It's the last weekend before Christmas, work begins to draw to a close and we come together with our loved ones for the holidays. Eating too much, drinking too much, listening to those delightful Christmas songs, and of course, the traditional festive movies. And, with iTunes, you've got a lot of festive to choose from!
So, the iMore team has come together to share their favorite Christmas movies – or several favorite Christmas movies – that it just wouldn't be the holidays without. Enjoy!
Our family has always been heavy into Christmas movies and while my mom’s favorite’s always included White Christmas and other classics, my brother and I absolutely loved Home Alone. We grew up with it and we started watching it right after Thanksgiving. I’m sure my mom got tired of hearing “KEVIN!” but we never did. I actually just watched the Home Alone marathon that was on TV a few days ago. Sadly, none of the sequels even come close to the original.
There is something so very endearing about the beautiful and creepy world in which Tim Burton has set Nightmare Before Christmas. It is a wondrous tale about Jack Skellington, King of Halloween, who stumbles upon something new in Christmas Town. Stunning stop-motion animation and creative visuals makes The Nightmare Before Christmas not only a fun movie for the holidays, but a an amazing one.
This is one of my favorite Christmas movies because it's such an interesting take on the Santa story. For anyone who doesn't know, The Santa Clause is about Scott Calvin, played by Tim Allen, a man who is very successful professionally, but less so personally. He's divorced from his wife and only sees his son, Charlie on weekends. When Charlie spends Christmas with Scott, it's pretty much a disaster. But things take a turn when they hear something on Scott's roof, and it turns out to be the actual Santa, who, through a tragic ladder accident, dies, leaving behind an empty suit that Scott puts on. What he doesn't realize is that by putting on the suit, he has now accepted the mantle of Santa Claus. The idea that Santa could be anybody, instead of just the same guy for all time was novel and fun. It made for a funny, touching movie that my family has watched every year since it came out. Tim Allen does a great job with the humor of the situation, but also in showing the frustrations of a normal man suddenly thrust into completely abnormal circumstances. If you've never seen it, you owe it to yourself to give it a shot.
If there’s a better Christmas movie than Die Hard, I refuse to believe it. Bruce Willis just wants to see his wife and kid for the holidays but gets stuck in a building with terrorists led by Alan Rickman, and worse, no shoes. One of the best action movies in the history of he genre ensues. Tightly plotted, relentless, and on top of it all, so much fun. Once you’ve watched it, your expectations for great action movies will be raised considerably.
Shane Black has a fascination with Christmas and nowhere is it more apparent than Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. It’s Robert Downey Jr. having a really bad holiday season in pretty much every way imaginable, and he’s taking us along for the ride. And the crash that wrecks the ride. And the bullets. And the beatings. And… you get the idea.
Please stay till the end credits.
Speaking of Black’s obsession with Christmas, and Downey Jr., Iron Man 3 re-unites them but this time they have armor, repulsor beams, Extremis tech, and Ben Kingsley’s Mandarin to amp the action up… to 3. Sure, it’s a bit of a hot mess, especially at the end, but it’s classic Black, Downey Jr. is at the top of his game, and it’s part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Jarvis, initiate the Party Time protocol.
Saying goodbye to the Ponds was difficult for me. I really loved them as companions, and their exit, though well written, was still very sad. Thank goodness Stephen Moffat followed it up with a clever Christmas special that not only bridged the gap after their departure, but also introduced a new character that would prove in time to be very important to the Doctor. This episode takes place in 1892 on Christmas Eve. We meet Clara, and are also treated to special appearances by Vastra, Jenny, and Strax who are a dynamic trio all on their own. As an added bonus, you can watch the two prequels for this episode for free in iTunes as well as the other Doctor Who Christmas specials, including several in a bundle. Perfect for binge watching while you wait for Christmas Day and the next special. ;)
The Tooth Fairy, The Easter Bunny, Santa Clause, The Sandman and Jack Frost round out the ‘all-star’ cast of heroes that must take on The Boogeyman also known as Pitch. Pitch is invading children’s dreams and has laid down the gauntlet to take over the world, the immortal Guardians as they are known must join forces for the first time to protect the hopes, beliefs and imagination of children all over the world. Honestly, the movie did terrible in the theaters but it really is fantastic film and features an Australian Easter bunny and a Russian Santa Clause with tattoos. That alone should be enough to make you want to pick it up. The fact it’s a great movie for the whole family is just an added bonus.
Silver spooned stock investor Louis Winthorpe (Dan Akroyd) and street tough Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) are forced to trade places in life - for Billy Ray it's a step up, but Winthorpe finds himself out on the street. When they discover that they've been the unwitting pawns in a game between Winthorpe's employer brothers, they seek revenge. A retelling of Mark Twain's classic The Prince and the Pauper, it's vintage 80s comedy gold - two of the best comedians of the 80s at the top of their game, directed by John Landis, the director of Animal House. While not a Christmas movie per se, Trading Places is set during the holiday season, and includes a hilarious scene with Akroyd in a filthy Santa costume drunkenly trying to eat a stolen smoked salmon through his beard while fellow bus passengers look on in disgust.
Well, someone had to pick it, right?! Since this movie was first released we've watched it every single Christmas. Why exactly it's so enjoyable, I can't pinpoint. Maybe it's because Will Ferrell plays the child-at-heart, 30 year old Elf, Buddy, so incredibly well, or just because it's a more modern Christmas tale filled with more festive cheer than you can shake a Reindeers Antler at, who knows. But I know that when Buddy says things like "smiling's my favorite" or "SANTA! OH MY GOD!!" a huge smile comes across my face. And that's before the singalong in the park towards the end. And, isn't that what these movies are supposed to do?
Altogether now...He's making a list, he's checking it twice...
So, those are some of our festive favorites, but what about yours? Do you have a family favorite that you dig out every Christmas time? Be sure to share it with us in the comments below!