The Top Ten Alternative Christmas FilmsWednesday, December 9th, 2009
Sure, there are plenty of Christmas movies out there, and for the most part…well, they suck! There’s a scant handful that are worth a damn, and every year about this time they’re rammed down our throat until we want to barf eggnog. And not even good eggnog, but the Wal Mart special eggnog. So, here’s a list of ten of my favorite films that happen to take place around Christmas, but aren’t inherently Christmas movies.
10. Hansel and Gretel - I’m not certain why this Korean horror film is called Hansel and Gretel, but, I’ll tell you this…it’s one of the creepier Christmas films ever. Apparently these three creepy kids hang out in this creepy house in the woods and they wait for adults to show up and then they make them stay with them, or they send them to the cornfield. Okay, they don’t do that…but that same Twilight Zone vibe is there. Why is this on the alternative Christmas films list? Something bad happened to the little bastards on Christmas. No other reason, really. I just wanted to slip an Asian horror film on the list to get the word out. It’s actually very good, so if you get a chance, take a look at it. And stay out of the goddamn woods!
9. Sleepless in Seattle – What’s that? A chick flick? And not just any chick flick…but one of the essentials? Hell and yes. Not only does Tom Hanks give one of his best comedic performances in this film, but Meg Ryan has almost certainly never looked hotter. If you ask me, that’s saying something. But, the events that kick off the entire film take place on…That’s right, Christmas! How do you know? Because Meg Ryan is in her car singing “Horses, horses, horses” over and over again like some Rain Man-esque retard! Still, this movie is worth seeing for Tom Hanks tearful description of The Dirty Dozen if for no other reason.
8. Trading Places - Where else are you going to see Dan Ackroyd steal ham from a buffet table in a filthy Santa suit? Nowhere, that’s where! The best thing this film has going for it…well, two things, actually, are Jamie Lee Curtis’s tits! No, I’m kidding. You’ve got a big, comedic cast with Ralph Bellamy, Don Ameche, Eddie Murphy, Dan Ackroyd and Jamie Lee. But seriously…she shows her boobs. Okay, that’s not the only reason to watch it. Senator Al Franken is in the film too. Teasing a gorilla. There…there’s all the reason you need to watch this Christmas classic. And Jamie Lee’s cans.
7. Rent – Speaking of gay sex…oh, wait, we weren’t doing that at all. Sorry, I got this Top Ten mixed up with Hot Nerd Mancrush. Rent takes place in the year spanning from December 25th 1989 to December 25th 1990, and the changes it wreaks on an apartment building. Yes, I understand that people only look at it as a gay film. That’s a mistake. Not everyone in the movie is gay…but most of them do have AIDS. So, if you’re looking for an analog, go with “Everyone Has AIDS” from Team America. Still, there’s some lovely songs and wonderful acting to be found in this film. Anthony Rapp’s dancing not included.
6. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe – Why is this on the list? Well, first off, it’s not that bad a movie. Second off…Santa Claus is in the fucking movie! Why wouldn’t it be on this list? When Lucy, Susan, Edmond, and Peter need weapons to dispatch the Queen of the Aryan Brotherhood…sorry, The White Witch, who else gives them their weapons but St. Nick himself! Handing out weapons for Christmas! This is distubingly like when my uncle got his first compound bow for Christmas, and trust me, he didn’t have any noble quest to use it in. SANTA HANDS OUT WEAPONS! It’s almost like A Christmas Story if Ralphie had actually succeeded in shooting his eye out!
5. Gremlins – Yeah, I know. Every goddamn one of these lists that frequents the internet in December has Gremlins on it. Usually under straight Christmas film. Oh, you wanted to show how ironic and hipster-cool you are? That really chaps my big ass. The movie is about…well, Mogwai were aliens in the novelization. So, essentially, you’re watching a science fiction film about lovable furballs who turn into green scaly hellbeasts bent on destruction, and killing Mrs. Deagle. Then again, I wanted to off the old bitch myself. Trying to kill Billy’s dog. What a bitch! It hurts even more because is was Flo from Alice (Whose real name…and I’m not making this up…was Polly Holliday). I’d much rather kiss her grits than let her kill my dog over a ceramic snow man. Also, going for this movie, Phoebe Cates. Then again, she doesn’t take it off like she did in Fast Times (Best. Nude. Scene…Ever!), but she’s still gorgeous. She also has a horrifying Christmas story for the kiddies, concerning the fate of Santa Claus!
4. Lethal Weapon – Contrary to popular belief, Lethal Weapon is one of the quintessential Christmas films. Why, do you ask? Well, Mel Gibson was in this film, which takes place during the celebration of Jesus’s birth, and then he went on to direct the horrifyingly gory Messiah snuff film that is The Passion of the Christ. So, you see, the drunken anti-semite really is the Alpha and the Omega! Frankly, who doesn’t want to see Mel Gibson in a terribly out of due process street fight with Gary Busey? I know who does want to see it…Santa, that’s who! That’s just the kind of shit that gets the fat man off, and Ms. Claus, for one, is very happy.
3. Die Hard – The opening song for the movie is a Christmas song, so you know you’re about to be charmed with some kid’s antics, or a harrowing adventure of how Santa Claus’s flying dust is stolen and marketed en masse by John Lithgow. Nope, Alan Rickman, one of the best actors…well, ever, is about to take over Nakatomi Plaza, and only one man can stop him. That’s right! David Addison! Sorry…Bruce Willis. If you’ve not seen this one in awhile, it’s time to brush it off and give it a watch, especially after the hard to swallow Live Free or Die Hard. I’ve got news for you, Hollywood: Hans Gruber was one of the best screen villains of all time, and you can’t replace him…with ANYONE! Frankly, his zombified corpse would have been better than any of the meager excuses for bad guys you’ve come up with for all the shitty sequels (Except that third one…that one was all right!)
2. The Thin Man – For my money one of the best series of movies ever made. It depicts at least two parties, one of which is a Christmas celebration where ex-cop Nick Charles (William Powell…the one and only) and Nora Charles (Myrna Loy…again, the one and only) invite old cops and old crooks. Showing that everyone has a family, there’s one man who just wants to call his Ma. And, dear Lord, the sheer amount of booze flowing through this film threatens to burst out in this scene. It’s followed by Nick getting grazed by a bullet, and then these two wealthy people opening their Christmas presents. Nick’s is a pellet gun, which he accidentally shoots a window out with. I’ll say this for the scene. I very much wanted to share a Christmas morning with these two drunken smart asses.
1. The Ref – Okay, I already wrote a review of it, but damn it, this movie is one of the funniest movies ever made! The dialogue is so damn mean! Denis Leary, Judy Davis, and Kevin Spacey all give inspired performances, and since we’re talking about three very good actors, that’s saying something. This movie captures the very annoying custom of inviting family into your home until you want to choke, kick, or slap them. Plus, there’s something about the line in regards to firearms and yelling: “People with guns get to do whatever they want. Married people without guns….for instance, you…DO NOT GET TO YELL! Why? NO GUNS! No guns, no yelling! It’s a simple little equation!”
Ten for your viewing pleasure! It’s a decent list, I think, and if you’re like me, you like to stay in the spirit of things, but not get completely burnt out. There’s plent of others you can find out there that have a Christmas look and feel…The Thing, for instance. No, I’m kidding, but a short list would include The Cutting Edge, the first few Harry Potter movies, Philadelphia (If you can stand to be that depressed), Black Christmas (I haven’t seen it, hence, it exclusion), Serendipity, or Batman Returns. All have scenes that take place during Christmas, but aren’t typical Christmas films. So, go find a new way to be weird, you wily nerd, you! In the meantime, remember what the season is really about: