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6 films that are Christmas movies in disguise

Here are six films that aren’t typically considered holiday features but have all the makings of a Christmas movie.

By D.J. RiveraPublished 3 years ago 7 min read
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) - Christmas Movie - Robert Downey Jr., Michelle Monaghan, Val Kilmer

There are so many options to choose from when it comes to finding a great Christmas movie to get everyone in the holiday spirit. There is no shortage of choices from romantic comedies to cartoon capers when it comes to the brilliant yuletide genre.

But there are some films out there that should also occupy the ranks of the select noel-centric motion picture category, but most people don’t consider them worthy of the title of Xmas flick. The first Die Hard film is one of the most popular topics of debate regarding whether or not it should be considered a festive feature instead of just an epic action endeavor.

While there is plenty of evidence to support both sides of the argument, the ‘80s movie starring Bruce Willis is not the only title that savvy individuals could make the case that they have enough going for them to be considered of the Christmas variety. These six titles definitely deserve a yuletide designation and should be regarded as a part of everyone’s yearly traditions..

Enemy of the State (1998)

Enemy of the State - Christmas movie - Will Smith, Gene Hackman, Jon Voight

At first glance, Enemy of the State comes off like a typical ‘90s spy thriller that eerily predicted the current state of things when it comes to surveillance, but after a few more viewings, it becomes painstakingly clear that the film that looks suspiciously like an unofficial sequel to The Conversation is actually a holiday feature.

Above is a chase scene from Enemy of The State. Notice all the Christmas things in the background.

The well-crafted tension-filled affair starring Will Smith and Gene Hackman occurs around the holidays, which becomes very apparent as there are yuletide aesthetics in almost every scene. There are even decorations in the emergency briefing rooms at the NSA, which doesn’t seem like the best use of government resources.

Enemy of the State clearly comes off as an Rated R Jingle All the Way where instead of tracking down the right toy for the holidays, the less than stellar father/husband character must escape a covert death squad and get the evidence of a cover-up to the authorities so he can make it home in time to spend Christmas with his family. While that isn’t the official synopsis, it doesn’t seem that far off after another watch.

The Ice Harvest (2005)

The Ice Harvest - Christmas Movie - John Cusack

Harold Ramis’ body of work is quite impressive, helming great titles like Analyze This, Caddyshack, Groundhog Day, and several other exceptional motion pictures with one title, in particular, that should definitely make the cut for membership in the club of Christmas cinema. The dark comedy The Ice Harvest stars John Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton, who play two guys who rob a mobster for a few million and try to make a getaway on Christmas Eve.

Check out the trailer for The Ice Harvest and try and say it isn't a Christmas movie.

Unfortunately, the weather is nasty, blocking all their avenues of departure. This Fargo-esque picture is a twist-filled feature chock full of clever shenanigans that in a unique way puts people in the spirit of the season with its own take on the meaning of Christmas. Maybe it just proves that if one focuses on giving instead of robbing the mob, the chances of a happy ending increase significantly. Either way, The Ice Harvest is a perfect choice for movie nights around the holidays.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang - Christmas Movie - Robert Downey Jr., Val Kilmer

It is no secret that director Shane Black, whose credits include The Nice Guys and Iron Man 3, has a strange obsession with Christmas. The filmmaker believes the yuletide season is such a thing of beauty that he can’t help but sprinkle it into all of his films, which can sometimes result in them becoming movies of the holiday genre. One of the best examples is the 2005 black comedy Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

The movie takes place at Christmas in Los Angeles, but it definitely doesn’t feel like Christmas from the way people act. Early on, the motion picture setting feels like something from one of those stop motion animated specials where there is a town that’s lost the spirit of the holiday season.

From the black and white Santa movie in the background to the decorations seen on display in the clip, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is beginning to look a lot like a Christmas movie.

The movie starts out with Robert Downey Jr.’s character Harry robbing a toy store for money and to get his kid the toy he wants, not unlike Jingle All the Way in some respects. And then, the story continues by having Harry discover a corpse resulting in a hilarious unraveling of a noir-style Hollywood conspiracy.

This entire, twist-filled ordeal ends up bringing himself, his childhood crush Harmony, played by Michelle Monaghan, and Val Kilmer’s Private Eye Perry much closer together by the end as is customary in any noel-centric flick. From the aesthetics to the soundtrack riddled with Xmas jams, there are several reasons Kiss Kiss Bang Bang definitely deserves to be played during the holiday rotation and should absolutely be revered as a Christmas movie without question.

Lethal Weapon (1987)

Lethal Weapon - Christmas movie - Mel Gibson, Danny Glover

Shane Black’s subtle Christmas antics in moviemaking started well before Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Most notably, it was on the scene during the film the filmmaker is most notoriously known for, which is, of course, the 1987 buddy-cop classic Lethal Weapon. The exhilarating motion picture features some great performances and memorable moments, but if one looks closely, the entire thing has Xmas movie written all over it.

The above scene in lethal Weapon should qualify as one of the best the Christmas movie genre has to offer.

Whether it's the iconic drug bust scene that goes down at the place where people by Christmas Trees, the members of LAPD singing "Silent Night," or the very fact that the word Christmas is used so many times, even as a cheesy one-liner when the villain kills a man early on in the prestigious thriller. Then there is the story, which involves two guys from different worlds putting aside their differences, overcoming their own inner demons, and coming together in the end to do the right thing around the holidays, firmly establishing Lethal Weapon as an undisputed Christmas movie.

Reindeer Games (2000)

Reindeer Games - Christmas Movies - Ben Affleck, Charlize Theron

We all know that Justice League's Ben Affleck is no stranger to making holiday-themed flicks, as everyone saw in the Christmas comedy Surviving Christmas from 2004. Most people don't realize that isn't the only Christmas the Academy award-winner has had to survive throughout his career because there was that time he played Reindeer Games with Charlize Theron.

Reindeer Games is the infamous 2000 film directed by John Frankenheimer that many consider being a solid Christmas action thriller filled with twist, tension, and a decent turn from Affleck as Rudy, which is kind of like Rudolph, so it has that going for it too. His character takes the identity of his dead cellmate when he gets out of prison to have sex with his pen pal, Ashley, played by Theron, only to get caught up in a scheme to rob a casino the other guy once worked at, putting Rudy in a perilous situation around the holidays.

All of this could have been avoided if Rudy didn't lie, and like what happens in most yuletide flicks, when someone does something naughty around the holidays, they are taken on an eye-opening odyssey that shows them things about themselves they never knew and made them painfully aware of the errors of their ways causing them to want to change everything for the better right away. No matter what people say, it makes the cut as the Christmas film. Decider calls it "the sexiest Christmas movie of all time," a coveted title that many believe Reindeer Games will firmly hold for many more December 25ths to come.

Die Hard 2 (1990)

Die Hard 2 - Christmas movie - Bruce Willis

There has been so much debate regarding whether or not the original Die Hard is a movie to be associated primarily with the Chritsmas genre over all the rest. While there may not be enough to call it either way, its sequel Die Hard 2 fits the bill of a yuletide feature without question.

Die Hard 2 sees John McClain back in action, this time trying to stop a rogue military unit's plan to free a drug lord from a prison transport at Dulles International Airport on Christmas Eve. At first glance, it seems like a carbon copy of its predecessor, but several factors make it a much more qualified holiday-themed feature.

The first of which is, without a doubt, the visuals. The snow is continually falling, and decorations are all over the place to remind viewers what time of year it is. Even the villains are carrying wrapped presents. The action sequences are somewhat Christmas-inspired, and there are plenty of yuletide action one-liners to firmly disprove any theory suggesting Die Hard 2 is not a Christmas movie.

For more stories, articles and great content make sure to check out and Also make sure to check out my work on Vimeo, Amazon Prime, and on Twitter @WritttenByDJR.


About the Creator

D.J. Rivera

Short stories, articles, and lists about movies, TV shows, video games and more! Make sure to check out and Also check out my work on Amazon Prime, Vimeo, and make sure follow me on Twitter @WrittenByDJR.

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