Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, fellow nerds!
I told myself when I started this that I was gonna keep my personal feelings out of it and let the numbers (Money Earned + Awards Won = Ranking) speak for themselves. I know that’s a bit of a Scrooge-like mind set, but frankly, that’s how I feel film (which is a hard enough art form to rank) rankings should be approached. That being said, the fact that most of the “best” Christmas movies didn’t keep close records of their numbers, or win any awards for that matter, makes it very difficult to number an accurate list of finest festive films. So, since most folks like to binge a bunch of merry movies this time of year, I thought it might be fun to pair them up for some delightful double-headers. Enjoy!
Krampus (2015) & Santa’s Slay (2005)
Like Chuck Brown observed, it’s hard to ignore some of the horrors surrounding the season. So I figure, might as well lean into it. Fresh from his run as the gloriously geeky Ben Wyatt on NBC’s Parks and Recreation, Adam Scott and the rest of the cast must fend off the most murderous of monsters – Krampus! Then, if you like some giggles with your gore, join Emilie de Ravin (just before she was Claire from ABC’s Lost) as she squares off against former WCW and WWE World Champion Bill Goldberg as the satanic title character in Santa’s Slay!
Watch when: You’re done with Thanksgiving and about to begin all of your Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping… or if you just want a bit of ridiculous holiday horror.
A Christmas Carol (2009) & Scrooged (1988)
Charles Dickens’ classic tale happens to be my personal favorite holiday movie, no matter what form it’s told in. Muppets or Mickey, Stewart or Scott, I don’t care. By now, we all these stories very well. Most Jim Carrey junkies would call foul and say that I should pair the ’09 Carol with Ron Howard’s Grinch, but I can’t think of a more festive funny-man than Mister Murray. The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come as presented by Bob Zemeckis is, BY FAR, the scariest version to date. After all these years, Bill Murray’s mostly improvised speech at the end of Dick Donner’s Christmas classic still brings a tear to my eye.
Watch when: You need a ghost to give you that extra boo-st of Christmas spirit. Of course, ANY TIME is a good time to watch Bill Murray, but you get the idea!
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010) & The Santa Clause (1994)
America isn’t the only country to celebrate Christmas, ya know! The only things I can say about Rare Exports without giving anything away are 1) seek out the short films and watch them first and 2) there’s quite a bit of nudity so you may want to screen it yourself before showing it to anyone whom may find it offensive. Then, relax with Tim Allen and a kid who’s just slightly less annoying than Max Reede and enjoy the intricacies of legalese that turn an ordinary man into Father Christmas.
Watch when: You want to feel like a child again and wonder about the magic of this holiday.
Elf (2003) & Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
Let’s be honest. We all want to wake up in a magical Christmas world where there are stop motion puppets and scenery made of candy. Until that becomes a reality, we’ll just have to settle for John Favreau’s Yuletide tale of a human raised by elves whom travels to New York City to meet his father and restore Christmas cheer to the Big Apple. And just 25 blocks south of Central Park, we ask ourselves do we really believe that the late, great Richard Attenborough is THE Santa Claus. If not, what do we believe in? And why?
Watch when: You catch a case of the holiday blues and you’re finding it hard to believe.
Surviving Christmas (2004) & Home Alone (1990)
The holidays can be a very stressful time of year. Especially if you have to deal with crazy family members. These two movies show that a Christmas can be destroyed from with out and from with in. First, eccentric billionaire Bruce Wayne rents Tony Soprano and his family for the holidays…just kidding. I’d totally pay to see that movie though. Then, when he wishes to just be alone for the holidays, a child with an understanding of physics and engineering that rivals Tony Stark, fends off two bumbling burglars. I love Joe Pesci getting cracked with the crow bar!
Watch when: The extended family is gone and you think to yourself, “God, I’m glad THAT’s over!”
Family Man (2000) & It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
We’ve all wondered what our life would have turned out like if only we’d…whatever. The Family Man is the story of Nick Cage falling asleep and seeing what his life would’ve turned out like if he wasn’t an egomaniacal weirdo, if he’d married Téa Leoni instead of Lisa Marie, and if…wait, is there a lesson I’m supposed to learn here? Help me, Don Cheadle! Finally, in arguably the greatest Christmas story ever told, George Bailey learns that one man can make a difference and shows us what’s really important in life.
Watch when: You’re reflecting on the year that has past and wondering what the future may bring.
Honorable Mentions: Christmas Vacation, Polar Express, Jingle All The Way, Fred Clause, Ernest Saves Christmas and for you horror junkies out there… Bob Clark‘s Black Christmas (1974) and yes, his OTHER (way more famous) movie A Christmas Story (which thanks to TBS you’ll always have a full 24 hours straight to watch it!)
No matter WHAT you watch this Holiday season… the most important part is to just kick back and enjoy it! Did I forget your favorite movie? Feel free to roast this writer over an open fire in the comment section below. Merry Christmas, everyone!
-Todd A. Davis
Staff Writer: Nerd Nation Magazine