The Ultimate Christmas Film(s)

Tomorrow is Christmas Day (don’t look so surprised) and with the TV schedule filled with plenty of holes it’s important to know what film to put on once everyone has surrendered to a turkey induced coma. As we don’t trust you to think for yourselves we’ve each picked our ultimate Christmas film, both of which you are now obliged to watch. (It is important to note that Kat was too busy watching ballet to make her pick).

As Joey of Friends (who also happens to love Die Hard) once said; “if you’re going to do something wrong, do it right.” Die Hard is the embodiment of this statement. Die Hard is an action film released during July – not so unusual – but is possibly the best Christmas film ever.

Die Hard has it all; terrorists, snow, Alan “Professor Snape” Rickman, Bruce “Bruce Willis doesn’t require another name” Willis, a love story, explosions, a very festive soundtrack, product placement and the office jerkoff getting shot. Far better than any Charlie Brown Christmas Special I ever sawed.

On the face of it a balding Joe Everyman running around a building shooting Germans doesn’t seem very Christmassy but let’s look at what the actual story is about. John McClane’s marriage is a little on the rocks but he’s a good guy committed to trying to make it work. He wants to be with his family over the holidays – maybe even patch things up and get back together. Really, Die Hard is about a poor bloke who drew the short straw trying to be nice to his wife when a bunch of lunatics came a running with guns and C4.

Surely though, this only helps the guy? Some women (*insert ‘I’m no anti-feminist’ sentence here*) just bang on about how chivalry is dead – so wouldn’t you say that your estranged husband barefoot running through broken glass, dodging long-haired krauts shooting at him with AK47s and doing his best to get you back home to your children is a bit nicer than, say, a film about bastard parents who forget their child, leaving him to calamitous albeit still psychotic home invaders?

Die Hard is all about family, their importance, their safety and preserving the peace during the festive period. We all have our quarrels, but during Christmas doesn’t everyone’s family do battle just to be nice to each other? Going back to quote in the first paragraph; Die Hard is definitely not your conventional Christmas film, but it has the heart and ruddy determination to be the best, and if you don’t think so I only have one thing to say to you – Yippee ki yay, motherfucker.

When picking the ultimate Christmas film it’s hard not to get swayed too much by sentimentality, childhood memories or the presence of Zooey Deschanel. The best film to watch at this time of year needs to be one that has more to offer than just good cheer, there needs to be moments of terror and a few songs to sing along to too. Obviously The Muppet Christmas Carol fits this bill precisely (for some reason the door knocker becoming a screaming face has always given me the creeps) I’ll be Blogalongamuppeting about that soon, so it’s got to be The Nightmare Before Christmas.

While set in the town of Halloween, Nightmare is ultimately the story of one man’s discovery of Christmas and what it really means. Clearly Jack doesn’t always go about Christmas in the right way, kidnapping “Sandy Claws” was a questionable move, but he gets there in the end and his heart, if he even has one, is definitely in the right place.

If there’s one moment in Nightmare that will give you the Christmas spirit it will be Jack Skellington arriving in Christmas Town and singing “What’s This?” dazzled as he is by all the sights that Christmas brings. It’s enough to warm the cockles of the most Scrooge-like individual. And to ensure that it doesn’t get too schmaltzy we have Oogie Boogie, a humanoid sack of bugs with murder in mind, terrifying.

All of this, combined with Tim Burton’s unique style and the inherent charm of stop-motion animation, makes for the perfect Christmas film. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and ultimately you’ll spend Christmas Day singing “This is Halloween” which is a novel way to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus. If you’re not convinced here’s a song to convince you:

15 Christmas Films You Must Watch This Weekend

As this is a movie blog we are obligated to list our favourite Christmas films so I’ve rooted out my carefully crafted DVD collection that will be with me every Christmas. You may notice that this list does not include many favourites and has a few non-Christmas films. There is no real order to the list, sorry.

A modern classic! Heart-warming and funny in the right measures. The cherry on top is a combination of Zooey Deschanel and Peter Dinklage.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Chevy Chase back in his prime with a hit and miss comedy about family getting together for Christmas. The cat in the box always gets me.

Die Hard
hey, it is set at Christmas. “Now I have a machine gun. Ho ho ho.” Anyone?

Our first Bill Murray performance on the list and a warped take on A Christmas Carol. At times irritating, with plenty of laughs this film ends with a monologue to warm the cockles of your heart. Do hearts have cockles?

The Santa Clause
Surely Tim Allen’s best work? Lovely seasonal tale that helps make sense of Santa. I have not seen the sequels so lets pretend they don’t exist.

Black Christmas
The original Canadian version isn’t great but brought us the original “the call is coming from inside the house.” The remake is even worse but has some sexy ladies, a Trachtenberg and Winstead to be precise.

The Snowman
The shortest of the list but a Christmas essential. With a sad, sad ending.

Home Alone
One I haven’t seen for years but I’m sure the comedy still stands up today, right?

Funny, moving and adorable creature feature. The love interest’s story of her dad in the chimney will always bring about an inappropriate Christmas chuckle.

The Muppet Christmas Carol
Some of the finest Christmas songs come from this and Michael Caine’s best performance.

Cool Runnings
Not set at Christmas but the abundance of snow and family friendly laughs make this a must for a lazy afternoon at Christmas.

Groundhog Day
Again it’s not Christmas exactly but it’s so damned Christmassy! It’s all about learning to not be selfish and to love one another. Also hilarious.

The Grinch
A controversial choice, either hailed as genius or rubbish. hard to believe that little girl is now Taylor Momsen, a 17 year old who dresses like an oversexed tramp.

Edward Scissorhands
Do I need to justify this? It is undeniably Tim Burton and undeniably filled with the Christmas spirit.

The Nightmare Before Christmas
Perfect for either Halloween or Christmas though with a message of Christmas cheer and some great Christmas songs there’s no better time to watch.