It’s that time of the year again—when you don your comfiest pair of pyjamas, uncork a bottle of red wine, curl up in your warmest quilt and settle down for the Annual Christmas Movie Marathon! Okay, that’s what I do.
Yes, some of the movies on this list are barely about Christmas, but then Christmas hasn’t been about Christmas since, oh I don’t know, 1 AD. Technically, any movie that has a significant Christmas Eve/Day scene and is also a really nice movie ought to make it to this list. But, since we’ve already established in the past that I am arbitrary, this is my list of favourite Christmas movies:
Love Actually (2003): Ten stories about love, the week before Christmas and a superb ensemble cast. This movie NEVER gets old. I could watch it a hundred times, and I know I’m not the only one. Make sure you don’t watch the one that’s shown on Star Movies/HBO—they have edited out an entire story about two porn stars, which also happens to be the most adorable story of the lot.
Die Hard (1988): Christmas Eve, but with less Santa Claus and more bullets. Yippie-ki-yay, motherfuckers.
The Apartment (1960)/ An Affair to Remember (1957)/ The Shop Around the Corner (1940): All starring the dreamiest Hollywood stars, all of them timeless love stories, all iconic movies… and all with rather tenuous links to Christmas. Okay fine, these aren’t really “Christmas movies”, but heck, these are awesome movies and Christmas is as good a time as any, and maybe better because they are perfect for chasing away the End-of-the-Year-What-Have-I-Accomplished Blues.
Silent Night (2002): Silent Night is a delightful Hallmark film that used to play regularly on the Hallmark channel. Based on a true story from WW II, it is about three German soldiers and three American soldiers who put aside their differences to share a Christmas dinner, in the home of a German woman.
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946): No Christmas movie list is complete without this Jimmy Stewart classic. About a man who is on the brink of suicide because he thinks he is a humungous waste of space but is reminded of his importance to all the people in his life. This is the Holy Grail of Christmas movies. All those paint by numbers Christmas movies that are released in December year after year owe a debt to this movie. Someone told me it is up for free download on Internet Archives, so do check it out.
Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001): Having to choose between the handsome bad boy Lothario and the handsome serious nice guy—yup, sounds like any other day. Well, at least for Bridget Jones, a cheeky (in every sense of the word) single woman and her battle with cigarettes, booze and men. Apart from being a fantastic movie, it deserves to make it on the list for the yummy Colin Firth, who makes the Ugly Christmas Sweater look great.
Miracle on 34th Street (1994): Another one of those Christmas movie list regulars, and with good reason! It reminds us that there is whimsy and fantasy in the world, if we just care to look. Santa Claus (played by the cuddlesome Richard Attenborough) must convince the world that he’s the real deal—by filing a law suit. Trust me, you’ll bawl like a baby through the movie; like when you clapped so hard when Tinker Bell was dying.
White Christmas (1954): Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney and the Chrismas-iest of Christmas songs. ‘Nuff said.
The plot is really just an excuse to have all these amazing song and dance numbers (“God bless the sister, who comes between me and my Mister”). One does slightly tire of the sheer number of times White Christmas is sung during the movie, but how can one resist Bing Crosby’s delicious baritone voice?
Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984): Christmas is just not complete without a slasher film, in my personal opinion. Of course, I can’t really wax eloquent on this subject having never watched a slasher film after the horror that was Friday the 13th scarred me for life. But for the strong of heart and stomach, a film about Santa going on a bloody rampage (with cookies? Bits of coal? Fairy lights?), is just the ticket to balance out all those fruity movies you just watched.
In the spirit of Christmas and in the hope that we will be watching this movie in December 2011, I give unto Hollywood this awesome movie idea:
Nuclear Noel in the North-Pole: Santa versus The Grinch.
Tag line: Christmas hangs on a string. A string of fairy lights.
This will be SO EPIC, I SHIVER IN ANTICIPATION.
Danish's two cents :
So I mostly agree with Lekha's list here, atleast for the movies I've seen. I just have one addition, and, hold on, I'll just come to it in a bit. For me, there is something inherently melancholic about Christmas. I don't know how much of this understanding is a direct outflow of Western pop culture overload, but when I think of the season, I think of people desperately coming together to battle loneliness, and celebrating that idea of togetherness, and of community : that wonderful little coda in Love Actually to the story of Bill Nighy's aging rock star sitting in a crummy room with his one good friend in the world is one of my favourite "christmas moments".
So its appropriate I think, to round off this list with one of the oddest - and most touching- instances of an unlikely community coming together on Christmas Eve. The 2005 release Joyeux Noel, is centered on the incredible true event of Scottish, French and German soldiers in a trench along the Western Front during the First World War, who set their weapons aside on Christmas Eve, united by carols and mass. Its a wonderful little ode to humanity fighting to come through in the darkest of hours , as much as it is a obtuse commentary on the futility of war.
Merry Christmas, everyone.