Skip ‘Elf,’ and watch these unconventional Christmas films instead
December is finally upon us, and almost everyone seems to be talking about Freeform’s 25 Days of Christmas, which Home Alone is the best (it’s obviously the second one) and whether Elf really is Will Ferrell’s best role. But maybe some of you have grown tired of the humdrum repetition of the classics. So, here’s our list of the best unconventional Christmas movies to watch this holiday season.
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Perhaps the most common un-Christmas-y Christmas movie is 1984’s Gremlins. We all remember the cute, Furby-like creatures that turn into little demons when you get them wet or feed them too late; but you may have forgotten that this film is set during Christmas. Remember that scene where actress Phoebe Cates recalls that her father died dressed as Santa in a chimney? Creepy stuff.
Die Hard (1988)
Die Hard is another classic ‘80s movie many might not realize is centered around Christmas. In what is arguably Bruce Willis’ best action film, it is also his best Christmas film, as all of the events in Die Hard take place on Christmas Eve. While terrorist attacks may not be the ideal setting for a holiday movie, Die Hard is definitely the best action film to incorporate cheesy Yuletide gimmicks into a top-notch thriller.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Tim Burton’s masterpiece and cult classic, The Nightmare Before Christmas, is first and foremost a Halloween movie; but it’s a Halloween movie that doubles as a Christmas movie. The story follows Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town and his journey to understanding the festivities and traditions of another holiday besides his own.
Maybe Santa’s not your cup of tea? For those who aren’t super-impressed by Jolly Old Saint Nick, Michael Dougherty’s 2015 film, Krampus, tells the story of the anti-Santa Claus. Based on Germanic folklore, the Christmas devil, Krampus, comes to pay a terrifying visit to a family very much on the naughty list.
Bad Santa (2003)
Speaking of the naughty list, who can forget Billy Bob Thornton’s mall-robbing character in 2003’s Bad Santa? In this comedy, the local mall Santa is anything but nice as he goes around an Arizona mall planning a massive Christmas Eve robbery. Bawdy, vulgar and all-around hysterical, Bad Santa is the best Christmas classic to never let little kids see.
Just Friends (2005)
Ryan Reynolds outdoes himself as Chris Brander, the friend-zoned high school kid turned successful music producer, who returns to his small town and tries to win over his high school crush. Set in a New Jersey suburb, the Christmas season is turned upside down when Brander falters simple tasks such as ice skating, going to church and even singing Christmas carols.
Fred Claus (2007)
Playing the estranged older brother of Santa Claus (Paul Giamatti), Vince Vaughn’s character Fred has to take up the family duty of delivering presents throughout the world, whether he wants to or not.