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Top Ten Christmas Films

by Lawrence Walters 5 years ago in pop culture
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A list of the best Christmas films you need to see this holiday season.

Christmas is a special time, isn't it? A time for family, giving, love, booze and all that jazz. It's actually about what films are going to be on the normal telly box, the first 5 Channels and maybe that Freeview rubbish.

Every year, I bet, when the TV/Radio times comes with the Christmas listings you're all "ooh what’s on?" Every bloody year, ITV love to put "Hot Fuzz" on, not like its been on ITV2 10 times already this year along with "The Mummy". Anyhow, let's not get into how bad ITV are with their movie choices.

Christmas films. Well, you've got to have the main ones on your list and mines no different. I won't go into those you already know.

Let's start.

"It's a Wonderful Life”, “Home Alone" and "Jingle All the Way 2". Ok I joke about "Jingle All the Way 2", that one can go in the bin. Yes, the Christmas lists must consist of the main two, "It's a Wonderful Life", it's something for the older generation and "Home Alone", for the youngsters, or 30 somethings. They need to be on every Christmas list.

Now the rest is the tricky part. Is "Die Hard" the greatest Christmas film? Sad to say, no. I'd love it to be, I love that film. It has a brilliant performance of a bad guy by the late, great, Alan Rickman and so much action it's silly. The only Christmasy bits, really, are the music and the Christmas tree that falls over near the end. We know it's Christmas Eve, but if this film was set at Easter or in July or whenever it wouldn't matter and would still be a great action movie. That’s why it's on the list.

So we have 3 films already, what's next. More 80's?

"Gremlins". This is a classic. A lovely American town, covered in snow, a child that dresses as a Christmas tree and tiny monsters going crazy. What more do you want? Ah, I know, Santa falling off a roof.

"Gremlins" is a story of a boy that doesn't listen to his Grandfather. Basically, if that kid at the start didn't sell the Dad the Mogwai none of the troubles would have happened and people wouldn't have died. No one wants a death at Christmas. Even that mean old hag Mrs. Deagle didn't deserve to die. It's a much darker film than you think. They tell you, Santa Claus, isn't real and in the original script by Chris Columbus, the Gremlins eat Billy’s dog and roll his mother’s decapitated head down the steps of the family home. Merry Christmas. See, listen to your elders when it comes to freaky little creatures.

Next on the list is "Elf", the modern classic, loved by all. It's so stupid it's fun. It brings a smile to your face. Some of the lines Will Ferrell says are genius. "Good news, I saw a dog today" is being used on a daily basis whatever time of year. I do have one bit of negativity on the film, well, more on Santa really. When they find Buddy in the bag, why don't they take him back? You stole a child! Ok, it was from the orphanage but at least one of the Nuns are going to get into trouble, they lost a child. That’s the only problem I have. The film as a whole is spot on. More than enough for children to be entertained for a few hours and humour for adults to enjoy.

Love is all around, well maybe not in "Love Actually" but it is a good British Christmas film. Eight different stories and in some way all connected. So many stars. Ah, Alan Rickman again. This time he's a bad guy. Hang on a second did he only play bad guys? I find Bill Nighy's character really interesting, some of his lines are really on form and well written by Richard Curtis "Yes I have, Ant or Dec. It's a - it's a personalised felt tip pen." "Hiya Kids, here is an important message from your Uncle Bill. Don't buy drugs. Become a pop star, and they give you them for free."

The film shows so many different ways love can be all around. Setting it at Christmas really makes the film. I think without the Christmas backdrop it wouldn't be as good.

3D is a thing that came and went didn't it? Well, did you know the third Harold and Kumar film was called "A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas". The 3D parts are a gimmick really but the film as a Christmas movie is something else. A good buddy movie with the standard stupidness of Harold and Kumar you've come to expect in the past. It's a film not for the children if you were thinking about putting it on. The jokes are offensive and some of the scenes are in bad taste but you can't not laugh. As for Neil Patrick Harris doing a big musical number. He steals the movie again, just like he did in the other two. Worth a watch if you're over 18 and don't find drugs use and rude naughty words offensive.

Muppets, no not that guy you know from the pub, the Jim Henson lot. "The Muppet Christmas Carol" is one of the best film versions of Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol". The Muppet twist makes it funny and well worth a watch, the songs will stick with you for years. The buddy comedy between Rizo the rat and Gonzo the great as the narrators will have you in stitches. Some of the lines from the pair are spot on and good for adults and children. "Mother always taught me: Never eat singing food" It also shows Michael Caine isn't just a "geezer" actor and has a soft side. Must be hard acting with the Muppets.

EDDIE MURPHY!!! The real hero of the 80's films, I don't think I can name a bad Eddie Murphy film from the 80's. Well, he starred along with another big name of the 80's Dan Aykroyd in "Trading Places" a film by John Landis who already had hits with "An American Werewolf in London" and "Animal House". Based slightly on the story of "The Prince and Pauper". Being a dark comedy and very funny it still holds up as a classic Christmas story of revenge. The bad guys, played by film legends Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche really keep the film moving. Their bet between each other to see if Eddie Murphy's character can do the job that Dan Aykroyd's character is doing is to do with race and class. The story shows you can lose everything but if you have people around you at Christmas you can come together and get revenge, that’s the true meaning of Christmas, right? Revenge! Classic film and definitely one of my favourites.

"Bad Santa" is a story of a drunken conman with the skill to crack safes that dresses up as Santa in a big department store to rob it on Christmas Eve with his little helper. Billy Bob Thornton played the role of Willie, as is drunk most of the time. That is commitment to the role. The film is stolen from Billy Bob by Brett Kelly playing the kid Thurman Merman and his stupid questions to Willie that annoy him constantly. He calls him Santa, knowing he's not. It's a story of friendship, where even if you are the bad guy you can still have a heart and how the Christmas season can make you know your life is a mess and it's not all about having money. "Bad Santa" is a very funny film and one you can watch year in year out.

This is my list and the order I’d watch them in.

• Elf

• Home Alone

• Die Hard

• Trading Places

• It's a wonderful life

• The Muppet Christmas Carol

• Gremlins

• Bad Santa

• Love Actually

• A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas

It changes depending on the year.

Other films you should see around the Christmas period are:

A Miracle on 34th Street, Home Alone 2, Krampus, Scrooged, Die Hard 2, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, The Holiday and The Grinch, Office Christmas Party and Bad Santa 2

pop culture

About the author

Lawrence Walters

Photographer, film fan and creative writer.

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