5 Christmas Movies I’ll Be Watching

I’ve never really been hot on all the traditional Christmas movies. Miracle on 34th Street and It’s a Wonderful Life are swell enough, but I don’t get an itch to see them again. Truth be told, it doesn’t really feel like Christmas until I watch some South Park Christmas episodes. But if I’m going to watch a Christmas movie, I’ll pick one of these.

lethal-weapon-posterInstead of Santa and Rudolph, I’ll take Murtaugh and Riggs. From Jingle Bell Rock leading from the opening credits to a mostly naked woman committing suicide to a drug bust in a Christmas tree lot to Riggs giving Murtaugh a Christmas present of the bullet he’d been saving to kill himself, it’s a Christmas classic. Writer Shane Black created the perfect buddy cop movie- two men forced to work together against their will. One a cranky old buttoned-down type and the other a suicidal Veteran who is constantly hounded by the department psychiatrist. Producer Joel Silver used all his power to keep the action at a fervent pitch. No one has been able to top the mount of drugs or torture in a Christmas movie. It’s violent, cynical, and funny- just like Christmas at my house.

edward-scissorhandsHas there been a more odd Christmas movie than Edward Scissorhands? I mean it’s like Frankenstein meets Freddy Kruger meets Mumford set in some cartoony neo-’50s town. It’s got giant topiaries, Vincent Price, and a mob of angry villagers. All that and Anthony Michael Hall delivers the greatest line he’s ever uttered- “I’d give my left nut to see that again.” This was the first pairing of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp and they were maybe the only two that could have pulled it off with such magnificence. They’ve both been good separately, but they have this ‘off’ quality about them that creates an incredible synergy when they team up. They’re like the circus sideshow version of Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro.

die-hard-machine-gunBruce Willis? Terrorists? Smartass quips? It must be Christmas! Die Hard is the ultimate Christmas movie. On it’s surface, it’s a story about a large-scale heist and the wacky cop trying to stop it. But underneath that runs all the themes of the great Christmas movies- hope (that there’s a desperado in our midst to save us), joy (in the ability of that desperado to kill the terrorists), brotherhood (the relationship between total opposites John McClane and Sergeant Powell), charity (in the selfless manner that McClane attacks the terrorists), and family (the reunion of McClane and his wife). Die Hard’s combination of action, humor, and colossal scale forever changed the action genre and made Christmas way more exciting.

dumb-and-dumber-posterMost people will probably say Dumb and Dumber has nothing to do with Christmas, but that’s just not true. This movie is all about Christmas- Lloyd Christmas. Lloyd and his partner in crime Harry are truly dumb, but like most dumb people in movies, they manage to find a way to save the day. After Lloyd decides that the most recent passenger in his limo is the love of his life, he decides to return the briefcase she left behind so she’ll fall in love with him. Lloyd doesn’t realize it was a ransom drop and absurdity ensues as Harry and Lloyd trek across the country to return the briefcase, first in a car made up like a dog and later on a mini-bike. While it’s not exactly the same as The Twelve Days of Christmas, the movie does have two dead bird jokes.

bad-santa2003 brought a new staple to my Christmas viewing- Bad Santa. I’m not sure if it’s because the movie eschews most Christmas movie traditions or just that Billy Bob Thornton is such an incredible actor, but I’d could watch this movie a lot before I ever get tired of it. Willie is the opposite of everything you know about Santa- he’s mean, swears, drinks, hates kids, beats up kids, occasionally pees his pants, and has a penchant for taking large women from behind. And this is one of the few movies to embrace the Christmas pickle tradition- a blood-stained wooden pickle is the catalyst that begins melting the icy casing around Willie’s heart, transforming him from a Grinch into not so much of a Grinch.

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