List: Five movies to watch around the holidays
When I set out to write this, I started by thinking about my favorite Christmas movies. You know, the kind of movies that get people riled up about whether or not a movie that takes place on Christmas but isn’t about Christmas is actually a Christmas movie. Then I realized that I didn’t want to have that debate and I didn’t actually like man movies specifically about Christmas. They’re the sports movies of the holiday genre: something I enjoy except when put on film with rare exception.
So instead here are five movies I really like to watch when the holiday season rolls around. You know, once November kicks in up until mid-January. Those are the only rules I use, which means this list is pretty loose. That also means your list can be loose, which is half the fun of making lists anyway. Hot takes aren’t fun for anyone, anyway. Let’s get to it.
Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
I figure starting with the obvious makes sense. I’ve watched this one every Halloween and Christmas season since I first watched it back in the mid-2000s. It’s not a perfect movie by any stretch of the imagination, but the idea is so clever and the animation so inviting and the themes so different that I keep going back to it.
A new entry to the holiday tradition, the horror / comedy entry uses physical effects to terrorize and tickle its audience at the same time. It took me awhile to get back to this movie after first seeing it in theaters because some of the images were so haunting; and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t allow many frightening images to linger. It’s tradition now, though, and it’s perfect if the holidays turn you a bit cynical.
Die Hard (1988)
It really doesn’t matter if it’s a Christmas movie or not. Die Hard is the best American action film ever made and turned Bruce Willis into a legend. It’s tightly directed, funny and the action sequences are nothing short of perfect. Alan Rickman’s turn as the villain doesn’t hurt this one’s chances either. Just remember: saying Die Hard is your favorite Christmas movie doesn’t make you a cool guy at your office holiday party, but saying it isn’t a Christmas movie just makes you a grouch.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
I’m not really sure how this started, but the third entry of the Indiana Jones saga has always been the one I’ve gone back to most frequently. I don’t think it’s a stretch to call Crusade the most watchable of the four films, thanks in large part to the amazing chemistry between Sean Connery and Harrison Ford. Anyway, if you’re wanting to watch an Indiana Jones film and aren’t quite looking for the sweeping epic of Raiders and can’t bring yourself to watch the racist drivel of Temple or the cartoony action of Skull, this is for you.
Star Wars (1977)
Whether by nature of it ending up on TV every holiday season or because I pop it into my Blu-Ray player, I end up watching A New Hope at least once a year. It’s not the best Star Wars film, but it’s one of the easiest to rewatch because it’s so much damn fun. The action is great, the characters are fun and, as the title suggests, the whole thing is so damn hopeful. You can’t go wrong here.
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