One of our favorite ways to immerse yourself in the spirit of Christmas is to watch as many Christmas movies as possible. I love the most famous classics like It’s a Wonderful Life, 34th Street Miracle, and Elf more than anyone else. There are also some rare, underrated Christmas movie soft spots-a great movie that may not come to mind when thinking about Christmas movies.
Edited 25 of our favorite alternatives, the Bohemian Christmas movies. As much as we appreciate the convenience of Hallmark and Lifetime holiday movies at this time of the year, and as we do, Christmas movies with more ambitious plots and more room for female characters to manipulate. It can readily be appreciated.
This list includes Christmas thrillers, horror movies, erotic and sexy movies set for the Christmas season, musicals, comedies, superhero movies, family-friendly children’s meals, Christmas time action movies, and more complex Includes romance and more.
Is Joe Dante’s handmade masterpiece of mayhem a Halloween horror film or a Christmas horror film? Who could blame you for viewing Gremlins at least twice a year because it’s so highly imaginative, humorous, and terrifying? Gremlins, a PG-rated film intended for a broad audience, grossed $153 million against an $11 million budget.
Some parents were irritated by the film’s unusually high gore quotient (remember that microwave scene?) as well as the bloodletting in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom that same summer. The MPAA established the PG-13 classification with the release of Red Dawn in August, which we still have today.
Bad Santa (2003)
From the filmmaker of Ghost World comes foul-mouthed yet amusing entertainment for adults only. The unabashedly go-for-broke offensive comedy struck a chord with moviegoers, making Bad Santa a box office hit. However, Bad Santa was compared to an “evil sibling” of A Miracle on 34th Street in a 2003 editorial in The Washington Times.
While this may have been intended as a critique, the filmmakers undoubtedly took it in stride and saw the humor in it. Bad Santa 2 featured a fantastic ensemble, including Kathy Bates and Christina Hendricks, but it lacked its predecessor’s heart and true wit, despite the vulgarity.
Batman Returns (1992)
One of the best films in the Batman series and likely the most underrated, Batman Returns is a vivid and wondrous marvel of production design and world-building. Tim Burton and his technical team took everything that made 1989’s Batman stand out to the next level, and this is the most beautiful, distinct vision of Gotham City ever.
Batman Returns was a box office disappointment following its predecessor’s astronomical haul, and much of this certainly has to do with the film being marketed at families and very young children, including a now-notorious McDonald’s Happy Meal toy tie-in that sparked outrage.
Black Christmas (1974)
Bob Clark’s darker Christmas film (he also directed the classic family favorite A Christmas Story) is a nasty little thriller about sorority women hunted and preyed upon by an anonymous psycho-killer who never gets arrested (not common in this subgenre). The film was a box office hit, owing in part to its clever tagline: “If this movie doesn’t make your skin crawl, you’re wearing it too tight!”
The film was somewhat modified by British censors to get permission for its first-run distribution, but not for violence; the obscene phone calls the girls received were considered too vulgar for cinemas. Even by today’s standards, the ick factor in this one is relatively high.
Black Christmas is one of Elvis Presley’s and Steve Martin’s all-time favorite movies. Please see the 1974 original rather than the 2006 remake, a geeky splatter fest that lacks the original’s mystery, ingenuity, and terror. Worse is the 2019 version, which tries half-heartedly and sloppily to convert Black Christmas into a story of female empowerment.
Die Hard (1988)
Action Masters by John McTiernan is a touch bigger and contains a few more explosions than A Great Life, but it’s still a Christmas movie! Along with James Cameron’s aliens and George Miller’s Mad Max: Anger Street, Bruce Willis’ Battle Royale versus Alan Rickman and a band of armed terrorists in Nakatomi Plaza on Christmas Eve are among the best action pictures of all time.
Die Hard was a surprise box office blockbuster that earned Willis four Academy Award nominations and catapulted his career to new heights. After Arnold Schwarzenegger declined to direct the picture as a sequel to Commando in 1985, the studio cast him in the character of John McClane. The latter reluctantly turned to Superman after Arnold Schwarzenegger refused to direct it.
The most confident picture of Todd Haynes’ remarkable career to date, based on Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel The Price of Salt, depicts the story of forbidden love between a young photographer (Rooney Mara) and an older lady (Cate Blanchett) going through a difficult divorce. The lovers must face disappointing, dehumanizing circumstances in this incredibly compelling, even taxing film. The happy ending is a long time coming, but it’s well worth it.
Mara was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress after winning Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival. Carol received six Academy Award nominations in all but was inexplicably overlooked for Best Picture and Best Director.
Happiest Season (2020)
Hulu has two of the best romantic comedies of 2020. This is Palm Springs. In Clea DuVall’s fascinating charmer starring Mackenzie Davis, Kristen Stewart offers her best comedy performance as a young woman pretending to be her friend’s straight roommate at Christmas to soothe a strict family. Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, Victor Garber, Dan Levy, and Mary Steenburgen are part of the All-Star cast. Hulu is the only place you can see it now.
With a perfect balance of comedy and horror, overcast (including Adam Scott, Toni Collette, and David Koechner), great creatures, and sound design, director Michael Dohertis Krampus hits the right notes exactly. Set in the modern suburbs of the United States, the story of an ancient European folk bull taking a dysfunctional family vacation. Krampus, rated PG13, is a great balance. Despite being family-friendly, it’s scary enough to please horror fans. Scared, the filmmakers are having a good time.
Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)
Gremlins 2’s budget was about five times that of the first acclaimed Joe Dante movie. Filmmakers have been given the freedom to shed their ideas. There doesn’t seem to be many “nos” in this set. But what a beautiful and happy mess this is!
Gremlins 2 has a wicked and knowing sense of humor, and it shrewdly forecasted corporate culture in the 1990s and beyond, even though it doesn’t have much of a narrative to speak of, being more of a set-up in which innumerable gremlins proliferate in a New York building.
A sequence in which film reviewer Leonard Maltin (playing himself) is eviscerated by Gremlins after condemning the original picture, as he did in real life, is one of the greatest moments of meta-humor. There’s also a scene in which a troubled woman storms out of a movie theatre, accusing the directors of crafting a violent and disgusting picture for children.
22 Jump Street scene-stealer and Groundlings alum Jillian Bell star as a godmother-in-training who gives a Christmas makeover to a Bostonian mom (Isla Fisher). Gently campy, warmhearted, and fun in the spirit of Enchanted, Godmothered blends rom-com and family film mostly successfully—thanks in no small part to the talented performers. Now streaming exclusively on Disney Plus.
The Ref (1994)
In a dark comedy based on the 1910 short tale “The Red Chief’s Ransom,” an affluent couple drives a crazed cat thief (Denis Leary) in a dark comedy that can’t abide Christmas Eve. To carry out. The episode was a career-defining performance for Leary, demonstrating that stand-up comedians possess strong and versatile acting abilities. He starred in seven seasons of F.X. ‘s Rescue Me and Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man.
Iron Man 3 (2013)
The Marvel films, for the most part, follow a template. The sequel to Iron Man 2 by Shane Black (who makes his third appearance on this list) was panned by fans for straying too far off the beaten path. Critics mainly praised the humor and a big storyline twist. Excellent action set pieces also make up for sequences set in “Tennessee” that are completely incorrect to the real state.
Office Christmas Party (2016)
Josh Gordon and Will Speck’s unabashed studio comedy about a female CEO, her brother, and a Christmas event that goes off the rails has an A-list comedy mega-cast featuring Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn, T.J. Miller, and Kate McKinnon. The Office Christmas Party isn’t very ambitious, but there are plenty of chuckles, and the whole affair strikes an agreeable balance of edgy and comfortable familiarity.
The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)
Renny Harlin’s wacky shooter, written by Shane Black, is underappreciated as a unique Christmas leisure and entertaining action film, reuniting Geena Davis with her past as a memory loss instructor. Long Kiss has increased in popularity over time. At the time, the prior Harlin Davis collaboration Cutthroat Island (one of the worst flops in history) appeared to be impeding the film’s reception. Samuel L. Jackson, one of the co-stars, claims that this is his favorite film.
L.A. Confidential (1997)
Curtis Hanson’s wonderfully produced retro noir—set in the 1950s—is a tale of scandal, murder, and conspiracy and is one of the most celebrated films of the 1990s (this picture has one lonely, completely absurd bad rating on Rotten Tomatoes). L.A. Confidential was nominated for nine Academy Awards, with victories for its screenplay and Kim Basinger’s Best Supporting Actress award.
Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
One night’s sex with a New York doctor (Tom Cruise) admitted that his wife (Nicole Kidman) was thinking of another man in Stanley Kubrick’s latest movie, chilling like a Christmas movie is. It is a suspense drama with a suspect named Odyssey. Kubrick died six days after presenting the final cut to Warner Bros. Kubrick has long been regarded as a master of long take and photography, but his film “Eyes Wide Shut” has awarded him an award. The film holds a Guinness World Record with a maximum shooting time of 400 days.
American Psycho (2000)
David Cronenberg, Oliver Stone, Martin Scorsese, and Danny Boyle were all directors, but Mary Harron was right. She milked her dough for maximum black humor and insisted that the veil would be the perfect star. Veil, now considered one of our most prominent method actors, spoke with American accents throughout the film. Everyone thought he was preparing for another role when he spoke with his native Welsh accent at the graduation party.
Trading Places (1983)
The Prince and the Pauper, a rough adaptation of Mark Twain’s 19th-century novel in which Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy play financially different individuals who trade lives, was properly likened to Preston Sturges and Frank Capra’s great comedies upon its premiere. Aykroyd and Murphy are the ideal foils, and their chemistry is fantastic. Jamie Lee Curtis earned a British Academy Film Award for Best Supporting Actress for her funny portrayal as a tough-as-nails hooker with great depth and charm in this film, which was also a breakthrough.
White Reindeer (2013)
Zach Clark’s dark dramedy stars Anna Margaret Hollyman as a grieving widow preparing for the holidays. White Reindeer received critical acclaim following its 2013 premiere at the South by Southwest festival.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)
Shane Black seems to enjoy making clever, violent criminal comedies around the holidays. In a convoluted Los Angeles murder investigation, Val Kilmer and Robert Downey Jr. (a few years before Iron Man re-jettisoned his career) starred in this spiritual heir to Lethal Weapon (for another, check 2016’s The Nice Guys).
Better Watch Out (2016)
Chris Peckover’s edgy, dark and humorous thriller revolves around home invasion, a seasoned babysitter (Olivia Dejon), and her beloved little kid (Levi Miller), and is the most on the list. It has become one of the most psychologically complex movies. For those unfamiliar with twist slashers, Better Watchout may be a bit cruel, but it’s made with a lot of wisdom and skill. Twisting and rotating the plot is unexpectedly effective. It’s a bad seed to meet Home Alone, and if it sounds like your eggnog cup, you’ll enjoy it.
Sean Baker is one of our most innovative filmmakers. He makes humane, unpleasantly intimate, yet cinematic films about characters that are rarely treated on the big screen. His breakthrough was brought about by Tangerine, an extraordinarily entertaining comedy about a lively and adorable escort that struck the streets of Hollywood on Christmas Eve and found her heartbreaking pimp. The tangerine shot entirely on the iPhone 5S is funny and entertaining throughout. Then, an unexpectedly bitter ending hits your stomach hole and touches your heart in an honest and disarmament way. It’s a great movie. Baker’s sequel, the Florida Project, is even better-it’s exquisite. It’s currently being streamed on Netflix.
Lethal Weapon (1987)
Mel Gibson and Danny Glover play as mismatched LAPD officers investigating a mysterious death in Shane Black’s legendary, Oscar-nominated action-comedy. Lethal Weapon was the top-earning film in the United States for three weeks, grossing $120 million on a $15 million budget and spawning a franchise.
In bruges (2008)
Martin McDonagh’s black comedy crime drama, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Greatest Original Screenplay, is one of the best films of its genre in the last two decades. Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson appear as hitmen hiding out in Belgium in this irreverent, humorous, and brutal thriller. Farrell received a Golden Globe for Best Actor—Musical or Comedy in a Motion Picture.
Terry Gilliam’s sci-fi satirical classic Brazil is set in a dystopian dystopia and follows a daydreaming bureaucrat. With its magnificent sights and foresight, waking nightmare, Brazil is regarded as one of the finest British films of all time.