It’s December! which means its now acceptable to listen to Saviours Day by Cliff Richard on repeat, eat mince pies and binge watch Christmas movies and festive cooking shows without those Grinch-like friends and family members kicking off at you.
“Its way too early for that shit” they say when I’m listening to Merry Christmas Everybody by Slade in the middle of August.
“You’re way too into Christmas” they bellow as I watch Delia Smith’s Classic Christmas in October, NO. You can never get culinary ideas too early.
But now its MY TIME and I’m gonna make the most of it, to that end we’ll be taking a look at a selection of my favourite Christmas films of all time.
This list is purely my opinion, please don’t send me lumps of coal if your favourite isn’t on here.
Grab a mince pie or a carrot, pour a baileys and lets go through some Christmas classics together.
Lets start with my personal favourite….
Home Alone | 1990 | John Hughes
Even though Home Alone didn’t turn out to be the greatest thing to happen to Macaulay Culkin, I have so much love for this classic Christmas hit. For those who haven’t yet watched it (if indeed there’s anyone on the planet who hasn’t?) the film is based on eight-year-old Kevin McCallister, as he gets forgotten by his family who jet off to Paris– leaving him at home alone.
Whilst his family try desperately to get back to America, 2 slapstick burglars going by the moniker The Wet Bandits try to break into poor Kevin’s home. However, through much hilarity, Kevin skilfully defends his home with the aid of a tarantula, Micro Machines, paint tins and some artfully crafted cardboard cut-outs.
The film has a classic soundtrack and premise which is synonymous with this time of year due to its cult following. I watch it every year without fail when I wrap presents and it gets brought out repeatedly during the festive season.
Fun fact: The picture Kevin finds of Buzz’s girlfriend whilst he raids his big brother’s room was actually a boy wearing a wig. The director felt it would be too harsh to use a real girl for this scene.
Die Hard | 1989 | John McTiernan
Okay, so it’s not a traditional Christmas movie per se and you couldn’t watch it with the kids, but most men agree that Die Hard is a definite contender for the best Christmas movie ever.
Of course, some people won’t agree that this is a Christmas movie, in part because of the guns and the violence and the lack of Christmas cheer; yet despite all of this, there are some strong Christmas themes in Die Hard.
Not only is the terrorist dressed in a Santa suit, but there are plenty of Christmas trees on view amidst the shooting. Plus, in the movie’s finale, good does conquer evil, which has to be the ultimate Christmas theme– it’s a family redemption story about about personal suffering in the service of fellow man, in defiance of systemic avarice. It’s pure Dickens. But with machine guns.
Not only that but it has the late, great Alan Rickman in it (Hans Gruber) and the iconic scene at the end (I wont ruin it if you haven’t seen it) is pure Christmas bliss, for McClane anyway….
Fun fact: If you’re still not sure this movie should be on the top-Christmas-movies-of-all-time list then consider this; in Die Hard 2 the body count reached the staggering heights of 164. Yet for Die Hard the body count was just 18; far more family friendly and festive.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation | 1989 | John Hughes
No doubt many families around the globe can relate to the situation Clarke Griswold (Chevy Chase) finds himself in this Christmas.
This Griswold Christmas movie delivers on the goofball, slapstick front like no other– whether its Clarke falling through the ceiling after being locked up there while the family are out shopping, later falling off a roof while trying to fit 25,000 Imported Italian Twinkle lights or Eddie kidnapping Clarke’s stingy boss after he cut bonuses and replaced them with a membership to a Jello club.
Typically, the Griswolds try desperately hard to make a perfect Christmas for their family and inevitably, as every other National Lampoon movie proves, the harder you try the worse the day turns out.
The movie is well cast with many great American comedians like Chase himself, Randy Quaid (Cousin Eddie), Doris Roberts (Frances Smith) or Brian Doyle Murray (Frank Shirley) all bringing their own charm and blending well for some laugh out loud moments.
Fun fact: Remember the Griswolds’ neighbor’s house? Did it seem familiar? Well, if it did that’s probably because it was used as Murtagh’s home in Lethal Weapon.
Jingle All the Way | 1996 | Brian Levant
What list on earth would be complete without Arnold Schwarzenegger (Howard Langston) playing a role as a deadbeat dad who puts his career ahead of his Wife and Son’s happiness?
Not this one obviously! Jingle All the Way is rife with ridiculous comedy moments, driven by the all out war between Schwarzenegger and Sinbad (Myron Larabee)– Both men have left it far too late to buy their kids the infamous Turbo Man action figure and end up on a destruction tour of the city to get one.
From fighting in a kids ball pit at the mall to breaking into a local radio station and detonating a “fake” bomb to ultimately ending up as the main characters in the Christmas Eve Turbo Man parade, with a epic finale on the rooftops of the strip– Who needs a Turbo Man doll when his dad is the real thing?
The movie is a real gut buster at times and Arnie gets chance to deliver some of his classic one liners like “PUT THAT COOKIE DOWN” or “Wheres your Christmas Spirit?…. Thats Better!”
Fun Fact: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s agent suggested Sinbad, but the producers felt he was unsuited to the role of a villain as it could harm his clean, family-oriented comedy act and reputation, although Sinbad felt the character would generate the audience’s sympathy rather than hate. Furthermore, he missed the audition due to his appearance with Hillary Clinton and Sheryl Crow on the USO tour of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but Chris Columbus waited for him to return to allow him to audition and, although Sinbad felt he had “messed” it up, he was given the part.
The Snowman | 1982 | Raymond Briggs
The Snowman is a magical and simplistic movie that is a firm favourite on this best Christmas movies list.
The animated movie is a great family hit, not only because of the stunning pictures and the magical world in which the story takes place, but also because it’s mesmerizing music can calm even the most hyperactive of overexcited children down and send them soundly to sleep until Father Christmas arrives.
The story is told through pictures, action and music, scored by Howard Blake. It is wordless like the book, except for the song Walking in the Air.
This one is great to watch on Christmas Eve around the fire with a glass of sherry and a mince pie, not the kids obviously, pop for the kids.
Film fact: The key song in the movie, Walking In The Air, was not actually sung by Aled Jones. It was sung instead by Peter Auty and was released by Aled Jones three years later in 1985.
Elf | 2003 | Jon Favreau
Where to start here– Will Ferrell is brilliant as Elf with his boyish personality portaying a sense of naive innocence.
Buddy was a baby in an orphanage who stowed away in Santa’s sack and ended up at the North Pole. Later, as an adult human who happened to be raised by elves, Santa allows him to go to New York City to find his birth father, Walter Hobbs.
Hobbs, on Santa’s naughty list for being a heartless jerk, had no idea that Buddy was even born. Buddy, meanwhile, experiences the delights of New York City (and human culture) as only an elf can. When Walter’s relationship with Buddy interferes with his job, he is forced to re evaluate his priorities.
This is not just a Christmas movie but a movie to watch at any time of year, Its great to watch as a family in the run up to Christmas and will get the kids super excited about all their impending presents!
Fun Fact: On the final day of shooting in New York City, it was just Director Jon Favreau, Will Ferrell, and a camera man driving around the city looking for locations to shoot. They would jump out and ask pedestrians if they would be willing to be extras for some quick cash, while Ferrell paraded around acting like Buddy. Much of the montage when Buddy first arrives in New York City was filmed then, such as when he is getting his shoes shined, and jumping between traffic.
The Santa Clause | 1994 | John Pasquin
Tim Allen (Scott Calvin) has to have a spot on my list, hes one of my favourite actors and he doesn’t disappoint in this heart warming comedy.
Calvin is an ordinary man who accidentally causes Santa Claus to fall from his roof on Christmas Eve. When he and his young son, Charlie, finish St. Nick’s trip and deliveries, they go to the North Pole where Scott learns that he must become the new Santa and convince those he loves that he is indeed Father Christmas.
All this with the impending removal of visitation rights for his son by his Ex Wife Laura (Wendy Crewson) and her new partner Neil (Judge Reinhold) leaves for a pretty busy time for the newly crowned King of the North Pole.
The Santa Claus is so easy to watch, yet it’s firmly rooted in the sort of good old-fashioned holiday spirit missing from too many modern yuletide films.
Fun Fact: When Scott and Charlie are leaving the North Pole in the sleigh and pass by the moon, the moon has a distinct Mickey Mouse logo on it.
The Muppet Christmas Carol | 1992 | Brian Henson
The Muppets never fail to amuse and thats no different here– With their take on the Charles Dickens classic of the same name, Brian Henson manages to remain faithful to the original story yet introduce many of the Muppets cast into the roles seamlessly.
The Narration is provided by Gonzo the Great (as Charles Dickens) and Rizzo.
Michael Caine plays Scrooge with all the contempt for anything festive that the original character had and there are plenty of songs for kids to sing along to.
Its a great way of introducing youngsters to the world of Charles Dickens and perfect for a cold wet December Sunday afternoon.
Fun Fact: This was the first major Muppet project after creator Jim Henson’s death. The role of Kermit the Frog was handed down to Steve Whitmire. He said he was incredibly nervous about taking over such an iconic character. The night before he recorded Kermit’s songs for the movie, he had a dream where he met Henson in a hotel lobby and told him how unsure he was. In the dream, Henson reassured Whitmire that the feeling would pass. After waking up, Whitmire was confident and able to do the part.
Scrooged | 1988 | Richard Donner
It’s another Christmas Carol-themed flick, but strictly for the grown ups, In this modern take on Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” Frank Cross (Bill Murray) is a wildly successful television executive whose cold ambition and curmudgeonly nature has driven away the love of his life, Claire Phillips (Karen Allen).
But after firing a staff member, Eliot Loudermilk (Bobcat Goldthwait), on Christmas Eve, Frank is visited by a series of ghosts who give him a chance to re-evaluate his actions and right the wrongs of his past.
Its a dark, modern take on the Charles Dickens classic and a great film for the run up to Christmas after the kids have gone to bed.
So that’s all for this list of my favourite Christmas movies, Look out for more Christmas related content from PoweredOn all throughout December!
So with that, we’re gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fucking Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he’s gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse!