Christmas films are seldom critically acclaimed for Oscar winners - but with cartoon reindeers and real-life elves, they are always blooming good fun for all of the family. Whether your idea of a yo-ho-ho hit is a black and white classic or a wise-cracking animation, there is something for everyone in out Top 7 Christmas movies list.
Two army veterans and entertainers (Crosby, Kaye) learn that their old, beloved commanding officer has a struggling inn that threatens to close due poor business thanks to a lack of snow. After becoming smitten with two sisters (Clooney, Vera-Ellen), they realize the girls are on their way up to the inn and offer to tag along to throw the old man a show that will boost business and cheer him up. As they do in romantic comedies, sparks fly and flutter when there’s a misunderstanding between the lovers. And as is common in musicals, the duos sing out their alternately joyful and deceived feelings, never better than when Bing Crosby opens his mouth and honey flows out on the film’s title track. After schemes ensue to reorder all the crossed wires, snow begins to fall as the curtain to the happy ending.
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The Nightmare Before Christmas
Halloween is cool for one night a year, but living that 24/7/365 for eternity seems like a drag to the Pumpkin King, Jack Skellington, particularly after he stumbles into the twinkly, snowy and cozy Christmas Town. So rather than trot out all the grim and gross festivities like he always does, he decides to capture “Sandy Claws”, then stage a takeover of the Winter Wonderland. Unfortunately, he and his ghoulish goons don’t have much experience with anything other than terror and so they make a fine mess out of everything Jack once found attractive about his conquered kingdom. The musical, stop-motion classic does away with the physical limitations of reality, allowing Tim Burton to get insanely extra in a way that actually perfectly suits the story.
In search of a Christmas present for his son, a father wanders into Chinatown where he is given a mysterious little critter that comes with three very specific rules: don’t expose him to the light, don’t get him wet and whatever you do, don’t feed him after midnight. Shortly after giving the Gremlin to his son, all of the rules get broken, causing the little creature to uncontrollably multiply and take over the entire town, wreaking havoc, wrecking buildings and engaging in enough tongue-in-cheek violence to make the Motion Picture Association of America change its ratings system. Executive produced by Steven Spielberg, the film’s terrorizers occasionally flirt with cultural stereotypes about black youth, but if you can give them the benefit of the doubt, the bold horror choices, time capsule capturing of the 80’s and insanely vivid puppetry make it a satisfying shift from most stories set during this time of the year.
BoJack Horseman: Sabrina's Christmas Wish
In typical fashion, BoJack Horseman savages the conventions of the typical television show, then uses them to mine a hard-won, pragmatic moral. In this special that branches the first and second season, we get to see a full episode of “Horsin’ Around,” where BoJack hits every single hacky Christmas bit in the book. Then, Will Arnett shows off his considerable ability to make you feel things for a talking horse when BoJack over-promises his adopted children that Santa could bring back their dead parents. When Santa doesn’t, BoJack confuses Santa with God, and explains that neither exists and then muddles his way to a moral about why it’s important to be good for goodness sake.
How The Grinch Stole Christmas
Completely transformed in his Oscar-winning costuming, Jim Carrey delivers an inspired turn as the Grinch, who chooses to live in a garbage dump on a mountain overlooking Whoville. Cast out as a child for his different appearance, the Grinch resents the Whos and their favorite holiday, Christmas, so he hatches a scheme to snag all their presents. Along the way, he makes the acquaintance of the earnest and sweet Cindy Lou Who as well as reconnects with his former love (Baranski) and his ongoing nemesis, the Mayor (Tambor). Unabashedly a kid’s movie, some parts feel overworked or cheesy, but Ron Howard’s Whoville is immersive and seeing Jim Carrey just absolutely cut loose is always worthy your time.
The 2003 smash hit has become a modern classic as viewers can't get enough of funnyman Will Ferrell's antics as a human raised as an obstreperous elf who finally meets his real-life dad - played by a truculent James Caan.
You're either for Richard Curtis' schmaltzy 2003 take on the Brit Christmas or you ain't - but the star power of this hit includes Keira Knightley, Bill Nighy, Liam Neeson, Andrew Lincoln, Martine McCutcheon, Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson... the list is long and distinguished.
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