So it’s finally December and I can indulge guilt free in some seasonal movie watching. Disclaimer: I’ve never been big on Xmas but this year I’m feeling warm and fuzzy. Also please note, some of these aren’t technically ‘Christmas movies’ in the truest sense they just get me in the mood- go figure.
1-Scrooged – Of course everybody’s list will have some version of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol on it, that’s practically a given. So this is mine. Unabashedly 80’s featuring Bill Murray at the height of his fame doing his best arrogant but somehow lovable A-hole routine with Indie’s girlfriend. I am particularly fond of the cameo’s in this movie, especially the ‘ghosts’- Carol Kane & John Forsythe!! I’m partial to the song at the end of the movie too. What’s not to like here? Bill Murray + ghosts = winning combo every time. But this is one I remember from my own childhood, so I might be sentimental.
2-Stardust – A bit slow for an ‘adventure movie’, its none the less a sweet, slightly meandering fantasy with a good heart. I like to think of this one as Neil Gaiman does pantomime, replete with pantomime dame ( Robert De Niro’s wonderful cross-dressing pirate- my favourite role of his) , wicked witch (an ageless Michelle Pfeiffer on her goat drawn chariot) and beautiful princess (Claire Danes, who also happens to be a star), and lots of fun cameos from the UK comedy actors. There’s even a unicorn. It’s freaking lovely. As with Scrooged, I’ll even admit to liking the song at the end.
3-Rare Exports- Ok want something really different that’ll make a horror lover happy? (Apart from Gremlins, of course ?!) Then I give you Rare Exports. It’s basically the opposite of anything Hollywood would come up with and it WORKS. In arctic Finland something mysterious is unearthed in an archaeological dig on Christmas eve. Could this dirty old man be the real Santa Claus? Little boy Pietari (Onni Tommila who totally carries this film) is deeply suspicious and concerned for his own safety, and perhaps rightly so. Full of wonderfully dark humour, it certainly is grim up north!
4-The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo– Primarily the 2009 Swedish original, (because Noomi Rapace IS Lisbeth Salander) but I’ll allow the US remake for truth to source and the haunting, wintery score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. Yes, this movie is a thriller, it’s not Christmas heart warmer but, there is a lot of snow! It’s also very atmospheric and there is something very satisfying to the revenge plot and to how the mystery pans out. A perfect combination of firey hot passion and rage versus cold-blooded, calm and calculating. It just seems to belong to this time of year.
5- Elf– Probably the most traditionally christmassy film on my list but this winning combination of silly and smart-arsed warms the cockles of this cynic’s heart. Buddy is a ‘real boy’ but has grown up as one of Santa’s elves. Now a grown man, will his birth parents believe him? It doesn’t take itself too seriously and It’s probably my favourite Will Ferrell role (I guess the innocent man-child act is appropriate for Xmas). Elf includes the over the top fantasy stuff of 80’s christmas movies (like santa’s workshop) but does it in a deft, light handed way with a wry wink to the adults throughout. And I’d be lying if I said it were lost on me that Zooey Deschannel is the surly love interest.
So there you have it, five festive films that get me in the mood 😉 What’s on your Christmas watch list?