If you are anything like me, you have three Christmas movies that you watch obsessively, and about four others that you throw into the mix sometime before the season is over. You know what I’m talking about — your Home Alones, your Santa Clauses, your Love Actuallys, The Holiday, Elf — the ~classics~.
But I would like to shout out the lesser known, lesser loved movies of the season. Let’s be real — unlike Christmas music where we get a variation of the same 40 songs or so — Christmas movies get intense.
There are a lot of different ways to talk about Santa Claus, his reindeer, family drama, and angels. With the help of Twitter, I have compiled quite a list for those of us looking to branch out this season.
First of all, if you haven’t seen this 1998 movie, watch it — because Michael Keaton is all about that come back, and you would only be supporting him if you threw this into the VCR this year. So, like many Christmas movies, this has quite a sad tone since Keaton’s character (JACK FROST HIMSELF) dies like…right away. That’s not a spoiler and I promise it gets happier throughout. It’s a good family film — some laughs, some tears, lots of snow. Plus, we get the line, “I am the wizard of blizzard!”
Every year, some kind of amazing Christmas love story comes out — and sometimes we are lucky enough to have it star Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn as a strangely endearing couple? The plot revolves around the fact that this couple always leaves town for Christmas instead of spending it with their families — but not this year, guys! (Well, not in 2008, guys!) This year, they have to visit all of their families. And the couple grows closer throughout as they get to know one another’s crazy families, etc. etc. etc. Idk, it’s cute and it is literally the reason I have bangs. I got bangs because I like Reese’s bangs so much. This is who I am.
Another crazy family movie centered around the holidays, this time with a focus on a family that hasn’t spent the holidays together in FOUR YEARS. Can you imagine the peace?? I mean…the horror of not seeing your family for that long? Anyway, this cast is packed full of wonderful actors you probably care a little about and then also Idris Elba. Also, the soundtrack is amazing.
The Family Man
Whoa Jess, obsessed with families much? I got this answer three times in my Twitter quest for underrated movies — which is the only reason I’m including it — but I really should give this one another chance. I love “what if” stories and that’s what this is — a rich dude wakes up one day to find out he has a wife and a van instead of whatever fancy little tiny car he had before! AT CHRISTMAS.
The Preacher’s Wife
A marriage falling apart that is magically saved by an angel? AT CHRISTMAS? Okay so this doesn’t really sound like it would be up my alley, but Whitney Houston? Come on. The cast is amazing, the music is amazing, it was directed by the real life angel Penny Marshall, and it is incredibly heartwarming. Highly recommend.
Similar to how people like to point out that Die Hard is a Christmas movie, it is important to remember that the 1983 comedy starring Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy is as well. (These movies are diff genres, it’s just like, in the same world of not-being-a-holiday-movie-holiday-movie.) Anyway, the plot of this movie is classic — a rich guy and a poor guy find themselves in reverse situations — but since they are hilarious actors, the movie is just perfect. AT CHRISTMAS. (But for real, this movie is amazing.)
So listen, the person who suggested this movie has never seen it and neither have I (I’ve never even seen Air Bud!) — but there is basically no chance this movie isn’t adorable and perfect for the holidays. Maybe watch it after one of those sad “family falling apart” movies I just suggested. It’s about golden retrievers at Christmas. What more do you want from me?
A little girl nurses a reindeer that she finds at the farm back to health, because she hopes he’s one of Santa’s reindeers — and she wants to help him heal before Christmas. Sorry, but if that little plot summary doesn’t kind of make you emotional, we aren’t the same kind of person. Her name is Jessica — so obviously I thought I was just like her (even though I know nothing about farms and I prob couldn’t keep a reindeer alive). This movie is great and focuses on a reindeer that isn’t Rudolph. That guy gets all the attention!
The literal entire reason I wanted to write this was to talk about Family Stone, something I have done before, but something that is certainly not done enough. It’s just about a gal dating a guy who takes her home for Christmas for the first time — and drama and hilarity ensues!!! But it’s a lot more than any of the other movies I’ve razzed on so far. There is so much heart and genuine truth to this movie that it brings me to tears in two different parts every single — literally every single — time I watch it. The cast is amazing, the characters are amazing, and the story holds up years and years later. And it takes place at Christmas, so obviously.
Jingle All the Way
Everyone wants to see Arnold Schwarzenegger rushing to get his kid an action figure for Christmas, and if you do not want to see that, you are lying to yourself. Sinbad is in this movie. So is Phil Hartman, may he rest in peace. This movie is funny and silly, and honestly, the “rush to get a popular toy” story is not covered enough in holiday films.
I had great participation on Twitter, so here are the honorable mentions: Christmas Every Day, Arthur Christmas, All I Want for Christmas, Rise of the Guardians, Emmett Otter’s Jug Band Christmas, A Mom For Christmas, Trapped in Paradise, Die Hard, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie, Happy Christmas, and Hollidaysburg.