It is getting close to that time of year once again, in other words, Christmas time. If you want a holiday movie, there are plenty of movies to binge on, even in the genre category. There’s horror. There’s comedy. There is never a lack of options—good, bad, or confusing—that can fill the many hours of the holiday season.
If Halloween is over and it hasn’t yet hit February, then you’re in Christmas and holiday movie season. They’re not all good. In fact, a vast majority are bad, but even the bad ones are pretty damn amazing. So stay home from the work holiday parties, avoid your family, and stay glued to any device that will show you a little manufactured seasonal cheer with these movies.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Jim Carrey was the perfect choice to play the Grinch in this memorable festive flick from 2000, delivering a typically physical comedic performance. As well as showing off his impeccable timing and flair for visual gags, Carrey’s version proved to be far more than a caricature, with the viewer developing real empathy for him after he’s ridiculed by the residents of Whoville — whose prosthetic noses are, incidentally, way creepier than the Grinch could ever be.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
If you like your Christmas movies with a dark, twisted core, then Nightmare Before Christmas is the one for you. This anti-festive classic saw Tim Burton and director Henry Selick create an entire universe that looked like nothing we had seen before. An oddball romance, as well as some of the best original film compositions of the decade made it a compelling watch back in 1993, while the animation and Burton’s trademark weirdness helps it stand the test of time even 15 years on.
The Polar Express
This stunning and arguably under-appreciated animation from Robert Zemeckis is an absolute joy. The film achieved its distinctive look using live action motion capture, which was pretty ahead of its time back in 2004. It was far more than a technical exercise though, with the film capturing the anticipation of Christmas morning as a child perfectly, as the young hero sets off on a journey to the North Pole in the dead of night. It was very much Tom Hanks’ project, with the actor providing the voices for six characters including the main protagonist and conductor, and it still stands up as a top Christmas movie.
Home Alone Series
In many ways, the Home Alone series define the ultimate Christmas kids’ films. The movie has been parodied and copied hundreds of times — not least in 2012’s Skyfall, which saw Bond defend his old Scottish ranch in a style Kevin McCallister would have been proud of — however, the original has never been bettered.
Also, the fact that Joe Pesci starred in both Home Alone and Goodfellas in 1990 is pretty amazing in itself. Seeing him trying to get through a kids’ film without swearing as the villainous home invader Harry Lime makes for pretty incredible viewing.
Its a Wonderful Life
The best Christmas movie ever made, the 1946 classic focuses on George Bailey, a man struggling to balance failing finances with an unhappy home life. After travelling to a bridge with the intention of ending his life, he encounters Clarence, his guardian angel, who gradually reminds George of all the joy, love and happiness in his life.
So, settle down with the family this year, grab a mulled wine and let this beautiful piece of filmmaking wash over you, filling you up with Christmas cheer.