Ah, the holidays. I’m going to be honest here and say that I am not a big fan of this time of year. It’s cold, it’s usually snowy, and the amount of fake cheer on everyone’s stressed out and tired faces just reminds me of all the worst of humanity, rather than the best. But, if there is one thing that I love about this time of year, besides the presents of course, it’s the movies. But not the normal, cutesy-woosty holiday movies. I love the wacky, creepy, oddly-somehow-connected-to-the-holidays movies. And so, here’s my top six favorite oddities to catch your eye and bring you a smile on this most “wonderful” of seasons.
6) Diehard (1988)
This movie is the bomb. LITERALLY. In fact, most people don’t even consider this a Christmas movie – more just a movie that happens to occur around Christmas. But those people deny themselves the hilarity of Alan Rickman as a smug terrorist with an amazing beard, the likes of which could only exist in the 80s. This film is a great change of pace from the usual “Here comes Santa Claus” or “The magic of the holidays” kind of movies which all seem to become carbon copies of each other after a while. And hey, if epic on-screen explosions during Christmas are wrong, then this isn’t a society I want to live in!
5) The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Everyone loves this movie. And when I say love, I mean it. It is one of the most beloved children’s films ever, and it’s played on Christmas like it’s the only film they’ve got in stock. However, it gets points on this list for being the only Halloween-Christmas hybrid out there which isn’t completely insane or asinine. The imagery is magical, and even if you’re sick to death of the songs, you know you’re going to sing them anyways. As far as Christmas classics go, you can’t go wrong with this one about discovering the true meaning of Christmas…after the military tries to kill Santa, anyways.
4) Christmas with the Kranks (2004)
Certainly it’s the youngest addition to the list, this movie embodies everything thing I hate about the holidays and then AGREES WITH ME. This movie, about a married couple whose sick of Christmas, expresses almost exactly how I feel about this time of year. The decorations, the phony smiles, and the constant stress. Is it cheap and have lost-common-denominator humor? A little. Does Tim Allen overact? Definitely. Does it sell out in the end? Big time. But again, it’s a nice change from what I’m regularly subjected to this time of year, so I’m still putting it on the list.
3) The Hebrew Hammer (2003)
If you ask me why I like this movie so much, I couldn’t tell you. I feel like it’s a spiritual sequel to Undercover Brother with its humor and style of presentation, but I can’t help but try and find it every year. Yes, I’ll admit, I would have felt bad if there wasn’t at least one Chanukah movie on this list but originally I was going to put 8 Crazy Nights. While that film is great, nothing gets me laughing like The Hebrew Hammer. What’s better than watching a guy beat up Santa’s evil son in an awesome pair of shades?
2) Scrooged (1988)
What was it about 1988 that inspired amazing holiday centric movies to be made? This film is Bill Murray at his best…except maybe for GhostBusters. It’s essentially a retelling of A Christmas Carol, which there are no shortage of. However, where the film really makes a name for itself is in the humor and macabre portions of the film, which anyone whose read my stuff would know is my favorite part of anything. Don’t expect instant warm fuzzies on this one, but do expect to be experience the ageless classic in a whole new light.
1) Olive, the Other Reindeer (1999)
Evil mail man? Check. Con artist penguin? Check. Burly reindeer in a bar? Check. This movie has to be the strangest thing I have ever seen; it both spews out the same old message about learning to be who you are, and always trying your best, and the strength of the holiday spirit, and then presents in the most interesting, bizarre way imaginable. It’s not particularly well made, or animated. It’s songs aren’t even that good. But for some reason, every time I watch it I can’t help but smile and gain just a little more tolerance for all the holiday who-haa in my life.