looming right around the corner there are two questions often asked: 1. ) Do you have all of your Christmas shopping done? 2.) What movies
have you got picked out for the holidays? With today's cable or online streaming services offering an extreme selection of holiday movies for all to enjoy this holiday season, for whatever reason, they just don't work when you have them at your fingertips for some reason. It's great to watch Home Alone
, or It's A Wonderful Life
, or A Christmas Story
even one or twice, maybe even three times, during the month of December but what do you watch when you've had enough of those or something, say, like, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
or Bill Murray in Scrooged
Here is a list of our favorite under-rated Christmas movies for this month, when, nothing else is cutting the cheese, and you're looking for something that is fun or a little more edgy than the others (in no particular order):
Jingle All The Way (1996)
Listen, we understand that this movie has a bad wrap. While we haven't forgotten that the critics trashed this when it first came in 1996, like a fine wine, it has aged wonderfully, and today is quite funny and really strange and over-the-top--as far as Arnold pictures go, that is. Arnold sets out on a quest to find the toy that his kid wants for Christmas and what makes this movie so much fun is that it's Arnold in a role now that we missed him doing. Surely, we might have grown tried of Arnold trying to play funny roles back when he was at the height of his moviedom, but post-Governator, it's really fresh and fun to see him all these years later doing that type of role, even though those days are long past. But, yes, that's what makes the movies so much fun, isn't it? There is immortality that the movies offer to those actors who appear in them, and Arnold is certainly no exception to that rule, now, is he? This is a funny movie! And when you stop to think about it--couldn't you just see Jimmy Stewart in this role if it had been made back in the mid 1960s?
National Lampoons Christmas Vacation 2 (2003)
When you see the DVD
cover for National Lampoons Christmas Vacation 2
, instantly, one affords themselves the thought: Why did they do this? Over the years the original Christmas Vacation
has become a staple for the holiday season and so when someone comes along and taints that nostalgia with something for the sake of making a few bucks--people get pissed. But, what most who have refused to acknowledge the film are missing--is that it's funny! It's funny! Randy Quaid is hilarious, obviously, reprising his role as "Cousin Eddie" --the idiot with a heart of gold. And what's interesting, too, about National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 2
is how the film-makers decided to center the story about Eddie and Catherine as if they were Clark Griswold and his wife. They've switched up the positioning and also brought back other National Lampoon's alumni such as Eric Idle (European Vacation) and Dana Barron, who played Audrey in the original Vacation
in 1983, whereas Juliette Lewis played Audrey in the first Christmas Vacation
. It's weird, but it, in a way, positions the movie in this sort of dream-like nightmare netherworld where characters we know and love are no longer those as we know them, but still the same. it's weird, but it's funny. This is what makes this movie so much fun.
Mixed Nuts (1994)
A complete critical and commercial failure at the box office when it was released in the mid-1990' s--and it makes sense as to why it received such notices, as it's a Christmas movie that is highly depressing and about a guy who runs a suicide prevention line. Who wants to think about suicide and death during the holiday season? With that mind, it is a wicked black comedy that teeters on the screwball side of Hollywood. Don't allow what's been said about Mixed Nuts to affect your judgment about it. It's funny, and while not a movie, everyone in your house might enough during the holiday season, at the very least you'll have something to talk about once it's over.
The Ref (1994)
Another wicked black comedy that takes place during the holiday season, Ted Demme's The Ref starts Denis Leary and Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis. Leary is a scumbag who infiltrates a family home during the holiday season only to discover that the family that he's taken hostage to hid out is more deranged than he is. Again, not the most cheerful holiday movie that one might put into a DVD player when your belly is full of egg nog and your heart is filled with Christmas glee, but The Ref is a knock down, drag'em out funny black comedy that will, at the very least, make you glad that you don't have a family like this one to share in the holiday season with you..
Santa Claus: The Movie (1985)
Envisioned by the Salkinds--who are responsible for bringing the Christopher Reeves Superman
franchise to the big screen--Santa Claus: The Movie
is perhaps known as one of the biggest box office flops of all time and probably the worst Christmas movie of all time, at least according to the critics, that is. But, still, there is something to it. It is a strange, uncomfortable movie that has a great cast but lacks something special, that perhaps, all Christmas movies need. Yet, it is, at its core, a complete spectacle of a movie. With big sets, big over-the-top special effects, a visual style that could only come from a great European director...it's a weird movie, that isn't a movie that is necessarily enjoyable either. If you're looking for a few laughs during the holiday season, Santa Claus: The Movie
probably isn't for you, but if you're looking for a movie that tries to capture the magic of Christmas, but fails to its core, this is the movie for you. There is something about this movie, though. At the very least, it will serve as the ultimate in curiosity this holiday season for you and your family.