With Christmas movies, such as “Scrooged” (or any other “Christmas Carol” knockoff) and even “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” they follow the same tired cliché – man loses something of value, realizes the Christmas spirit and then all is well with the world. To paraphrase Scrooge – humbug!
There are too many of these delightfully sappy movies starring notable stars and ones we’d like to forget. So we thought it would be interesting to give you something a little unconventional that doesn’t quite fit the cookie mold. Most of these movies deal with in some way or another Christmas, even if it’s not the main theme.
“The Nightmare before Christmas”
Tim Burton has become the unprecedented king of off-the-wall movies with a very unique sense of style. Unfortunately, once you see that style, you will automatically recognize every single film he’s ever directed or produced. That said, Jack Skellington and his cheery residents of Halloween Town turn Christmas on its collective ear in a well-written, well-executed and supremely enchanting movie.
“Die Hard” and “Die Hard 2”
What says Christmas more than a hostage situation at an office building or airport? If John McClane has anything to say about it – Yippie Kiyay! – then it will be a Merry Christmas indeed. With Santa, err, McClane toting guns and guts, he takes on two different armies in these movies to try to woo back his estranged wife. While you’d like to think risking life and limb continually to save the damsel in distress would work, it doesn’t for our boy Bruce who loses his wife by the fourth movie.
A foul-mouthed little black man and a crotchety, horny white old man make up the odd couple who scheme to pull a heist in a mall. Enter a hot waitress who likes her Bad Santa and you’ve got a black comedy worthy of the title “Most Offensive Christmas Movie – Ever!” It’s so bad, it’s frighteningly funny.
“Eight Crazy Nights”
Less Christmas and more Hanukah, this Adam Sandler animated vehicle tells the story of a poor young schmuck who must do community service to repay his debt to society. Along the way he figures out the meaning of Christmas, I mean, Hanukah and saves the day … yeah, yeah old clichés, but it’s still better than either one of the “Jack Frosts.”
This movie has less snow than Miami in the middle of winter. But it’s got Christmas spirit as good ole crazy Mel pulls guns on bad guys in tree sales lots and kicks villains’ butts while trying to save his partner’s family and house – Christmas Tree and all. Who needs snow to have a Merry Christmas?
Another Tim Burton flick, this one features a leading man not all that unfamiliar with the aforementioned “Jack Frost.” Michael Keaton stars as the Caped Crusader in the follow-up to “Batman,” before Joel Schumacher ruined the franchise by going campy – again! Needless, to say it’s another gothic Christmas, this one just features a frozen Michelle Pfeifer as Catwoman and Danny DeVito as the Penguin as they try to frame the Bat and take over Gotham with an army of penguins.
“The Long Kiss Goodnight”
Another movie that haphazardly takes place during the Christmas season, “The Long Kiss Goodnight” features Samuel Jackson in one of his less than stellar performances as he repeatedly gets beat up by Geena Davis – a CIA assassin with amnesia. Not as memorable as “Lethal Weapon” or “Die Hard,” this flick still has its snowy charms.
This “kid friendly” movie features cute furry creatures that when wet turn into green goblins and terrorize a small town. What a great Christmas present to give to your kid Dad! What were you thinking throwing them in a pool, where they multiply enough to take over the state, not just the city?! This is one movie that, while Christmas-y, is not kid friendly.
How can you go wrong with Dan Akroyd, Eddie Murphy and Jamie Lee Curtis? “Trading Places” features two old coots who get their come-uppances by Akroyd and Murphy over a bet that would essentially destroy both men’s lives. Fortunately, the comedic duo are up to the challenges and come out ahead in this comedic gem set during Christmas.
“The Ice Harvest”
Another black comedy featuring Billy Bob Thornton, “The Ice Harvest” again features a couple of guys trying to rip off another couple of guys around Christmas. Hijinks and murder ensue as the body count piles up and the situations turn more hilarious as time proceeds. Fortunately, John Cusack and Thornton are the go-to-guys for these kinds of oddball comedies, making this film more memorable.