If you’re a Grinch, move along – this post isn’t for you. Unless you’re the movie – then it literally is.
It’s the 13th of December. That means it’s the 12 days of Christmas! So now it’s not only acceptable to have red and green nail, polish, play exclusively Xmas music and each mince pies every day – it’s EXPECTED.
My favourite part of Christmas (Aside from EVERYTHING) is Christmas movies. I don’t care how cheesy they are, if there’s a few baubles and Xmas trees in the shot – I’m in. I’m all in, with joy and mince pie crumbs on my chest.
Here’s a list (with my reviews) of the movies you should watch over the next 12 days.
1. The Holiday (2006)
The First Day of Christmas; My true love gave to me – Jude Law
So we can ease into Christmas with this easy-watching rom-com. The clue is in the name. Holiday season, Holiday. Some eye candy in the shape of Jude Law and some over-acting from Cameron Diaz is nicely offset by Kate Winslet and Jack Black stealing the show with far more moving storylines. This movie is so full of plot holes, that it should be paired with a holy swiss cheese but just let it be. Watch it for the cute kids, the snowy idyllic cottage that is (unrealistically) Kate’s home . I dare you not to cry moment: When the old man walks into the hall to rapturous applause. *SNIFF* .
Try not to overthink that the end of the movie leaves all the characters, arguably, more screwed than the beginning (what with Long distance being the soul sucking demon that we all know and hate) and just enjoy the dancing… And Jude Law. Pretend you’re a nanny? (Too soon?)
Best Quote: You’re supposed to be the leading lady of your own life, for God’s sake!
2. The Family Stone (2005)
On the Second Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, this cast, this script, this everything.
Ok, this is one of my favourite movies. I don’t know why. It’s just the perfect storm of family and cheesy. First of all, look at the actors in this: Diane Keaton, Sarah Jessica Parker,Rachel McAdams, Claire Danes, Luke Wilson, Dermot Mulroney… With a flawless ensemble and a perfect cozy christmas house as the setting, there’s not much I can fault this movie for. SJP’s character will make you cringe as she tries to win approval from the Stone Family, (aka the name), as the new girlfriend that (almost) no-one likes. I find it hard to believe there are people that are as socially awkward as her character, but it makes sense for the film. I dare you not to cry moment: When they unwrap their matching presents from SJP and it hits a nerve with mother and daughter.
There is plenty of Christmas tree and sparkly lights in the backdrop of this film, to fill me with joy, and plenty of family moments of honesty to make this funny and watchable.
“You have a freak flag, you just don’t fly it.”
3. The Family Man (2000)
On the 3rd day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: Nicholas Cage.
Don Cheadle, Nicholas Cage and Christmas time. The classic Christmas miracle of a good deed, Nick Cage shows during a robbery being rewarded by some magic that basically breaks his mind. Taking his billionaire businessman ass down the path of the ‘what if I didn’t leave my college sweetheart’ – and showing him, that love truly is priceless. Aside from the cheesy premise, this film has some pretty heartwarming scenes and makes you think about the life choices we all make.
Annie: Do you like kids? Jack: On a case-by-case basis.
4. Batman Returns (1992)
On the fouth day of Christmas, My true love gave to me: Tim Burton, Batman and Christmas.
Ok, not to start a fight or anything but this is the best Batman. Michael Keaton is my favourite Batman, Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman, Danny Devito as the Penguin and Christopher Walken as a baddie – all directed by Tim Burton? SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! How do you make this better? Set it at Christmas time. Yass!
This is a little treat for those of you who are already feeling a little ‘to the gills’ with Christmas as it’s technically still a Christmas movie – but with an awesome Gotham twist. Enjoy.
The Penguin: I could really get into this mayor stuff. It’s not about power, it’s about reaching out to people – touching people – groping people! (Trump learnt from this film, perhaps)
5. While you were Sleeping (1995)
On the 5th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: 90’s rom-coms.
This is one of my first ever ‘favourite films’ and Bill Pullman was my first crush. Sandra Bullock plays a subway-token lady (a job, most likely null and void by the millenial explosion of technology) who falls in love with a guy who rides the train daily. She then “saves his life” as he falls into a coma for like a week because of a minor fall off a train platform and then realises that he’s not the one for her (shockingly, since she’s never even had a conversation with him) and it’s his blonder, bumbling brother that’s really ‘the one’. Luckily The One happened to be part of the same family, thus cutting down her hunting time.
I can be as sardonic as I want, but I love this movie. It’s perfectly Christmas and 90s and full of sweet romantic cliches.
Highlight of the movie: When the scene changes and they show a paper delivery boy on a bike cycling past the house, to illustrate it’s morning, and the bike-rider WIPES OUT.
Also, Bill Pullman. I don’t know what it is. He just did it for me.
6. Home Alone 2. Lost in New York (1992)
On the 6th Day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me Sequels set in NYC
I’ve jumped right to the sequel here, and if it’s been so long since you’ve seen either of the Home Alones, then go ahead and start with the first one. I personally prefer the second one. It’s set in New York, so there’s so much more ‘Christmas’ to be seen. Plus that toy-store, is just about the most magical thing ever, and the bird-lady.
Plus it’s the movie “Merry Christmas you Filthy Animal” comes from. So it’s more iconic than the other one.
Try not to cry when: You see Donald Trump’s cameo. Almost takes away your Christmas buzz.
7. Elf (2003)
On the Seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: Will Ferrell.
Buddy the Elf, what’s your favourite colour?
If you like Will Ferrell, then you’ve already seen this movie and it needs no introduction. If you don’t like Will Ferrell, then go ahead and watch the Grinch – because it’s not making my list, and you’re not going to like this movie. It’s silly and it’s genius. And it’s just perfectly Christmassy and Buddy the Elf loves Christmas almost as much as I do.
8. Scrooged (1988)
On the 8th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: Bill Murray.
Don’t tell me I never give you nice things. Bill Murray meets Dickens. It’s a dark, twisted take on the classic. And it’s gotten better with age (because it wasn’t THAT amazing in the 80s. but now that nostalgia and bad movie CGI is just so hipster and amazing)
“A meaningful Christmas Carol this is not, but a perfectly entertaining yuletide comedy this certainly is.”
9. Gremlins (1984)
On the 9th day of christmas, my true love gave to me: Gizmo.
Yes. The cutest little gizmos that go all bat-shit crazy and scared us in our youth is actually a CHRISTMAS film. The movie opens with a Christmas classic song and it’s all joy and frights from there on out. Gremlins is worth a watch for all the same hipster reasons that shoulder pads and vinyl records are back. It’s actually surprisingly a fun watch, and the time has made it all the more quirky. Watch it, but don’t eat after midnight.
10. Die Hard (1988)
On the 10th Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me; Yipee Ki yay!
It’s not officially christmas until Hans Gruber falls off the Nakatomi Tower.
Dear Santa. All I want for Christmas is old school Bruce Willis. As if you needed an excuse to revisit a classic, now you can justify it as a Christmas film. Die Hard is a Christmas Movie, c’mon… it’s got that scene where he puts the Santa hat on the dead guy and writes ‘Ho-Ho-Ho’ on him, what more do you need? It’s set at Christmas time. There is a tree in the Nakatomi scene and that’s all there really is to it. Yipeee-ki-yay…
11. Love Actually (2003)
On the 11th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: This Movie.
I didn’t know which image to choose to illustrate this movie. Because every single story is just so beautiful (except for that slimy guy who hits on his BEST FRIEND’S WIFE! I don’t care how hot Kiera is, you don’t MAKE A WHOLE DAMN SLIDE SHOW TO YOUR BEST FRIEND’S WIFE, and then play it outside her damn door. What the hell is wrong with that guy. It’s one thing to be in love with her, ok. It’s another to do that completely inappropriate PDA.)
But the rest of the movie. Is all perfect. This is the greatest Christmas movie of all time, and I don’t know what people even watched at Christmas time before this movie existed. Watch it, and watch it again.
12. A Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
This is a family tradition with my brother and I. This is officially our Christmas Eve movie. The Muppets’ Christmas Carol is just pure brilliance. There are so many beats and subtle jokes that it makes me chuckle every year.
Worth it for the scene where the rats yell ‘heat wave’ and jump up in hula skirts when Scrooge threatens to fire them for being cold, alone. But there is so much more than that. Michael Caine is lovely, there are some really fun songs – and it’s a great fuzzy introduction to Dickens’ rather dark tale. So it’s kid friendly. And adult friendly, and it’s got so many little meta-jokes. And it’s basically Christmas day. YAY.
Polar Express (2004)
On Last day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: Tom Hanks and CGI.
Ok, so this one is pushing it a little with the watchability rating, hence not making the top 12. There’s something uncanny about the realism of the characters that makes them feel a little ‘off’ to me. Cartoon characters are usually more cartoony – these CGI people bridge the gap of the uncanny valley – the train conducter literally looks like Tom Hanks in a moustache. However, this needs to be on the list. Because it’s about BELIEVING in the magic of Christmas and the North Pole is pretty magical. It’s a full immersion, shamelessly Christmas, movie. So, brew up some eggnog and take shots every-time you see a Santa Hat (and try not to overthink how stupid these kids are, to board a strange train, in the middle of the night, with a stranger who has a moustache. They are LUCKY it ended well for them… )
Other notable mentions:
Home Alone 1 (1990)
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
The Snowman (1982)
A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
Bad Santa (2003)
Arthur Christmas (2011)
The Santa Clause (1994)
A Christmas Story (1984)
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
Fred Claus (2007)
The Night Before (2015)
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
*High five for The Holidays.*