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Christmas Movies – Tis the Season!

The best thing about Christmas is without doubt the movies. Sitting in front of a warm fire, hot chocolate in hand with the marshmallows just starting to melt and It’s that little bit of time where you don’t have to worry about the turkey, wrapping presents or the inevitable festive arguments. For two hours the family get together and enjoy the magic of a Christmas film. But what are the best Christmas films to watch? Here are a few suggestions to get you in the holiday spirit.

Home Alone (1990). Written by John Hughes and directed by Chris Columbus, this was always destined to be a classic. Macaulay Culkin is definitely the star here despite boasting big names like Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern and John Candy. The film starts with the family getting ready for a big holiday to Paris. But the fun starts when Kevin (Culkin) is unexpectedly left behind. Initially enjoying his new found freedom things take a turn for the worst when he uncovers two burglars’ plans to break into his house. Kids will love the comedy and action while adults will love the nostalgia, it’s a must watch. The sequel Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is also definitely worth a watch.

Elf (2003). Possibly the funniest Christmas film ever made. Buddy, played by the hilarious Will Ferrell, is a man raised as an elf in the North Pole. Never really fitting in with the other elves he leaves for New York in search of his biological father. Will Ferrell was born to play this character and it’s the charm and child like wonder that he brings to the role that makes it an instant family classic.

Die Hard (1988). There is a never ending debate as to whether or not Die Hard is a Christmas movie. While star Bruce Willis says it’s not, for a lot of people it’s not Christmas until Hans Gruber and his group of terrorists take over Nakatomi Plaza. Action, fights, broken glass and a party ruined by unwanted guests, what could be more Christmassy than that?

It’s A Wonderful Life (1946). For some this is the definitive Christmas movie. Frank Capra’s festive classic stars James Stewart as George Bailey, owner of a small building and loan company. After a particularly difficult Christmas Eve George thinks the world would be better off without him. That is until an Angel shows him how that world would be. A feel good film that isn’t afraid to go to the dark places. Despite being 72 years old the film still fells relevant in today’s society and that’s why it has stood the test of time.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993). Is this a Halloween or Christmas film? The real beauty of the film is that it’s both. It comes straight from the enigmatic mind of Tim Burton.  Jack Skellington, King of Halloween Town, bored of Halloween discovers Christmas Town and all its wonders. His attempts to bring Christmas to Halloween Town cause chaos as the townspeople can’t quite get their heads around it. Fantastic fun that can be enjoyed in October, December or whenever it takes your fancy.

Black Christmas (1974). Not your traditional festive feel good flick. It’s considered one of the original slasher horror films that inspired the likes of Halloween (1978) and Scream (1996). In the build up to the holiday season a group of sorority sisters start to receive menacing prank calls, but what at first seemed to be a bad joke ultimately turns violent. A not so merry Christmas film but a must see for all horror fans.

Bad Santa (2003). The tale of a conman and his partner who pose as Santa and his little helper to steal money on Christmas Eve. This black comedy is definitely not one for the kids as Willie, fantastically played by Billy Bob Thornton, drinks and swears his way through Christmas. The addition of a bartender with a thing for Santas and a kid who believes Willie is the real Santa give the film heart and helps turn what could have been a crude film into something with real festive spirit.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000). The classic Dr Seuss book brought to life by Director Ron Howard. The people of Whoville love Christmas, but on the outskirts of town lives the Grinch.  The Grinch hates all things festive and the townspeople of Whoville so he comes up with a plan to ruin their Christmas. It’s Jim Carrey’s wonderfully mean portrayal of the grouchy Grinch that makes this film so charming. With a new animated version currently on in the cinema there may be no better time to reacquaint yourself with the story.

Krampus (2015). Based on Austro-Bavarian folklore, Krampus is essentially an Anti-Santa who punishes those who have been naughty. The film falls into the horror/comedy genre and at times you’re not sure whether to laugh or scream. There is an interesting array of Christmassy monsters, the gingerbread men are a personal favourite, who star alongside an excellent cast led by Toni Collette. It won’t have you hiding behind the sofa but it will make you think twice about starting a family argument.

Love Actually (2003). This film tends to divide people into two categories, those whose love it and those who say they don’t but secretly do.  Richard Curtis directs this ensemble cast through eight separate stories that are loosely entwined. The cast really is unbelievable, it boasts the likes of Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Keira Knightley, Bill Nighy, Colin Firth, and the list goes on and on. This is an unashamedly corny and cheesy look at love that will surely get you in the festive spirit.

Jingle All The Way (1996). Arnold Schwarzenegger at his comic best. One man’s promise to his son leads him on an adventure to find the year’s most coveted toy, Turbo Man. Obviously this isn’t just a trip to the local toy store as Turbo Man is sold out everywhere. An extremely enjoyable family adventure with some of Arnie’s cheesiest and funniest lines.

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992). Of all the films based on Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol” this is easily my favourite. Kermit and Miss Piggy play the roles of Mr and Mrs Cratchit while the rest of the Muppets play a whole host of different Dickensian characters. But probably the best casting choice is Michael Caine as the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge. His performance gives the movie a serious villain and it works fantastically well in contrast with the more jovial Muppets.

These are just a few of my festive favourites. The list could have gone on and on, I didn’t even mention The Polar Express or Gremlins. It can be a hectic time of year but hopefully you can get a few hours of peace in front of the television with a big bowl of popcorn to watch some of your favourite Christmas films.

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