin even vegged out on it one year watching like four times in a row. It got done and they were like, hey let’s watch it again. Get a Baby Ruth and curl up with this one after dinner.
There are others out there but the list above is my favs. After you have opened the gifts, eaten the turkey, and taken a nap, give one of these alternate holiday movies a whirl if you need a break from all the happy happy joy joy classics that are on TV all the time.
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