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Friday, December 20, 2013

MY kind of Christmas movies

If you haven't gotten the message yet that I don't really care for Christmas, well, you're clearly not paying attention (or you've just arrived). I certainly loved it as a kid, but as a happily childless adult - could not care less. Whole lot of the same horrible songs sung by countless different people that seem to exist purely to get stuck in your head for days on end, and cheesy "heartwarming" holiday films with the aforementioned shite songs in their soundtracks. Blech. So, it should come as no surprise that the Christmas movies I love contain almost no trace of these things.

There is no way in hell you could possibly have made it this far in life without knowing of The Nightmare Before Christmas. I can almost let it slide if you haven't seen it yet, almost, but you can't tell me you don't know what it is. Jack Skellington, the most prominent figure in the haunting ghoul-filled Halloween Town, stumbles upon a forest of gateways to other holidays. Intrigued by the tree on the Christmas door, he finds himself in Christmas Town, enraptured by the surroundings, and decides he just has to kidnap "Sandy Claws" so the citizens of Halloween Town can take a stab at running Christmas. IT'S TIM BURTON-Y PERFECT. I wish real Christmas was like theirs.
I've been in love with stop-motion animation pretty much forever. The amount of work and time that goes into it is mind-boggling! I've seen this movie so many times I know every word in the dialogue, every tune in the songs, and every note in the score (okay, not every note, but certainly how they all sound together). It must be annoying to watch it with me if you're not on the same page, because I can't help but recite and sing and hum and dance along to it all. I LOVE THIS MOVIE.

Bad Santa might actually be my favourite Christmas movie. Billy Bob Thornton plays a wasted asshole crook of a mall Santa by the name of Willie. Santa's a drunken prick safe cracker, his elf is a snippy little clever bastard, playing both the race and height card to avoid being fired when Willie inevitably fucks up royally, and our Old Saint Nick finds his way into the home of the unfortunately named kid, Thurman Merman, and the pants of a Santa-loving bartender (Lauren Graham).
Alcoholism and profanity run rampant in this atypical holiday film, not to mention a heavy dose of crime in varying levels. Bottles are smashed, kids are screamed at, advent calendars are drunkenly massacred, shots are fired, and it all wraps up in a less-than-picture-perfect, but still happy ending. Definitely check this out if you've missed it before!

Yup, you're seeing right, Die Hard is on my Christmas movies list. Sure, the movie's really about a New York cop trying to thwart some terrorists who have taken his estranged wife and her coworkers hostage, but they're at a Christmas party. So it totally counts.
John McClane (Bruce Willis) shows up at his wife's LA office party to try and patch things up with his wife, but the party's interrupted by Hans Gruber (muthafuckin Alan Rickman!) and his merry gang of heavily armed terrorists while McClane is in another room changing. He'd taken his shoes off to fight the effects of sitting on a plane for a few hours, and he winds up barefoot for the remainder of the movie. Bit ridiculous, but whatever, it works. And young, fake-German-accent Rickman is great!
If you want a "Christmas" movie full of action, death, and explosions - this is the one for you.

Because I am a fucking sap and a half, Love Actually has its place on the list. I actually watch it probably an average of once a month (this year, at least), cause I've had a thing for Hugh Grant as long as I can remember. He's just so fucking adorable! Especially as a fumbling new Prime Minister, being all super fucking awkward in the face of a pretty girl. No to mention everyone else in this stacked movie!
If you don't know this movie, it's one of those how-many-stars-can-we-pack-into-one-title, buncha-little-stories-that-all-connect-in-the-end movies that seem to be all the rage nowadays.
Most of the stories, typically, end in a happy ending (though one is more of a realistic... meh, we'll just keep going through the motions one), but there's certainly a good amount of mess and disaster throughout them. Unrequited love, uneasy awkwardness, grand romantic gestures, accidental sort of infidelity, and a kid telling you to fuck off -- just because he's a child doesn't mean he can't be in love! What more can you ask for?
If that's not enough for you, there's also one of the most bizarrely cast, too many characters crammed into it, giant collection of public schools Christmas pageant thrown in there with a hilariously out of place octopus.

I bought Rare Exports before I knew any more about it than the DVD packaging will tell you. Just couldn't say no to the premise of an evil, Finnish Santa who kills reindeer and kidnaps children.
I haven't seen it since last year, and I've lent it out so I can't re-watch and refresh myself for a more detailed description (also too busy to torrent, writing this from trailer watching induced memories), but trust me - this movie is awesome!
A scientist orders the excavation of some random large burial mound his team comes across, not knowing it housed the still-living evil origin of the Santa Claus myth. When the creature is freed, reindeer start dying and children disappearing, leaving a reindeer-herding family to capture the evil bastard and try to sell him back to the scientist to recoup what they lost from the dead animals. Fantasy-horror win right here!

Because since there is an exception to every rule, of course there is at least one Christmas movie I can happily watch: the stop-motion genius that is Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
It's my dad's favourite Christmas movie, and has been forever (if I'm remembering correctly?), so it was pretty much the only special I never missed out on watching for the first decade of my life.
My favourite part should be pretty east to figure out: the Island of Misfit Toys. I've always been a bit weird. When I was a kid, it was my near-silence at all times that set me apart, so of course I'd identify most with the musical number surrounding an island of toys who don't seem to belong in the world. And I don't care what he says, I totally want a Charlie in The Box!

Batman Returns, in case you've somehow made it through the last 21 years (Yes! 21 years!) without seeing it, is the darker 1992 follow-up to 89's Batman with Jack Nicholson's Joker. This one (obviously) takes place during the Christmas season, and the villain is the deformed Penguin. I adore Tim Burton, so it's no surprise that I fucking love his nutso Penguin. Oswald Cobblepot was of course thrown into the sewer by his horrified rich parents, who had kept his crazy ass in a cage presumably for years, and is then found by a flock of penguins. Because flocks of penguins like to chill (I swear that was an accident XD) in the sewers of Gotham, in case you didn't know.
After watching through most of It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, all I can see in Danny DeVito's Penguin now is Frank Reynolds. Which, might I add, is hilarimazing. And adds to the crazy on a different level.
Truth be told, I haven't seen this in a while.
I'm going off of Wikipedia and Youtube clips, but I know I liked it. I can't find the DVD, and my other copy doesn't want to work, but DAMN I WANNA WATCH IT NOW. And you should too!

Aaaaaaaaand more sap. Serendipity is one of my favourite movies, period. Has been since it came out. John Cusack, Kate Beckinsale, a happy accident, and all the frustrations that go with leaving something wonderful entirely up to chance. Straight to the feels!
Another not-really-a-Christmas-movie, just happens to take place around the holiday. The most Christmassy part is how they met, and how the movie ends: holiday shopping in a department store, with Eugene Levy as the stickler-for-rules salesman who makes it as annoying as possible for Cusack's character to track down Beckinsale's, once a book with her name and number magically find its way into his hands. As a gift from his fiancée, of course. Because why would the universe bring you to your dream girl before you're about to marry someone else? Movies. -__-

What are your favourite Christmas movies, intentionally-festive or not?


  1. Yes!!! I love this!
    I didn't get to see Nightmare before Christmas until I was much older, soita not a tradition for me to watch. But I love that Die Hard is on here! Two of these are on my list at: WWW.joiefatale.com
    And dammit! I completely forgot batman returns takes place at Christmas!
    I am actually doing something desperate next year though...it will be there.
    Thanks for sharing!!!

  2. I, too, am not much of a winter holidays sort of gal...it's pretty much just the lights and decorations I find enjoyable...everything else can pretty much fuck off, especially this year.

    Love Actually is one of my favourites as well. I remember the first time I was going to watch it, expecting to hate it and feeling completely surprised at how good it was. I watch it every year around this time.

    We have a sort of tradition in our family, where we watch A Christmas Carol (sometimes called Scrooge, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0044008/?ref_=nv_sr_3) every xmas eve. My Dad and Grandfather would watch it every year on tv, and stayed up to watch it no matter how late it was. Now we still do the same, except we have it on dvd and can watch it whatever time we please.

    Odd but I didn't really watch any of the claymation holiday shows until I was about a teenager, and now watch them every year. The island of misfit toys is definitely a favourite of mine as well.

    Nice list, Luka! Happy Holidays!

  3. So, hilarious story.. I actually had never seen Die Hard until like.... 2 weeks ago? Because my boyfriend was a) AGHAST that I had never seen it, and b) totally justified it as a Christmas movie. I was very amused to see that you have listed it ;)

    And btw, i REALLY liked it.

  4. Bad Santa is my favourite Christmas movie. I tend to love Christmas movies, even shitty made for TV ones but this year Bad Santa was the only Christmas movie I watched.

    I LOVE SERENDIPITY! I legit thought I was the only person in the world who liked that movie! :D