Yes, there are some great Christmas movies out there. Not only are they heartwarming and cute, but they also usually have some cherished memories attached to them. However, even they can sometimes wear a bit thin, especially if you”re watching them back-to-back at every social engagement.
As an alternative, we suggest the following movies. They are technically Christmas movies as they are set shortly before or on December 25. They have a lot more going on than just the holiday, though. Some don”t exactly ooze holiday cheer, but sometimes it”s good to take a break before you drive yourself into a sugar-and-goodwill-induced coma.
1. Brazil (1985)
This surreal, dystopian Terry Gilliam film is about lovers trying to escape a drab, bureaucratic world. It”s also set at Christmas, and the holiday decor lends the film an even eerier atmosphere. This was intentional, and was meant to serve as commentary on greed and materialism not only of the characters, but of the materialistic 80s.
2. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)
This violent crime comedy counts as a Christmas movie. Why? Well, the opening scene features Robert Downey, Jr. robbing a toy store. Sure, he wants the cash, but he”s also searching for the toy that tops his kid”s Christmas wishlist. And if there”s anything more in keeping with the holiday spirit, it”s resorting to violence for a trendy plaything.
3. The Lion In Winter (1968)
This movie adaptation of a James Goldman play takes place during Christmas of 1183. It tells of the backstabbing and political intrigue of the medieval English court. Tangled families, strained relationships, parental disappointment, and lots of plotting are central to the characters” Christmas. I guess things don”t change.
4. The Thin Man (1934)
This murder mystery in the charmingly witty film takes place at Christmas, although the time of year doesn”t have much to do with the plot. It opens with a great-looking Christmas Eve party, though, and the main characters later open their presents while bantering.
5. Go (1999)
This movie is all about Gen X ravers and a drug deal that goes south, but it”s also set at Christmas. (The drug trade never takes a holiday.) The deal takes place at a Christmas-themed rave, and the characters not only discuss the holidays, but also their plans for New Year”s.
6. Just Friends (2005)
This movie is pretty much about Christmas, particularly the awkwardness of returning home and dealing with your past. There are tons of cheesy decorations and terrible sweaters, but it”s played to comedic effect.
7. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
Secrets, betrayal, love, and family are the topics of Kubrick”s last work, which, when you think about it, are pretty much exactly what happens when everyone gets together for the holidays. The entire story begins at a Christmas party, where flirtations and trysts set everything in motion.
8. Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Though much of the movie takes place in a brightly-colored suburb, this movie is actually a frame tale; the bulk of the story is recounted by the main character, now aged. She explains to her granddaughter why it always snows at Christmas, with the snow being a symbol of her lost love, Edward. There”s also a scene of Edward”s creator bringing him human hands as a Christmas present, but tragically dying before they can be attached.
9. Batman Returns (1992)
Another Burton film, this also takes place around the holidays. In fact, a major plot point centers around the Gotham City tree lighting ceremony, where Batman is framed for the death of a young woman.
10. Die Hard (1988)
Not only does Bruce Willis have to save hostages from terrorists in this thriller. He has to save way more than that. Terrorists captured those inside the Nakatomi Plaza during a Christmas party, and if the hostages aren”t freed, well, that”s a surefire way to ruin your holiday. So this movie is actually Bruce Willis saving Christmas.
The next time you”re called upon to bring a holiday movie for a party or gathering and you know you can”t sit through The Santa Clause for the 80th time, try bringing one of these. They”ll surely add a breath of fresh air to the usual lineup.